The scheduled Doomsday that was to happen last Saturday didn't. Despite the $100M spent by Family Network, the powers that be didn't read the billboards. Most folks I know turned the announcement into an SNL skit. We went to the Prince concert; most folks went about their business. Tragedies did happen that felt like the end of the world: the tornadoes and floods in the midwest devastated towns and lives, Syrian civilians were assassinated in government actions, and a woman in California slit her daughters throats then tried to kill herself to avert their experience with Camping's Doomsday. Fortunately, they survivied.
This morning Camping, the evangelist prophet, said he meditated, recalculated and gave us another date. This time October 21. Okay, I think, I like goals and deadlines. Having live a life in an academic system, deadlines are cogs in our wheels. I doubt the world will end October 21, but I am really excited about the idea of rapture. (Different, of course, from "The" rapture) In some definitions, it is also referred to as "disambiguation."
Right off the top, I think this must mean that I'll finally understand the attraction of reality TV or Wendy Williams or Ezra Pound's Canto ... or my own propensity for rearranging my ITunes library. Disambiguity would be useful. Clarity is diggable. I've always been attracted to it; my writing is the constant engagement with it. Dis-ambiguation. Yea.
In the seventies, a writer who used the name Carlos Castenada wrote a series of books kind of ripping off first nation beliefs and mysticisms and amping them on peyote and creating Tales of Don Juan. The books are memoirs as much as guides of his going into the desert and ceremoniously getting high and finding truths. The truths were great, not new, he mixed some toltec with some buddhism, with some sorcery and good smoke and the results appealed to the post-Vietnam generation looking for meaning. His assertions, live each life as if death were at your left shoulder (paraphrase from memory), find your spot by circling...let us turn inward after years of political action. We had been rallying on big issues for years. Not a lost generation, just otherwise engaged. So Castenada's timing was pretty on. Lots of smart people paid attention to Castenada.
In reality, he and Camping and all of us are spinning the same message. Life is going to end, what are you going to do about it?
On May 21, the predicted doomsday, on my Yahoo! home page was this horoscope
Look at the world around you today; see the truth about where you live. Seeing the plight of people who are less fortunate than you might cause a few pangs of paralyzing guilt, but ultimately your compassion will take over and inspire to do something. Your big heart will push you to get involved in helping your community become a more supportive, welcoming place.
Was the Yahoo! psychic working on a higher profundity, taking a doomsday opportunity to set me straight? Get me moving? Look for a deadline? Some goals? I need some disambiguation on this point.
I see every doomsday prediction as a fuzzy sign to remember what I'm in it for -- I don't sit down and examine my life, although that's a good thing to do, (but too much like getting on the scale everyday). I look ahead and get on my own right page, my own disambiguous focus. I have a tendency to disproportionate my life-- too much attention to "the job" not enough to "my job" --making simple tasks extended by too much research and design, and on and on.
Like Camping the rapture must be preceded by my re-calculations too. What can I do between now and the next benchmark? Call it what you want, setting deadlines, making goals, giving yourself assignments...all of it works. But for this, I also want to remember is not just something I am doing, it basically who I am.
P.s. a great quote by Pound The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity.
--- Ezra Pound
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