Mar 3, 2008

On Days in Which the World Seems Apocalyptic

Glancing at the headlines this morning was an invitation to assume that the world seems on the verge of chaos. Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia are engaged in the dance of war, while commodity prices continue to skyrocket amidst a simultaneous collapse of the dollar. Israeli and Hamas forces exchanged rocket fire, and near Seattle environmental radicals may have torched a posh luxury home development.

Now, I am not normally one to rail with clenched fists about Armageddon, but days like this can push even a sober pundit into a fit of garment-rending and teeth-gnashing.

Some days I wake up and I think I understand the forces that produce social, political, and economic change. I fall back on my years of study, pull out the appropriate theorems, and begin to make some sense of the world.

Then there are days like today, when finding a pair of matching socks seems like an exercise in futility, and where I feel overwhelmed by my ability to comprehend the events of the day. I think on such days I would be better served by unpluging the Internet, turning off the cable news channels, and taking a walk in the woods.

I might not find answers to the difficult problems of the world, but I might just gain a few hours of peace. Perhaps this is more important, anyways.


Anonymous said...

From Engineer of Knowledge,

Hello History Mike,
An introspective epiphany and well stated posting.

mud_rake said...

Some folks on the Christian right enjoy tinkering around with apocalyptic messes: it gives then a weird sense of 'hope.'

Tim Higgins said...


I think perhaps that unwittingly, you have discovered the answers to the most difficult problem of the world ... matching socks. Most of the world's unrest seems to be caused by the people who can't discover them.

Your insight serves you well, and you may be missing a calling in international diplomacy.

Kathleen said...

If you can make sense of this world, you'll have people knocking on your door.

Barb said...

I am on the Christian right and do NOT look forward to end times --only to the return of Christ --but not everything predicted to come first.

Some Christians believe they will be raptured away before armageddon/tribulation predicted in the Bible. I'm not convinced of it. End times prophecy is one of those things in the bible that leaves a lot of room for interpretation --and so there are the pre-millenialists, the post-millenialists and the a-millenialists --and I'm not even sure which I am--that's how little I study that subject. I'm more focused on my (and others') D-day --that I will go to heaven when I die --or at the resurrection of the dead --whenever it is that paradise starts for the believer.

Jesus said to the respectful, believing thief on the next cross as they hung there, "Today you will be in paradise with me." So we traditionally believe we will go immediately, spiritually into God's heaven after death if we believe in Christ --but there is also the promise that all the dead in Christ will rise when the last trumpet is sounded -- so, in any case, my next conscious moment after death should be in God's heavenly realm.

I do have a sense of hope --but not from thinking of "apolcalyptic messes" as mudrake alleges. Mudly, you really should go visiting some "Christian right" churches, so you'd know more what they really do believe and teach. You have your father's views, I think, about which you say he obsessed. Them apples don't fall far....

though admittedly, there are all kinds of churches and pastors with various emphases.