Life, the Universe, and Everything – talking doors

How to make your doors talk like the ones in the Heart Of Gold

For my 42nd birthday, i had a Life, the Universe, and Everything party My first and most ambitious idea was to make the doors of my house talk. After months of planning and a couple of false starts, it finally happened two weeks after the party. Here is what i learnt, geek-friends:

Possible solutions to the talking door problem

  • A really simple switch – dismantle a mouse
  • Build an arduino device
  • Make a bluetooth – wii listener
  • Build it from old-skool electronics

The final solution : electronics

I failed at soldering. (the course was called “Electrical engineering 101″, and i didn’t pass very much of it, but i was especially bad at the soldering). So my friend Julian Sortland helped me with the components. Here’s what he built: An mp3 trigger (WIG-09715) (you should download the latest firmware with random track triggering)

Here is what it looks like (click for detail):


talking door - little bird electronicstalking door

And here is what it sounds like:

the Heart Of Gold doors sound files

And, because i couldn’t find them on the internet anywhere, here are a selection of talking door clips from the BBC radio and TV shows and the movie:

You know what my real surprise was? For me, the archetypical door utterance was “You’ve made a simple door very happy”. I hear it in my head, in the voice from the TV series. but it’s only in the book. none of the doors in the radio plays, the TV shows, or even the movie ever say that.

<- back to the 42 party

Life, the Universe, and Everything – my 42nd birthday party

For my 42nd birthday, i had a

Life, the Universe, and Everything party

– with as many ingredients as possible from all the versions of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and everything else Douglas Adams ever did or said. For a little while i called the party “Andrew is the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything”. But that seemed a bit ostentatious, so i changed it to “Andrew, he’s just this guy, you know?” Here are some of my ideas, with a few words about i made them happen (or failed to):

Talking doors

My first and most important idea. There’s a whole page about what I did and didn’t do here: Talking doors – how I made my doors talk just like the Heart of Gold

Media:

I wanted each room to feature a different version of the story (with the books available on every surface, beside every bottle). So i bought and borrowed as many copies of the books as i could, and at least one each of the following which i played on televisions and computers throughout the house:

  • The complete radio series five seasons now, plus the bonus interview disc. I had them playing in a loop out to the front street, so as everybody arrived (and as passers-by passed by) they got to hear a snippet of story.
  • hitchikers quotes quotes feed I downloaded the Hitchhikers Guide Quotes app, but it didn’t have enough quotes for me. So i made my own collection of Douglas Adams quotes, and wrote a bash script to scroll them slowly and continuously up a funny monochrome monitor i rescued from a skip once.
  • The six television episodes
  • The movie
  • The books
  • The radio scripts I bought my first ever copy (the US edition) from a second hand bookshop the week before the pary, and then a friend gave me a very battered copy of the first UK edition for a present. hurrah! I planned a reading. Sometime around one or two am, i thought, half a dozen stayers could drink port and play characters. but i forgot. we had the perfect cast too, sitting around in the kitchen at 2am.
  • The game For the 20th anniversary of Hitchhikers, the BBC remixed the infocom game (which i loved when i was 15) and gave it a flash interface. It’s really good. On the BBC site you get a lot of headers and sidebars, but you can go straight to the game and open your browser full-screen: Hitchhikers infocom game remixed. I worked out how to get the game to fill your browser window – it’s heaps better! It’s great. The hints are as funny as the game (and much quicker!), the artwork competition is great, and there is lots of BBC hitchhikers stuff to listen to.

Food and drink:

  • Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters A fan wrote a letter asking Douglas how to mix a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. His answer: I’m afraid it is impossible to mix a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster in Earth’s atmospheric conditions, but as an alternative I suggest you buy up the contents of your local liquor store, pour them into a large bucket and re-distil them three times. I’m sure your friends would appreciate this. Dry ice! The best value party addition ever! Get it from wherever compressed gasses are sold (also the sorts of places you hire welding gear). Should be one in any city, get the pellets for about $5/kilo (AUD, 2012 prices). I got ten kilos, which was much more than i needed for a party of fifty people plus a couple of days doing dry ice experiments. It’s cold enough to hurt, but not cold enough to cause serious damage. Don’t swallow it. but gargling is fun, if you’re very careful.
  • jynnan tonnyx
  • Something that tastes almost exactly unlike tea I wanted one of those 80’s office click clack tea and coffee dispensers, with instant coffee and instant tea (!!)… but i couldn’t find anywhere that still had one, and i can’t even find a photo on google.Hint: the difference between a regular gin and tonic and a pan-galactic gargle blaster? a few drops of green food colouring and a teaspoon of dry ice!! (do what you want for the algolian sun-tiger’s tooth)
  • Algolian Zybatburger I don’t think these are actually in any of Douglas’ work. but there was a stage play of Hitchhikers which sold them in the intermission.
  • Table full of food, like the one where we meet the mice The mice are the main thing. I got mice. I got a lot of food too. People noticed the food more than the mice, i think.
  • Milliways cocktail menu It is shown, very clearly, in the television episode. I didn’t get around to making one, but hit the pause button and it would be easy to make an exact copy.

Around the house:

  • We apologise for the inconvenienceWe apologise for the inconvenience
  • demolition notice demolition notice
  • chesterfield sofa I actually own a chesterfield sofa. An old one which i would have been happy to leave out in the weather for a day and a night. unfortunately it rained like there was a rain god at the party (hey, nobody came dressed as him!), so the sofa stayed inside instead of bobbing on the eddies in the yard.
  • Whale - i wonder if it will be my friend Whale I thought it would be easy to find a blow-up whale. But no. The only reasonably good-looking sperm whales i found all belonged to Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth. I’m sure i could have borrowed one from wherever they store them if I had time. But i didn’t, so i was stuck with this guy.
  • Petunias - oh no, not again petunias Within a week of the party the whale had untangled itself and gone for a swim down the highway. But more than a month later, the petunias are still flowering, suspended above the front path.
  • So long, and thanks for all the fish dolphins I tried to get all the dolphin kitsch i could. posters and videos and books and bath toys and anything that had a dolphin on it. I think that’s the right vibe. And of course our actual fish had something to say.
  • mice I bought two white mice, and put them in a fishtank on the kitchen table surrounded by food – and didn’t take a single photo. I was really hoping that I could find somebody who wanted some mice, some ten year old having a birthday whose parents wouldn’t mind. but around 1am, as Elwyn was leaving the party, he asked about them and I asked if he wanted them. He said yes. took them home. a month later Frankie and Benjy are living happily with him!
  • bulldozer Bulldozer
  • Rubber duckies The captain of the B-Ark says “you’ve never alone when you’ve got a rubber duck”. Douglas loved baths (he was very tall, i guess having less gravity around was a relief)
  • towels. beer. nuts Towels. Pints of beer. Nuts
  • Vogon poetry competition I actually got two excellent Vogon poems as birthday cards (as well as a poem by Paul Neil Milne Johnstone, who died in 2004). But Nicole thought of having a room (or a bit of a room) with paper and green textas where party-goers could write vogon poetry. The best bit would be the judging – around midnight I thought, with earplugs handed out to everybody in the room, and the winner being the person who causes most non-gargle-blaster related deaths.
  • Total Perspective Vortex Total Perspective Vortex The toilet! Such a perfect idea. I had a few thoughts about painting the walls with stars or decorating the room in some crazy Escher perspective. And on another tack, I actually had a Bible, a Koran, and a Bhagavad-Gita ready to put in there for you to contemplate. But in the end, the idea on its own was enough.
  • Disaster Area concert I spent months trying to imagine a way that an actual rock band could play. Put them on the roof? build a perspex cube in the lougeroom? Have a live webcam from a heavy metal concert somewhere in the world (surely at any given moment there is somebody webcasting a heavy metal show?) In the end, Cathy and Joe independantly came up with the genius solution – a diorama!!! Kate made it, a shoebox with a slit in one end so you can see the band playing far away on the horizon. We thought of having a set of headphones to put on while you looked as well… (I don’t have a photo, because there was only room for your eyes to look out of the bunker, not a camera)
  • Wikkit Gate The wikkit gate I didn’t think of this one at all – but Matt’s birthday present was this excellent Wikkit Gate

Music:

  • procol harum : Grand Hotel This album was the inspiration for The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I’ve listened to it a couple of times, but i haven’t made the connection yet.
  • the Eagles : One Of These Nights : Journey of the Sorcerer For the (now very recognisable) theme music, Douglas wanted something “electronic, with a banjo” to give an “on the road, hitchhiking feel”. This is the track he chose. At the time, a lot of Eagles fans didn’t even recognise it out of context.
  • Pink Floyd Douglas was a huge Pink Floyd fan, and all the band members became friends. They played at one of this birthday parties. Shine On You Crazy Diamond is in fit 3 of the radio series.
  • The Beatles Douglas was also a huge Beatles fan. Read Neil Gaiman’s book for the excellent story about the day Douglas went to see Paul McCartney play in a pub.
  • Staying Alive why did i have this written down?
  • and of course, Disaster Area Find a place where you don’t want anybody to hang out. play incredibly loud thrash metal there.

