“Tell us, when will these things happen?
What sign will show that all these things are about to come to an end?”
When will things fall apart?
This question has haunted people forever. Each generation complains about the next.
In some ways, this question about destruction is also a question about when new life will break through. Will what we are doing now bear good fruit seven generations down the line?
When Temple walls will fall apart, ask about when a Temple not made with hands will appear. It is quite problematic to ask about a Temple of any sort, for inherent in a Temple is an understanding that there are things or people who are not Temple worthy, regardless of whether the Temple is tangible or not.
There is a sense in which we can see the result of the “progress trap” we have set for ourselves—how we push past all limits until that which sustains is used up. This is an original sin through sociological and anthropological lenses. In the long run, we don’t seem to be able to help ourselves. A small book is helpful here, A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright.
Asking for a sign is an apocalyptic question. Many apocalyptic responses have come and gone over the generations. Every interpretation has come up short. The basic question seems to be about what life will be like after we’ve eaten our seed corn or so wrenched communal life from the common so only the rich have resources that have sucked another day’s existence out of the poor. Always the drama is writ large, the consequences worse than dire—terroristic and cannibalistic.
An apocalypse is an easy way to scare ourselves into responsible living, and each time the easy way fails to change our heart.
= = = = = = =
oh so curious are we
looking for every edge
a millisecond per trade
a reliable foretelling
to keep from being caught
unready for an earthquake
a lightning strike
a next addiction
a false equivalency
it is in our best interest
to get an insider word
over our competitors
lest we be one step late
crushed beyond recognizability