In Order To…Three Damnable Words

I would like to ask you to simply think about the paragraph that follows.  Perhaps think of it in connection with the recent Errancy, “Generative Apocalypse.”

“In the forms in which it has affected western societies millenarianism is a Christian inheritance.  Most religions lack any conception of history as a story with a beginning and an end.  Hindus and Buddhists view human life a s moment in a cosmic cycle; salvation means release from this unending round.  Plato and his disciples in pre-Christian Europe viewed human life in much the same way.  Ancient Judaism contained nothing resembling the idea that the world was about to come to an end.  Christianity injected the belief that human history is a teleological process.  The Greek word telos means ‘end’, a word tha in English means both the terminus of a process and the goal or purpose that a process can serve.  In thinking of history in teleological terms, Christians believed it had an end in both sesnses: history had a pre-determined purpose, and when that was achieved it would come to a close….In that they view history as a movement, not necessarily inevitable but in the direction of a unviersal goal, theories of progress also rely on a teleological view.  Standing behind all these conceptions is the belief that history must be understood not in terms of the cause of events but in terms of its purpose, which is the salvation of humanity.  This idea entered western thought only with Christianity, and has shaped it ever since.”  (Gray, John.  “Black Mass,” p 5.)

This is, in essence, the belief that this world was begun and must end IN ORDER TO bring a perfect world into being.

As Gray says, this has shaped our thinking; perhaps stronger, it is the unavoidable baseline of western thought.  It is why Christian fundamentalists push so hard for a cataclysmic war in the Middle East: this is a step along the course towards the destruction of this world and a step, for them, into the imagined perfection of the next world.

But this idea of progression towards ending is a logic that pervades most western thinking in all things: all science and technology moves us in this direction–it fulfills the promise of progress.

This thought is aberrant and has brought pain and suffering on billions and will continue to do so.

 

 

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