I don’t think anybody actually did it (because i have high-quality friends who know to give a present when they have a good one and not feel guilty if they don’t have an idea), but i asked anybody who did feel guilty about wanting to give me something to give it to Douglas’ favourite charity, Save the Rhino

information sources:

Party with vogon Thanks to Julian, Kate, Nicole, Fraser, Josh, and Cathy for lots of help and good ideas. And to everybody who themed up, even if that just meant carrying a towel.

the last days of leo francis

<– back to my mum died

the Last Days of Leo : a eulogy by andrew

i might add some more words and pictures of leo soon, but for now there’s this:

Firstly, i would like to acknowledge the Darkinjung people who are the traditional custodians of this land.

eighty years ago today, in the front bedroom of a house on the pacific highway opposite waitara station, Leo was born. his mother was 31 years old, his father was 49. his big sisters clare and dorothy, and his brothers George and Jack, were all at home. it was a very windy weather, very rainy, and the scottish midwife said to clare “come in and see what your mother’s got.”

he lived at home with his family until he was 18, when his father died. he continued to live there for another 18 years, until he married Leah. people said he’d never be able to marry a blind woman, he hadn’t cooked himself a meal or ironed a shirt his whole life. but it went ok. he lived with leah in glebe, albury, the solomon islands, and umina for another 18 years, until leah died.

i’m going to pre-empt the new testament reading now. i’ve told lots of you how easy leo was to care for, what a generous and gracious patient he was. and sitting with him over the last few months i keep thinking of the words of 1 corinthians 13:

Leo was patient, Leo was kind. he was a gentleman. always early, always polite, always well-dressed. he didn’t care what he looked like, he had no shame, he’d be happy to go to the theatre in his undies (although that’s another story). but he wanted a party to look good, he knew that if you’re stepping out with a lady (or a female impersonator) you should make an effort. let that be a lesson to you young chaps. i’m not a great nurse. i don’t know how to roll a person over, i’m no good at wheelchair transfers. the first week dad was out of hospital in november he thought he was in a hospital in the third world – he had a hospital bed in a whitewashed room, with no routines and me and phil for nurses… i think the standard of care had dropped so much that he thought he was in india. but when he was sick and needed help, and when we weren’t very good helpers, he was so patient, so kind, so appreciative of us being there. we’d apologise for our keystone cops approach to nursing, and he never complained.

Leo did not envy, did not boast, was not proud. he kept his light under a bushel. he made anonymous donations (except where there was a tax advantage, in which case he’d make donations in the names of people who needed the money more than he did). he threw parties for others, but never for himself. he was proud of leah, proud of his children, but when the limelight fell on him he didn’t want to know about it. one night cathy and i were drinking at the angel place hotel in george st, and he said “the last time i was in here i was packing a gun” – he went on to speak about his youth, how he and his friends thought they were tough, thought they could walk around town with a gun. another time cathy asked leo if he knew george freeman, the standover man, leo said “oh no, thank goodness, i would have been boasting all over town that i knew george and got myself beaten up”. sometime in the next forty years those attitudes changed, i have heard lots of stories from his wild post-war youth but in all of them he repents of his youthful pride.

Leo was not rude, was not self-seeking, – he was welcoming, accepting, hospitable, generous. he must have invited thousands of people to stay, friends and acquaintances from near and far, i’m amazed how few people have accepted. i’ve seen him sit with people who were so rude, i’ve seen him wait graciously on people with no grace, and i’ve never seen him ask for anything in return. so many times in the last month someone has come over, one of you, and he’s been in his wheelchair, unable to stand, and he would apologise for not getting up. did i say he was a gentleman?

was not easily angered, kept no record of wrongs. actually he was angry about the burning of the great library at alexandria. and he was pretty angry about the big banks, the insurance industry, children kept behind razor wire, but for his friends he was endlessly forgetting, always giving another chance. last night i asked Phil what leo was angry about, and after i had said a few of the things on that list he said “i was having trouble, i was trying to think of something closer to home, but maybe there is nothing.”

Leo did not delight in evil but rejoiced with the truth. he has a whole bookcase devoted to miscarriages of justice. the Stuart case, the “Bringing Them Home” enquiry, the Mickleberg Stitch, Robert Johnson the boxer… come over and have a look. films too. Rabbit Proof Fence and One Night the Moon, The Fringe Dwellers and he had an enquiring mind, he loved a mystery, loved a good car chase – but he wanted to support those who were invesigating real mysteries, forgotten injustices, hidden crimes, in the hope they would be brought into the light.

Leo always protected, always trusted, he worked hard for the dismepowered. many of you know him through st vincent de paul, or youth angle, or … he was good in institutions – working for the tax office, he met my mum on the counter where they provided free help to people who were unable to do their own tax returns. teaching at TAFE and in the solomon islands, he had lots of stories about students who he had to shield from the rules. in the solomons he had student who asked for a few days off because his wife was having a baby, and was refused. leo told him to go, and for the next three weeks he forgot to mark the roll every morning, until the day the student returned – then he remembered, got out the roll, and asked the class whether everyone had been present for the last week. that young man had got a lift on a copra boat to his island, then taken his wife by canoe to the hospital in bougainville. he had worked the copper mines for two weeks until his wife and baby were ready to be discharged, then caught a boat back to TAFE. the principal thought he would go home and never come back, but leo trusted him.

always hoped, always persevered. he had plans and schemes my dad. we’ll never know many of his secret plans now, we’ll never know all the ways he hoped the world would change. he called himself cunning. he made plans to improve our lives, complicated plans which he didn’t reveal until it was time. so many theatre tickets he bought me before i started buying my own, so many flyers in my letterbox, so many reviews for Performance Space and Bangarra Dance, reminding me of the things he wanted me to appreciate. he worked slowly on his dreams. i’ve seen schemes play out over decades, and i’m know he had half baked plans which are never going to be finished.

i’ve run out of words now. come over to his place after mass, we’ve got some lunch organised and some music, leo’s bedroom is just as he left it if you want to spend some quiet time there, and we can tell each other stories.

but leo’s grandson josh has something to say, and he’ll speak for all of us.

–> Leah’s memoir

my mum died

<– back to the last days of leo

My mum died

It was a shock to all of us, and i know lots of you talked with her last week, which makes if very hard to believe we won’t talk to her this week. It’s very strange.

but my mum wasn’t one to wait around for an invitation. And she wasn’t one to dilly-dally over a decision. And she found it hard to leave things until the time was convenient to anyone else. She died as she lived: bluntly, without warning.

And that is how she always expressed her love, bluntly. She presented gifts out of the blue, objects which had significance to her. we were ordered to take care of them. She schemed schemes to improve our lives, and i know many people found themselves on the receiving end of those schemes.

Her love was in her presence, her words, her poems, lately her emails. She made endless visits all over the country – she would travel any distance for dinner with a friend. And she passed on that love, and that independance. On good friday i was in Canberra, Matthew was in Melbourne, Philip was in Adelaide. We had all spoken to her on Thursday, and we were all with friends when we heard

She feared nothing, my mum, nothing and noone. We were more afraid for her than she was, which turned out to be crazy. For all our fears that she would die by walking under a bus, by falling off the train station, or be killed in a car crash where she was the driver; and for all her fear that she would die slowly, losing her mobility, her ability to communicate, and most of all her independence; after all the deals she made with anyone who she thought could keep her out of a nursing home, she died in the night, in her bed, at home.

I will finish my tribute to Leah with a tribute to the people who made her independent life possible. people who loved her with an open hand. Nan and Ray, and the whole Anforth clan, and my Dad. People who cared so much for her but didn’t let their concern become a prison, which so many people in her childhood would have done. She spent so much of her life fighting against restrictive forms of care, and with the help of all those who have loved her so openly, she has returned freedom to so many of our lives.

–> Leah’s memoir

A collection of Andrew Lorien’s past times

Hi!

In 2008 my nice friends took me hiking and paddling through the tasmanian wilderness. We didn’t do the trip we planned, but the trip we planned is here anyway. We took four cameras between seven people, and came home with about 1600 still photos. After staring at them all for a long long time i’ve chosen my favourite 72 images (that’s three rolls of 24) Three of us took more or less daily portraits of each other. click to see Keith, Ryan, Andrew

Once upon a time, Cathy and I went to europe. You can see our impressions of London and Greenbelt.

About ten years ago i used to like playing games with scanners and 3-D modelling packages and the idea of virtual reality. Here’s some things i did back then, mostly on my Mac LC575. I wish i had had the skills to make more of the Escher ideas…

Anyway, click on the little pictures.

The first of what may be a lot of games with Mr Escher:

And announcing…


the second.
(which takes about 7 minutes to look at, after it loads (310k)) Steve Bevis - Hold Up The Sky, Put Out The Sunsteve bevis’s cd artwork.

the Northern Territory, 1996

And for even more new coolness, a QTVR panorama.You need the quicktime plug-in v2.0 or something, which is the best thing in the world anyway.Joined, new today, by a QTVR objectified Little Black Book With Red Ends (looking remarkably clean, new, and unwrittenin).

Barbara in the desert  receipt + road  green green green  my world, 1996

AL  My home page 

new dark ages research

Created on: 15 June, 2002

anything not referenced is from the encyclopedia britannica

post-capitalism. the new tribalism.
history is written by the victors.
it is a curse to live in interesting times.
I welcome an age which, 500 years from now, will seem uninteresting and opaque to historians.

Overlapping Social Structures

The most striking feature of medieval society was its peculiar diversity and complexity. Although scholars often conceived the world as a hierarchy in which all power was mediated from God according to a single ordered descent, in practice four distinct types of structure coexisted, overlapping and modifying one another profoundly but each with its own laws and objects. The first was the economic structure, essentially a diverse and inefficient agricultural society with islands of commercial activity. The second was the seigneurial, the structure by which this economic activity was adapted to provide a surplus for a small class of lords and occasionally for great merchants. The third was ecclesiastical, in theory an autonomous economy of salvation in which all forms of secular life had their spiritual counterpart. The fourth–and for long the most tenuous–was the centralized monarchical structure of the sovereign state. The triumph of this last over the earlier claims of the church and magnate government marks the end of medieval society.

christian authority

In the late 5th century, when non-Roman forces effectively took over the Roman Empire, several forms of Christian authority were known: the urban hierarchy of bishops, established in or near the major cities and ranked according to geographic diocese; monastic communities, dedicated to spiritual perfection; and isolated holy men unattached to other groups. The faith was represented by a variety of monuments, ranging from cathedral churches, some with magnificent decoration, to isolated rural shrines, often containing the relics of martyrs and saints reputed to work miracles. Overall, the character of each Christian region differed according to the history and method of its evangelization.
Between the 8th and the 15th century it has been calculated that not much more than one-third of the 2,000 bishops appointed to German bishoprics came from nonnoble families, and only five are known to have come from the dependent peasantry that formed the great bulk of the population. Certain monasteries and colleges of cathedral canons were explicitly reserved to those of the most carefully authenticated noble birth

who named the ‘dark ages’?

The term and its conventional meaning were introduced by Italian humanists with invidious intent; the humanists were engaged in a revival of classical learning and culture, and the notion of a thousand-year period of darkness and ignorance separating them from the ancient Greek and Roman world served to highlight the humanists’ own work and ideals. In a sense, the humanists invented the Middle Ages in order to distinguish themselves from it
[and elsewhere]
The term middle age (medium aevum) was first used in the late 15th century by humanist scholars as a description of that period of western European history between the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century AD and the revival of civilized life and learning in which the humanists believed themselves to be participating. Those centuries saw the emergence of Europe as a cultural unit and the rise and decay of a distinctive civilization within it.

a short history

The millennium between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and the beginning of the colonial expansion of western Europe in the late 15th century has been known traditionally as the Middle Ages, and the first half of this period consists of the five centuries of the Dark Ages. We now know that the period was not as socially stagnant as this title suggests. In the first place, many of the institutions of the later empire survived the collapse and profoundly influenced the formation of the new civilization that developed in western Europe. The Christian Church was the outstanding institution of this type, but Roman conceptions of law and administration also continued to exert an influence long after the departure of the legions from the western provinces. Second, and more important, the Teutonic tribes who moved into a large part of western Europe did not come empty-handed, and in some respects their technology was superior to that of the Romans. It has already been observed that they were people of the Iron Age, and although much about the origins of the heavy plow remains obscure these tribes appear to have been the first people with sufficiently strong iron plowshares to undertake the systematic settlement of the forested lowlands of northern and western Europe, the heavy soils of which had frustrated the agricultural techniques of their predecessors.

The invaders came thus as colonizers. They may have been regarded as “barbarians” by the Romanized inhabitants of western Europe who naturally resented their intrusion, and the effect of their invasion was certainly to disrupt trade, industry, and town life. But the newcomers also provided an element of innovation and vitality. About AD 1000 the conditions of comparative political stability necessary for the reestablishment of a vigorous commercial and urban life had been secured by the success of the kingdoms of the region in either absorbing or keeping out the last of the invaders from the East, and thereafter for 500 years the new civilization grew in strength and began to experiment in all aspects of human endeavour. Much of this process involved recovering the knowledge and achievements of the ancient world. The history of medieval technology is thus largely the story of the preservation, recovery, and modification of earlier achievements. But by the end of the period Western civilization had begun to produce some remarkable technological innovations that were to be of the utmost significance.

the decline of roman influence

The sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth in AD 410 had enormous impact on the political structure and social climate of the Western world, for the Roman Empire had provided the basis of social cohesion for most of Europe. Although the Germanic tribes that forcibly migrated into southern and western Europe in the 5th century were ultimately converted to Christianity, they retained many of their customs and ways of life; the changes in forms of social organization they introduced rendered centralized government and cultural unity impossible. Many of the improvements in the quality of life introduced during the Roman Empire, such as a relatively efficient agriculture, extensive road networks, water-supply systems, and shipping routes, decayed substantially, as did artistic and scholarly endeavours. This decline persisted throughout the period of time sometimes called the Dark Ages (also called Late Antiquity, or the Early Middle Ages), from the fall of Rome to about the year 1000, with a brief hiatus during the flowering of the Carolingian court established by Charlemagne. Apart from that interlude, no large kingdom or other political structure arose in Europe to provide stability. The only force capable of providing a basis for social unity was the Roman Catholic church. The Middle Ages therefore present the confusing and often contradictory picture of a society attempting to structure itself politically on a spiritual basis

libraries broken down

Many old libraries, of monasteries and cities and kingdoms alike, were split up in the 1500’s, because the scholars of the ‘enlightenment’ (the people who named the ‘dark ages’) believed that they contained nothing of value. Fortunately, a few collectors (notably mr Bodley of the Bodlean library) re-collected as many of the documents as they could.

provincialisation – decline in transport

The period of the early Middle Ages was largely a time of stagnation and decline in transportation. There tended to be, as in other aspects of society, an increasing provincialization. People continued to move about, but they moved over shorter distances, less frequently, and, as roads deteriorated, at an increasing cost. The combination of road deterioration and the failure to advance the practice of wagon building meant increasing discomfort while traveling. Thus, frequently women as well as men went by horseback or by mules because it was more comfortable, and wagons came to be used only by the poor and the sick. Roads became rather overgrown with the shift from wagon to saddle horse.

old dark ages v new dark ages (1)

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 14:04:28 +0100 From: “Richard K. Moore” Subject: Modern World History (summarized)
(1) — Back in the 18th century (the Enlightenment) capitalism grew weary of the constraints of royalty, church, and the nobility, and decided republics would be a better vehicle to facilitate the further development of capitalism. The business-elite therefore aroused the populace to rebellion, and set up “democratic” republics, which eventually became the norm for First World nations.
(2) — These “democracies” have been based on a very uneasy partnership between the elite and the people, with the real strings of power in the hands of the elite. While many people have obviously experienced increased material well-being, exploitation, poverty, and imperialism have been rampant, and the struggle for justice and equality has been ongoing. Meanwhile corporations (the ultimate capitalist money-making machines) have been consolidating ownership and control of the world’s media, politics, and resources.
(3) — At the end of World War II, the U.S. achieved military and economic dominance of the globe, and the age of global corporatism began. This system is based on ending the cycle of great-power imperialist warfare, under a nuclear pax-americana umbrella, and creating an “orderly” world subservient to corporate interests. The final stage of this system is at hand: the dismantlement of strong nation states, and their replacement by a neo-feudal corporate world government, without benefit of democratic institutions. Big Brother is knocking at the door. We the people have a choice between reclaiming our democracies and curbing corporate power, or else succumbing to a new Dark Ages with the world split up into corporate-managed, neo-fascist fiefdoms, as we see realized already in the Third World. ~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~–~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~
Posted by Richard K. Moore – rkmoore@iol.ie – Wexford, Ireland
Cyberlib: www | ftp –> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib ~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~–~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 18:49:56 +0100
From: “Richard K. Moore”
Subject: Re: Dismantlement; Feudalism
Comments: cc: WALKER@SERVAX.FIU.EDU
10/11/96, Drew Walker wrote:
>Richard,
>Could you explain this better? How will the nation-states be dismantled
>and how will a form of feudalism come into being?
>Just curious and unable to imagine such a scenario,

Dear Drew,
re:
Dismantlement: My view is that dismantlement is well under way, and is readily observable. The visible symptoms include: privatization, internationalization, deregulation, free- trade agreements, and demonization of government. Privatization: This is most obvious in the UK, where privatization is an avowed policy, but it is occurring elsewhere, without necessarily being identified as a coherent policy. This is a direct dismantlement of institutions under public control and ownership, and a transfer into corporate control and ownership.

Internationalization: NAFTA, GATT, IMF, WTO, and World Bank are institutions which are dominated by corporate interests, and which are rapidly expanding their control over national policies, most obviously at present in the Third World. This amounts to a transfer of sovereignty, over wide areas of economics-related matters, from governments to corporate-dominated commissions. — The European Union represents a transfer of many aspects of sovereignty from European governments to the Brussels regime. The greater scale of the EU (compared to individual countries) and the vagueness and incompleteness of the Maastricht treaty, make Brussels even more vulnerable to corporate domination than were the individual states.
Deregulation: Radical and extreme deregulation, as we’ve seen with the U.S. Telecom Reform Act, represents a transfer of control and ownership to corporations over domains which have been traditionally subject to public oversight, equity, and policy making.

Free-trade agreements: These agreements carry the power — and indeed have been used — to overturn environmental, product-quality, and labor laws in individual countries, based on the principle of “unfair competition”. This further removes sovereignty from states.

Demonization: The constant media message is that governments just can’t do the job anymore — the modern world is too complex. Certainly the media have always been critical of politicians, but under neo-liberalism there is a broader thrust to the critique, an implication that the political process itself is unworkable. This careful preparation of the public mind for corporatization is an essential part of carrying out the overall program of dismantlement.

Feudalism: Central America may be the clearest example of this pattern, in particular Guatemala and El Salvador. Here we see essentially military dictatorships whose main functions are to (1) subdue the population, and (2) manage the infrastructure to enable outside investments. This then creates a “plantation scenario environment” where multinationals can grow coffee or bannanas, or raise cattle, or run factories — with the best land owned by multinationals, and with an available pool of docile workers who have been reduced to all but slave status. Government policies are dictated by the resident multinationals, with the help of bribery, and the backup of the U.S. Marines. Citizenship has little meaning or value in these scenarios. The main thing that matters in the life of the landless peasants is their relationship to the big corporations that run their country: can they get a job or not? To me, this all obviously equates to the paradigm of feudalism: the corporations are the feudal lords, and the peasants have a vassal relationship to them. These are perhaps the extreme examples, but I would call them “early adopters”. Throughout the Third World, the IMF is systematically destroying social-welfare systems, and leaving the population vulnerable to the same feudal scenario. The overwhelming trend in First World countries is in the same direction. The U.S. and UK rush voluntarily into this scenario, under the rubric of “competitiveness” and “downsizing”. In Europe it is being pushed by the mania for the ECU. In Australia and elsewhere it’s being brought about by other means.
But the trend is indisputable.
I hope that addresses your questions,
Richard
~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~–~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~
Posted by Richard K. Moore – rkmoore@iol.ie – Wexford, Ireland
Cyberlib: www | ftp –> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib ~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~–~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~

After Virtue, a book by Alisdair MacIntyre, a moral philosopher (9)

MacIntyre believes that this modern world-view must be rejected through a renewal of local community and the practices which contribute to making the good life in Aristotle’s sense. He urges a retreat from “the new dark ages” we have entered similar to that undertaken at the end of the Roman imperium, and in this echoes Mumford’s call in 1970 to withdraw from “the pentagon of power.” Yet Mumford, despite his pessimism concerning the power complex, hoped for more than the endurance of the tradition of the virtues: “How long, those who are now awake must ask themselves, how long can the physical structure of an advanced technology hold together when all its human foundations are crumbling away?…the human institutions and moral convictions that have taken thousands of years to achieve even minimal efficacy have disappeared before our eyes: so completely that the next generation will scarcely believe they ever existed….The Roman empire in the East won a new lease on life by coming to terms with Christianity…But it must be remembered that this intermixture of Roman and Christian institutions was achieved at the expense of creativity. So until the disintegration of our own society has gone even further, there is reason to look for a more vigorous life-promoting solution. Whether such a response is possible depends upon an unknown factor: how viable are the formative ideas that are now in the air, and how ready are our contemporaries to undertake the efforts and sacrifices that are essential for human renewal?…Has Western civilization reached the point in etherialization where detachment and withdrawal will lead to the assemblage of an organic world picture, in which the human personality in all its dimensions will have primacy over its biological needs and technological pressures?….When the moment comes to replace power with plenitude, compulsive external rituals with internal, self-imposed discipline, depersonalization with individuation, automation with autonomy, we shall find that the necessary change of attitude has been going on beneath the surface during the last century, and the long buried seeds of a richer human culture are now ready to strike root and grow, as soon as the ice breaks up and the sun reaches them. If that growth is to prosper, it will draw freely on the compost from many previous cultures.” ge of Alastair MacIntyre’s book draws a parallel between our time and the collapse of the Roman Empire: He writes: “What matters now is the construction of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. “If the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. “This time, however, the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers, they have already been governing us for quite some time. “And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament.”

from the conclusion:

“It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the more misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age . . . and the epoch in which the Roman Empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. . . . What they set themselves to achieve-often not recognizing fully what they were doing-was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. . . . This time, however, the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers, they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are not waiting for Godot, but for another – and doubtless very different – St. Benedict.”

neo-medieval international politics (8)

Another reason for examining the Middle Ages is that one of Hedley Bull’s scenarios for the future of international relations is a ‘neo-medieval’ or ‘post-modern’ international system, moving away from a world of nation-states to one of a ‘jagged-glass’ pattern of states and other international actors, based on the integration and fragmentation of states, and the rise of transnational organisations, the technical unification of the world through globalisation, and the restoration of private international violence by nonstate groups rather tha by the armies of nation-states, which arguably, is what characterises the conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda, and in other regions of the Third world, and indicates what some analysts are now calling the rise of ‘post-modern’ war.

these next two quotes are from a paper given by an american catholic priest in 1998.

forming ghettos (2)

After a lot of talk about abortion and euthenasia and how society is going to ruin, he asks:

What is the response? I think the response is to form ghettos. The ghetto mentality? You bet. It isn’t anti-Semitic to point out that the ghetto mentality has worked beautifully for the Jews. They have survived every vicissitude of history and some of the most horrible, horrendous ones like the Holocaust. They did it by forming ghettos, by maintaining their culture and traditions. We’ve got to do it too. Does that mean fleeing the world? Yes, it means fleeing the world. Forever, not to come back? Not to influence it? No, we can’t abandon the world Christ died to save.

home schooling (3)

These are the parents who want to have children, and that of course is countercultural. And then they’re dedicating themselves primarily to bringing their children up in the Faith and in our Western culture, and in a genuine civilization and culture. I’m seeing tremendous results. I’ve become a convert to home schooling and I’ll answer objections anybody has, because sure, they’re human beings, there’s original sin – read that footnote in Milton and you’ll find out what that is – but I have never found a group of youngsters so well socialized, so knowledgeable in their faith, so friendly, and so well-educated as home schooled youngsters. I really haven’t. They are tremendous. Do you know how many there are? I’ve heard this from a person who spends his time analyzing the situation. There are 30,000 new Catholic home schooling families every year. Benedict had 15,000 monasteries after about 10 centuries. We’re getting twice as many little monasteries every year in the Catholic Church. You may not see that too clearly, but it’s there. There was evidence of that a couple of years ago here in Washington, D.C. when they tried to pass HR 6 or 7, that education bill, 700 pages long. There was one paragraph which said that the federal government would have to certify residential teachers, which means home schooling parents. And who’s going to certify the federal government to do that? It looked pretty innocuous. Suddenly within a week Congress had more faxes and phone calls than they’d ever had in this city all at once. They were shocked. They didn’t know what was happening. It wasn’t just because there are that many home schoolers in this country, but they’ve got friends. They’re networked. They keep in touch with each other. They speak with a single voice. Fortunately, I don’t think that people in Washington D.C. or the New York Times fully understand the future political power of the home schooling movement. I’m glad they don’t, because as soon as they get the idea, you can be sure that there’ll be more and more laws and they’ll try to suppress it, as in some cases they are already trying to do. But it’s growing.

There are many other things like the home schooling movement, but I use this as the icon, because in the new Dark Ages every home must be a monastery. Every home must be a place of refuge. It won’t be summa quies, as I’m sure people who are families here will tell me; nevertheless it will be a certain repose from the hectic noise, promiscuity and violence of the world. It will definitely be that. It will be a sanctuary, a holy place.

[this guy also has good words about the benedictines, like dave’s words about the franciscans]

chuck colson (4)

Chuck Colson (Richard Nixon’s friend and Watergate conspirator), after he went to prison and became a christian, wrote a book about the ‘demise of the american experiment’. it’s a bit heavy-handed, and he seems to confuse the american experiment with christianity, and thinks it should be kept going. but the germ of the book seems right – the cultural consensus is breaking down, and it’s going to take a lot down with it.
Charles Colson, with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant, 1989).

sustainability (5)

Currently, cultural and social change is occurring very rapidly, and if Professor Sing Chew is correct, these changes may mean we are headed towards a new dark ages during which human population decreases rapidly and accumulation of capital radically decreases. In the past, during so-called dark ages of human civilizations, nature was able to renew its vitality after centuries of abuse by human civilizations. However, past civilizations were regional in location. Humans have never before experienced a globalized civilization which is causing massive human-caused extinctions of other species and human-caused massive changes in global climate patterns.

other dark ages (don’t know who said this)

Currently, cultural and social change is occurring very rapidly, and if Professor Sing Chew is correct, these changes may mean we are headed towards a new dark ages during which human population decreases rapidly and accumulation of capital radically decreases. In the past, during so-called dark ages of human civilizations, nature was able to renew its vitality after centuries of abuse by human civilizations. However, past civilizations were regional in location. Humans have never before experienced a globalized civilization which is causing massive human-caused extinctions of other species and human-caused massive changes in global climate patterns.

bob dylan! 

BLOOD IN MY EYES is one of two songs done by the Mississippi Sheiks, a little known de facto group whom in their former glory must’ve been something to behold. rebellion against routine seems to be their strong theme. all their songs are raw to the bone & are faultlessly made for these modern times (the New Dark Ages) nothing effete about the Mississippi Sheiks. [from the liner notes to Bob Dylan’s album “world gone wrong“, 1993]

a book of poetry (6)

Not all that relevant, really, but it is the only book i could find actually called ‘New Dark Ages’

THE BEGINNING OF IT ALL (7)

it all started for me,
with umberto eco:
an essay on the collapse of the Pax Americana,
in Travels In Hyper-Reality

Carl Sagan

Legend that he may or may not be, refers to the new dark ages, but i don’t know where

and, of course, William Gibson

who has inspired millions with his vision of a local, cooperative underground, thriving across the convuluted layers of corporate, government, and spiritual control.
Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Idoru. Read them all.

References

  1.  richard k. moore. http://www.nsu.ru/filf/pha/threads/
  2.  http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/1998-11-12/oration.html
  3.  http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/1998-11-12/oration.html
  4.  charles colson. http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/darkages.html
  5.   http://www.culturechange.org/issue19/unsustainability.htm
  6.  donald revell. New Dark Ages.
  7.  umberto eco. Travels In Hyper-Reality .
  8.  Hedley Bull The Anarchical Society, Chapters 2 & 11 (esp. on ‘A New Medievalism’, pp. 264-276) http://staff.bath.ac.uk/hsssmt/ecoi0040.html
  9.  Alasdair MacIntyre After Virtue 1982 http://www.nd.edu/~ehalton/mumford.htm : http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9608/articles/oakes.html

–> move on to some crazy ideas about the turn of the milennium

John Howard Goddam

John Howard Goddam

original version by Nina Simone
listen to the mp3
special version for john
(grey lines i haven’t worked out yet)
alabama’s got me so upset
tennessee made me lose my rest
and everybody knows about mississippi goddamn
alabama’s got me so upset
tennessee made me lose my rest
and everybody knows about mississippi goddamn

can’t you see it
can’t you feel it
it’s all in the air
i can’t stand the pressure much longer
somebody say a prayeralabama’s got me so upset
tennessee made me lose my rest
everybody knows about mississippi goddamn

hounds dogs on my tail
schoolchildren sit in jail
black cat cross my path
think every day’s gonna be my last

lord have mercy on this land of mine
we all going to get it in due time
i don’t belong here
i dont belong there
i’ve even stopped believing in prayer

don’t tell me i’ll tell you
me and my people just about do
i’ve been there so i know
they keep on saying “go slow”

well that’s just the trouble
“go slow”
washing the windows
“go slow”
picking the cotton
“go slow”
you’re just plain rotton
“go slow”
you do things gradually
bring more tragedy
why can’t you see it
why dont you feel it
i don’t know
i don’t know

just try to do my very best
stand up be counted with all the rest
cos everybody knows about mississippi goddamn

picket lines
schoolboy cots
they try to say it’s a communist plot
but all i want is equality
for my sisters my brothers my people and me

you lied to me all these years
you told me to wash and clean my ears
and talk real fine just like a lady
and you’d stop calling me sister sadie

but my country is full of lies
we all going to die and die like flies
cos i don’t trust you any more
they keep on saying
“go slow”

well that’s just the trouble
“go slow”
desegregation
“go slow”
mass participation
“go slow”
unification
“go slow”
do things gradually
“go slow”
will bring more tragedy
why don’t you see it
why don’t you feel it
i don’t know
i don’t know

you don’t have to live next to me
just give me my equality
cos everybody knows about mississippi
everybody knows about michael jackson
everybody knows about margaret thatcher
everybody knows about ronald reagan
everybody knows about michael gee
everybody knows about jesse jackson
everybody knows about mississippi
GODDAM GODDAM

putney has got me so upset
gladesville made me lose my rest
and everybody knows about bennelong goddamn
putney has got me so upset
gladesville made me lose my rest
and everybody knows about john howard goddamn

can’t you see it
can’t you feel it
it’s all in the air
i can’t stand the pressure much longer
somebody say a prayer

baxter has got me so upset
woomera made me lose my rest
and everybody knows about john howard goddamn

hounds dogs on my tail
schoolchildren sit in jail
black cat cross my path
think every day’s gonna be my last

lord have mercy on this land of mine
we all going to get it in due time
i don’t belong here
i dont belong there
i’ve even stopped believing in prayer


don’t tell me i’ll tell you
me and my people just about do
i’ve been there so i know
they keep on saying “go slow”

well that’s just the trouble
“non core”
no new taxes
“non core”
fair work choices
“non core”
you’re just plain rotton
“non core”
you do things gradually
bring more tragedy
why can’t you see it
why dont you feel it
i don’t know
i don’t know

just try to do my very best
stand up be counted with all the rest
cos everybody knows about john howard goddamn


picket lines
schoolboy cots

they try to say it’s a terrorist plot
but all i want is equality
for indigenous people, refugees and me

you lied to me all these years

you told me to wash and clean my ears
and talk real fine just like a lady
and you’d stop calling me sister sadie

but my country is full of lies


we all going to die and die like flies

cos i don’t trust you any more


they keep on saying
“go slow”

well that’s just the trouble
“go slow”
desegregation
“go slow”
mass participation
“go slow”
assimilation
“go slow”
do things gradually
“go slow”
will bring more tragedy
why don’t you see it
why don’t you feel it
i don’t know
i don’t know

i don’t want you on my TV
just give me my equality
cos everybody knows about the wheat board
everybody knows about children overboard
everybody knows about the iraq war
everybody knows about kyoto
everybody knows about land rights
everybody knows about saying sorry
everybody knows about john howard
GODDAM GODDAM

Procedural Art

<– i know much better artists

The art i like best is what i call Procedural (though you might call it Conceptual, and it’s often Recursive). One of my very first web pages in 1996 was the Framegame, which a surprising number of people liked. There are a few procedural bits in the Prodigal Project, and some on Andrew’s parables page. But I went to the National Gallery (of Australia) this year (2002), and discovered Sol LeWitt. Who inspired me to design A Table Containing One Red Square, and Combinations Of Colour Indexes. i don’t know if they’re much good. But they’re interesting to make, which i think is the point… A project that could take me the rest of my life – i call it The People In My Neighbourhood

Here’s a (probably out of date by the time you read it) page about some of the systems i run, with instructions to make my homages to The Matrix and The Lord Of The Rings.

andrew:30042005

–> on to andrew’s random parables

milennium

“None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand”

(Daniel 12:10, NIV)


Christ’s Soon Return: The Overwhelming Evidence
The Importance of the End of this Millennium

by Jim Bramlett


The year A.D. 2000 is almost here. It is not just the end of a decade. Not just the end of a century. But we are one of the very few generations to ever see the end (and beginning) of a millennium. What an incredible and historic time to be alive! But could A.D. 2000 be much more significant than most of us can even imagine? Biblical prophecy fulfillment is rushing to a climax. Throughout history, according to researchers, both Christian and Jewish writers looked to this very time — not to the year A.D. 1000, or A.D. 3000, or A.D. 4000 or any other time — but surprisingly to the end of this present millennium, approaching A.D. 2000, as the most eventful time in all history. If they were alive today, they would undoubtedly be ecstatic with anticipation. Should we? Did they know something we have overlooked, or dismissed too lightly? Does the end of this millennium signal the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Adding to the mystery is the fact that our civil calendar may be erroneous and not the same as God’s calendar. The end of the current biblical millennium, with its implications, may actually occur 1-5 years earlier than what the world expects.

Consider the following evidence, far from exhaustive and only a sample: Early Christians Looked to this Decade! Early Christian writers held that at the end of 6,000 years of history, Christ would return and reign for 1,000 years (referred to as the Millennium). These included Barnabas (c. A.D. 100), Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (c. A.D. 150), Lactantius (c. A.D. 325), and Methodius, Bishop of Tyre (c. A.D. 300). For example, Barnabas wrote: “As there had been 2,000 years from Adam to Abraham, and 2,000 from Abraham to Christ; so there will be 2,000 years for the Christian era and then would come the Millennium.” Church father Irenaeus wrote concerning a belief of the early church: “For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed; it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand years.”

Lactantius, tutor of the son of the Roman Emperor Constantine, categorically stated in his Book of Divine Institutes, Chapter 14: “let the philosophers know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed; and when this number is completed, the consummation must take place.” Later, in A.D. 1552, Bishop Latimer wrote: “The world was ordained to endure, as all learned men affirm, 6,000 years. Now of that number, there be passed 5,552 years (as of A.D. 1552), so that there is no more left but 448 years (ending in A.D. 2000).” In the 17th century, Archbishop Ussher had access to many ancient church manuscripts that were lost in the burning of early Irish churches during the Irish wars. In A.D. 1650, in Latin, he wrote The Chronology on the Old and New Testament in which he calculated that the Millennium would begin in A.D. 1997. His chronology was based on Christ being born in 4 B.C. Modern scholarship places Christ’s birth between 6 B.C. and 1 B.C. which, according to Ussher, the Millennium would begin 1995-2000. The writings of other church fathers such as Victorinus, Bishop of Petau and Hippotylus support the argument that the apostles and the early church believed and taught that the Millennium would commence at the end of 6,000 years.

So Did Early Jewish Writers

Even the writings of the early Jews expressed the view that the Messiah would come at the end of our present century. After the Bible, the Talmud is the most authoritative source of Judaism. The view frequently expressed in the Talmud, according to researchers, is that the world as we know it would last only 6,000 years. For example, the Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: “The world is to exist 6,000 years. In the first 2,000, there was desolation (no Torah, from Adam to Abraham . . .), 2,000 years the Torah flourished, and the next 2,000 years is the Messianic era (He should have come within that period . . . He should have come at the beginning of the last 2,000 years; the delay is due to our sins)” (emphasis added; ironically, Messiah did come the first time at the beginning of the last 2,000 years because of our sins).

Rabbi Ketina said in Gemara, a commentary on the Talmud, “The world endures six thousand years and one thousand it shall be laid waste (that is, the enemies of God shall be destroyed), whereof it is said, ‘The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.’ As out of seven years every seventh (is a) year of remission, so out of the seven thousand years of the world, the seventh millennium shall be the millennial years of remission, that God alone may be exalted in that day.”

The Reason: Biblical History and the Sabbath Principle

The above beliefs of the early Christian and Jewish writers were based on biblical history. While scholars may debate and try to explain or deny it, it is a fact that biblical chronology describes about 6,000 years from Adam and Eve to the year A.D. 2000. Because of God’s own emphasis on the sabbath, both literally and spiritually, and since a thousand years to the Lord is as a day (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8), ancient and modern scholars see the coming seventh millennium as the Sabbath Millennium, with many prophetic implications; namely, the return of the Lord and His 1,000-year reign on the earth. God’s labor of creation took six days, followed by a day of rest. His sabbath commandment to Israel was “to keep it holy.” Will His creative work with humanity, and humanity’s labor, likewise take six (thousand-year) days, with the seventh being one of divinely provided rest and holiness, with God present and exalted on the earth? This is certainly not conclusive, but it is intriguing, especially taken with all the other evidence.

Evidence from Israel: a Key Event in this Century

We now know a fact experientially that those early thinkers and writers only knew by faith. And if, like us, they could experience it, they would probably be doubly ecstatic. That fact is this: After almost 2,000 years of dispersion and according to many prophecies, the nation of Israel has been reestablished only in this present century. Never in history has a nation been destroyed and the survivors scattered around the world, then have their nation later restored, especially after nearly 2,000 years. In itself, the nation of Israel is a modern-day miracle. And the Bible seems clear–at Christ’s return, Israel will be intact as a nation, something impossible until the last half of this century! (Opinion: as Satan used Herod to kill all the Jewish babies to try to thwart Christ’s first mission, Satan used Hitler to try to kill all the Jews to prevent Israel’s rebirth, a prerequisite to Christ’s return.)

Israel is “God’s time clock.” Jesus Himself expressed such a view. He spoke prophetically of Israel and the future, saying that Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Jews scattered, which actually happened 40 years later in A.D. 70. He said Jerusalem would be trampled down by Gentiles “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). He also told a parable of the “fig tree,” thought to represent the nation of Israel. He said when it begins to sprout, “you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29-31), and that “this generation (the one that sees the signs) will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (v. 32).

The fig tree, whether just Israel or all the signs together, began to sprout in the last half of this century. Israel was reestablished in 1948. And in the miraculous 1967 Six-Day War, Israel recaptured Jerusalem from “the Gentiles,” fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy about “the times of the Gentiles” now being complete. (While world data are not available, it is a known fact that in the number one Gentile nation, America, there has been in a precipitous cultural and spiritual decline precisely since–yes, the 1960s. For example, a Heritage Foundation study of 19 leading cultural indicators concluded that, “Over the past three decades we have experienced substantial social regression.”)

Evidence from the Prophet Daniel

Daniel, chapters 9-12, hold keys to the timing of the Lord’s return. In about 550 B.C., Daniel prophesied the time of both Christ’s first and second coming, and it can be demonstrated how the prophecy was accurately fulfilled at His first coming. It seems obvious that the passage also would contain the key to the timing of His Second Coming. However, the angel Gabriel, who gave Daniel this information, said that the understanding of the timing of the second coming was “sealed” until the “time of the end”; in other words, it could not be understood until this special period of history. In addition to other clues, Gabriel gave two key conditions that would prevail at that time: “travel and education (knowledge) shall be vastly increased” (chapter 12, verse 5, Living Bible).

Travel: World travel, and even interstate travel, was minimal until this century. And it was not until the middle of this century that travel literally exploded. The main factor was the advent of the jet aircraft engine — which was first used on a commercial airliner in the 1950s! Almost everyone, at least in advanced societies it seems, is now traveling. Without a doubt, travel has “vastly increased” since the 1950s.

Education: Education and knowledge also exploded in this century. >From the time of Christ until 1900, it is estimated that man’s knowledge doubled. In just the next 50 years, from 1900 to 1950, it doubled again. Then it began an extremely rapid doubling; first every seven years, then every two years in the 1960’s. It appears that the 1950’s marked the time in history when knowledge and education “vastly increased” and literally began exploding.

This means that according to Daniel, sometime about 1948 when Israel was reborn, or at least soon thereafter in the 1950s, God unsealed, or is now unsealing, the vision of Daniel to give us understanding of the time of Christ’s soon return.

Evidence from Divine Time Cycles

Nothing God says or does is without meaning. In the Bible, He makes a fascinating use of numbers, some of which are repeated intervals, such as 3, 7, 40 and 70. Such improbable patterns are God’s authentication that He alone is in control of history, and not random, chance forces.

The Third-day Restoration. There are several instances of God’s restoration occurring on the third day, including Jonah’s deliverance from the great fish and, most notably, the Lord’s resurrection from the tomb. Could a third-day prophecy by Hosea about the nation of Israel speak of A.D. 2000? “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6:2). As Jesus prophesied, Israel was destroyed and the Jews scattered in A.D. 70. Now after two “days” (thousand-year periods), Israel has been “revived” in this century (in the Old Testament, a partial day was considered a day). If this was a fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy, then we can expect Israel’s full “restoration” and life in the presence of their Messiah in the “third day” or on or about A.D. 2000.

The Five-year Cycle. God told the ancient Hebrews not to harvest from fruit trees until the fifth year after planting (Leviticus 19:23). If this is a prophetic symbolism, God “planted” Israel (the fig tree) with Abraham about 2000 B.C. The fifth year, or fifth thousand-year period, would begin on or about A.D. 2000. Is this when the fruit of God’s planting and cultivating from “Abraham’s seed” will come to harvest, in the Millennial Kingdom?

The Seven-year Cycle. Under Hebrew law a servant was to serve six years and then be set free in the seventh year without paying anything (Exodus 21:2). Is this a shadow of creation itself being set free from its bondage of decay after the sixth millennium, with debts (sin) cancelled for those who have placed their faith in the Messiah? Other examples exist of God dealing with His people redemptively where the number seven is significant.

The 70th “Year of Jubilee.” Upon entering the Promised Land 3,500 years ago, God told the Israelites to observe a “Year of Jubilee” every 50 years. On or near the year A.D. 2000 will mark the exact 70th Year of Jubilee in history, plus it will mark 40 Jubilees from the one in which Jesus began His ministry, which itself was the 30th Year of Jubilee since its inception–in the same year when Jesus was believed to have been age 30. The Year of Jubilee was the year of restoration, proclamation of liberty and release from bondage as commanded by God in Leviticus 25: “Count seven sabbaths of years–seven times seven years–so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of 49 years . . .” as the passage begins. Will the 70th Jubilee bring a full restoration and, at last, the release and liberty of God’s people from this present bondage and suffering and entry into the Promised Land of the Millennial Kingdom?

Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years. God gave the prophet Daniel a vision of 70 weeks of years (7+62+1 X 7 = 490 years) into the future (Daniel 9:24-26), including the timing of Christ’s coming. Many scholars believe that 69 of those weeks (483 years) have been fulfilled, or will be fulfilled in 1996 or 1997 (1947/48+49=1996/97), and that the 70th “week” remains to be fulfilled: a seven-year period to come in conjunction with Christ’s return. Will Daniel’s 70th week finally come with the 70th Year of Jubilee and the seventh millennium? A fitting culmination of prophecy!

Other Evidence

There are many other biblical signs that we are in the “last days” before the soon return of the Lord. Billy Graham has said that while some signs have appeared in the past, “this is the first time in human history that all the signs are converging.”

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul describes the increased degeneracy of humanity in the “last days,” something we are experiencing today. (See reference to the recent Heritage Foundation study above.) As just one example, in the past 30 years violent crime in the U.S. has shown an increase of an astonishing 500 percent! Asked what he foresaw as the terminus of civilization, T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) envisioned people shooting each other at random, only a recent, now widespread phenomenon.

There is an explosion of cults and the occult, as well as false Christs (1 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 24:24). And Jesus said that at His return it would be “as in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37), when the earth was corrupt and filled with violence (Genesis 6:11). He warned of increased famines and ethnic wars, like birth pangs, with increasing intensity. Today, one of six people on earth suffer from hunger, and a study of wars since 500 B.C. shows a recent, dramatic increase. Of 82 world conflicts between 1990 and 1995, all but three have been civil or ethinc.

Also like increasing birth pangs, Jesus also said there would be earthquakes in various places. From official records, scholars have researched the frequency of earthquakes and report an astonishing increase since — yes, just the middle of this century, when Israel was reborn and all the other signs began. There averaged only 2.3 per decade above Richter 6.0 before the 1950s; in the 1950s, there were 9; the 1960s, 13; the 1970s, 51; the 1980s, 86! And already in the 1990s there have been more than 100, with tens of thousands dead in various parts of the world, including Iran, Indonesia, Japan, India and Russia.

The increased centralization of world financial and political power into a “New World Order” is a prelude to the soon-coming anti-Christ, who will deceive most of the world (Daniel 7-12; Matthew 24:15; Revelation 13).

Paul also says that in the last days there will be those with “a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5), a condition even in many Christian churches today where the power of the Holy Spirit is not only denied, even His mention is rare and often discouraged, while anti- Christian practices are encouraged, all in the name of “religion.”

The Good News. God also says that in the last days, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28). People are coming to faith in Jesus Christ all over the world in record numbers. Some individual evangelical organizations are seeing millions of conversions. There is a great outpouring in the former Soviet Union, in China and elsewhere. Joel’s prophecy began to be fulfilled at Pentecost, nearly 2,000 years ago, but it will greatly intensify just before the return of the Lord. We are already seeing it.

The Great Commission Fulfilled. Jesus tells us: “This gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). We are near that time. Hundreds of missions organizations are rapidly closing on that goal by the year 2000. Just one of them, Campus Crusade for Christ, working with thousands of churches and other groups plans to help fulfill the Great Commission by December 31, 2000. They already have well over 100,000 staff and volunteers in 165 countries in areas covering 98 percent of the world’s population, plus they are working with literally hundreds of other organizations.

Angel Visits and Announcements. Confirming Scripture, there are verified angel visitations saying that Jesus is coming “very, very soon.” (For free report, see end of article.)

Internal Witness of the Spirit. God promised that His Spirit would indwell His people and would “guide you into all truth….and declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Millions of people worldwide who profess receiving Christ and the infilling of His Spirit report an inner witness and expectancy of the Lord’s soon return. Of course, this factor must always be carefully weighed against Scripture — but as we see, this is a test it seems to pass.

Can We Know When?

Can we know when the Lord Jesus Christ will return? Are we supposed to know? Out of curiosity, I frequently ask people, “When do you think Christ will return?” The typical response is, “Soon maybe, but we are not supposed to know when, or even to speculate. He will come ‘as a thief in the night.'” For several reasons, based on Scripture, I am surprised at this response by many otherwise knowledgeable Christians.

First, Jesus did clearly say that no one will know the “day or the hour” of His return. However, a day is a pretty small slice of time — only 24 hours. That restriction is understandable because there are 24 time zones on the earth and, because of the International Dateline, at any one time the people on the earth are in two different days!

Second, the “thief in the night” passage refers to unbelievers (1 Thessalonians 5:4). But in the very same passage Paul tells believers, “You are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief” (emphasis supplied). In other words, if we are trusting in Christ and looking for His coming, even the very day does not have to surprise us.

Third, a large percentage of the Bible is predictive prophecy about the Second Coming. God went to a lot of trouble to document all this information on our behalf. Was all that to keep it a big secret from us? Or did he give it that His people, especially seekers, might understand? The latter seems more reasonable.

Fourth, at the time of Jesus’ first coming certain ones knew the prophecies and understood the times. And Jesus rebuked those who did not understand the signs of the times in His day (Matthew 16:3). “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3).

Fifth, it is true that when His disciples asked Him about the kingdom being restored, Jesus did tell them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7). However, he was speaking specifically to His disciples who were living almost 2,000 years ago and who would not be alive when Daniel’s vision would be “unsealed,” as we have apparently seen in our generation (see above).

It seems clear that God actually does want us to seek and know at least the general period when Christ will return, except for a specific 24-hour period, and even then we may know so accurately that even the day will “not surprise” us, as Paul said.

Conclusion

Based on all the above, it can be concluded that sometime near the end of this millennium will probably see the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. His return may actually be in the year A.D. 2000. On the other hand, due to calendar and dating errors, it could be later. But — it could also be sooner!


Readers are permitted and encouraged to copy and freely share this article with others. For a free copy of an article documenting recent angel visits, send self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to

Jim Bramlett 10637 Crystal Springs Ct. Orlando, FL 32825.

Specify “Angel report.” God bless you.

Revised 2/96


E-Mail comments or questions to Jim Bramlett aka bramlett@magicnet.net

From the Christian Research Ministries Home Page at http://home.cwnet.com:80/crm/


One Comment from the days before spam:

anton wrote:
It was interesting. The dates and calendar that people use may be wrong but one thing is right for sure; the Morning of the New Day has come. As we know the morning for some people start at 3 am or 4 am. For some others start at 5 am or 6 am and for others 7 am or 8 am.
The question is that when the Sun will show in the Horizon? When his Light will light us?
Those who wake up early see the Light coming in the Horizon but those who sleep late can not even see the Sun up in the sky. They will even hate his presence, the Light Coming.
We live in the year 2004 AD and this means that the Morning of the New Day has started.
The Sun has return. If we dont see it that means that we are all sleeping.In our dream we pray into our sleep for the Sun’s return. That is funny because the Sun has returned and his Light is Shining. Those who sleep, love the Darkness; they dont like the brightness of the Sun’s Light.

alt.worship on the edge

<– back to the one true autobahn

i stole these words from my friend Mark, who had to go all the way to europe to think of them:

Alt.worship doesn’t, in this model, include groups that meet only to satisfy their members, or churches that attempt to overwrite statement above on pages that are already full of descriptions of what church should look like. It is the willingness, and ability, to start with a clean sheet of paper and began to shape the values and principles that are important to following Christ in the emerging culture that is the mark of truly alternative churches. It is these churches we need to see more of in New Zealand. Whether or not they subscribe to liquid, portfolio, seeker friendly, transitioned, networked, new paradigm, cafŽ, alternative, or some other church model is not important. Nor does it matter in what country or continent the church is located. I believe the future lies in the ability of groups to hang out and on the edge of chaos. To surf this edge for the Kingdom of God.

–> move on to god in the margins
–> or my own equally intellectual postmodern adventure

god in the margins

<– back to alt.worship on the edge

my friend Mike went to listen to his friend Elizabeth speak, and she got him thinking about the margins:

Elizabeth delivered the first of her Burns lectures. It was superb, I thought. She started with recounting the story of Nazi Germany, and its twin movements to expand into surrounding territory and to exterminate all dissent internally. Noting this was a Christian country, she then raised the question of whether this drive for totalising power was not something that has constantly accompanied Christianity. The main point of her lecture was that God must become more marginal – not in the sense of being less important, but in being permanently displaced to the margins of life. She spoke of ‘unauthorised places of divinity’ – God turning up in the broken places, not as an exception, but as a norm. I liked it a lot – a pretty damning critique of the church, but recognising something buried in the Christ-tradition which still provides hope. She was wonderfully synthetic, bringing together a lot of diverse theological and historical strands.


my own utopian dream

is for everyone to think of themselves as their own minority, all working to protect the next most marginalised…

–> move on to the car in the field
–> or a cynical thing i said one dark day

C.S.Lewis on the True Myth

<– back to the grief

C.S.Lewis, saying just what i would have liked to say about the old autonomous collective mantra of the True Myth.

‘I was by now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myths. They had not the mythical taste. And yet the very matter which they set down in their artless, historical fashion – those narrow, unattractive Jews, too blind to the mythical wealth of the Pagan world around them – was precisely the matter of the great myths. If ever a myth had become fact, had been incarnated, it would be just like this. And nothing else in all literature was just like this. Myths were like it in one way. Histories were like it in another. But nothing was simply like it. And no person was like the Person it depicted; as real, as recognisable, through all that depth of time, as Plato’s Socrates or Boswell’s Johnson (ten times more so that Eckermann’s Goeth or Lockhart’s Scott), yet also numinous, lit by a light from beyond the world, a god. But if a god – we are no longer polytheists – then not a god, but God. Here and here only in all time the myth must have become fact; the Word, flesh; God, Man. This is not ‘a religion’, nor ‘a philosophy’. It is the summing up and actuality of all of them.’

Surprised by Joy, 1955, [p.188-189]

–> Stephen King knows about fiction
or, other quotes about the scriptures

Contemplative Consumption

<– back to the light at the end of the tunnel

Contemplation and quiet V. Consumption and community

I find myself travelling two somewhat incompatible roads. one path is the way of long meals and late-night talking, cafes and rituals and relationships. the other is the way of consuming less, eating less, saying less, and living more in the moment. I had a few close shaves with monks along the journey – alan in oxford was helped through his first terrible year by a benedictine named bernard; lucinda lives just over the hill from a trappist monastery (and i read some of henri nouen’s book about the year he spent in one); the nuns speeding down the narrow croatian streets on their bicycles, veils streaming behind them – and the public parking spaces where there was no park for the disabled, but there was one for the priest; and various other close encounters, at greenbelt, in verona, in paris… anyway, i’m wondering how those who commit themselves to contemplative consumption move their relationships along. it’s one of my big questions since staying with so many people in so many countries, and being on the receiving end of so much good hospitality.

–> on to andrew’s barefoot manifesto
or Stephen King’s concept of the Creative Sleep

Andrew Lorien oct 01

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

<– back to a true story
or a parable

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

at the end of 1999, just before the year 2000 when everything went wrong, Cathy wrote these words for The Prodigal Project, about church as we knew it:


I have noticed that some people have moved their churches into cafés. I have noticed that some people have hacked out the pews and brought in little tables and chairs. I have noticed that the leader may remain seated when he speaks, and the musicians may have cups of coffee next to their guitars. I have noticed that sometimes we change the way our church looks, but I wonder if we have changed the way the church actually is. Have we changed the way we are being church together or just the way we sit together?

What are some of the base premises on which our worshipping communities are built? What do we value? What informs the look that a passing participant might see/find?

Informality, intimacy, realness, safeness, the genuine, the low-tech, the casual… the lives revealed and lived together. Food, drink, conversations. Coffee, cake, yarning. Tears, laughter, jokes, hugs, applause. Self expression: ideas, images, sounds, voices, movement. Grace – what can it mean? What are the implications of saying that all are welcome?

In the context of meal, of friends and wine and dreams, let us wipe the slate clean of our presuppositions and begin to ask some basic questions about the gathering of the people.

….

It’s about asking questions, without presupposing the answers. Asking basic questions. Stripping back, rather than building up or adding on. Reflecting on what we have done in the past. Considering what we find meaningful now.

Not just asking – Do we need to make any changes to the physical environment of the church? but, “Do we want to meet in the church building? Would another venue be more appropriate? Where? and Why?”

….

“How do we become a community, create a gathering, which is safe, real, intimate, authentic? How do we recognize our own pasts, our current issues and needs, the culture all around us, and where God is already at work in our lives?”


since 2000, after all the hospitals and prisons and breakdowns, we’ve found ourselves a saying: “If it’s not as good as dinner, I’m not interested.”
so, after all the years of trying to integrate a meal into our church gathering, we’ve given up and made meals our church. after redesigning our churches so they were more like cafes, we’ve realised that the cafe can be our church. after running ourselves ragged trying to loosen the controls of the prayer book and the old liturgies, we’ve abandoned ourselves to the chaos of true community.
it’s a big commitment, cooking three courses a couple of times a week – but still easier than organising a whole service and setting up all those chairs, and at the end you know the spirit was with you. it’s hard to get any work done if you’re prepared to drop anything, day or night, to spend a couple of hours hanging out in a cafe – but we know more about each other’s lives than we ever learnt over cups of tea on sunday night.

and it’s good, it’s very good.

we still help host an event, an exhibition, a jamm, here or there (eight o’clock sharp and free for all among them, and they’re founded on the same understandings of love and grace, and the hope that christ will commune with any two or three who gather in his name.
but we’ve discovered that the old rhetoric – all christians are saints, all believers are priests, every meal can be the eucharist, miracles happen every day – makes even more sense on the outside. all ARE welcome. we ARE forgiven, as we have forgiven others. we DO go in peace.
informality, food, coffee, tears, laughter – all the things we longed for, with the integrity we struggled to find.
it’s safe, real, intimate, authentic, and best of all, sustainable. Because it’s not an institution, there’s nothing to protect except each other; there’s nothing to lose except the morning; there’s no commitment except to be friends with whoever needs a friend.

i could go on and on.

Andrew Lorien June 03

thanks to Garth Watson for asking
–> move on to the pain of knowing
or my epicurean dilemma

James K Baxter on the shadow of the artist

<– Stephen King said a similar thing

James K Baxter on the shadow of the artist (after recieving the burns fellowship)

‘In a sense the Fellowship was awarded to the wrong man: my shadow, my enemy, my monster: the public person who would destroy if he could whatever gifts I possess. Art, the mainstay of culture, is not bred by culture but by its opposite: that level of hardship or awareness of moral chaos where the soul is too destitute to be able to lie to itself. Thus the Fellowship should have been awarded, if at all, not to me – a family man, teetotal, moderately pious, not offensive to sight or smell, able to say the right thing in a drawing-room – but to my collaborator, my schizophrenic twin, who has already provided me with poems… … He has done the suffering and I have done the writing. Occasionally I visit the cellblock in the basement of my mind where he still lives, incorrigible, ineducable, unemployable; and through the bars he will pass me a message written on the back of a tobacco packet.’

–> something about that makes me think about the pain of knowing
or move on to contemplative consumption

a new dark ages?

I believe we are moving towards a new dark ages. But my dark ages is much more profound than simply an economic power relationship between the lords and the serfs. The Pax Americana will eventually collapse – the people they have oppressed will revolt, and the powers they have supported will collapse. As with the other dark ages, there will be a fragmentation of political, religious, and financial power – corporate and religious leaders will claim more and more territory, but this territory will overlap so much that they will be powerless. Information will become less centralised, and less authoritative. Various scientific and religious worldviews will compete for acceptance until noone knows what to believe.

But I don’t think any of this is going to be bad.
I look forward to a new ‘dark ages’.
The last ones finished when the church finally became powerful enough to influence the kings, and the kings finally controlled enough of Europe to want to dominate even further, and the intellectuals decided to forget the last thousand years and revive the greek and roman arts. They called it the ‘dark ages’ because they wanted to believe that nothing worth thinking about had happened since Rome fell. We call it the dark ages because the universities and kingdoms and monasteries were all independent, so documents were not copied or sorted or catalogued or carefully kept, which makes it very hard for us to work out who really lived where, or what anyone really thought.

I don’t think the roman empire was that much fun for anyone who wasn’t a roman citizen. I don’t think the holy wars or the hundred years war were very progressive (the stability and political structures which ended the dark ages facilitated the crusades). I don’t think it was worth replacing the independent Benedictine monasteries with the hierarchical Franciscan and Dominican orders. I don’t think the power and control of the Roman orthodoxy, and the final schism between the eastern and western churches, was better than the local forms of worship, no matter how much of the old religions they included.

And, this time around, I don’t think that a reduction in the US-British ‘peacekeeping’ effort will be much loss to those living in turmoil. I don’t think that the collapse of the big Christian denominations will make much difference to those seeking the way of God. I don’t think a global corporate feudalism will be any worse than the current autocracy of the west. If the global village fractures and disintegrates into millions of exclusive subcultures, we might have to give up intel and coke and the one holy catholic church and the cia, but i won’t miss any of them. If science stops progressing, travel becomes more difficult, and people have to manage with local goods and services, it might just make it harder to make money and easier to make friends. I think that if our cities started shrinking again, and our economy became more agrarian, we might rediscover the earth and the air – and the sunrise and the full moon.

I’ve just found a great piece at mindfully.org. Lots of great stuff about the rise and fall of Rome, followed by this:

There are, no doubt, lessons here for the contemporary reader. The changing character of the native population, brought about through unremarked pressures on porous borders; the creation of an increasingly unwieldy and rigid bureaucracy, whose own survival becomes its overriding goal; the despising of the military and the avoidance of its service by established families, while its offices present unprecedented opportunity for marginal men to whom its ranks had once been closed; the lip service paid to values long dead; the pretense that we still are what we once were; the increasing concentrations of the populace into richer and poorer by way of a corrupt tax system, and the desperation that inevitably follows; the aggrandizement of executive power at the expense of the legislature; ineffectual legislation promulgated with great show; the moral vocation of the man at the top to maintain order at all costs, while growing blind to the cruel dilemmas of ordinary life— these are all themes with which our world is familiar, nor are they the God-given property of any party or political point of view, even though we often act as if they were. At least, the emperor could not heap his economic burdens on posterity by creating long-term public debt, for floating capital had not yet been conceptualized. The only kinds of wealth worth speaking of were the fruits of the earth.

And on his Be-Attitudes blog, Dave Andrews has written some excellent history about St Francis and St Clare, and Elizabeth of Many Castles, and what that means for Australia.

–> on to andrew’s research
or my similar thoughts on Christendom
Andrew Lorien 2002

the trouble with the cathedral

<– back to god on the margin

-----Original Message-----
 From: Andrew
 Sent: Thursday, 15 March 2001 11:31
 Subject: the trouble with the cathedral

i keep getting in trouble for wanting to burn down the dilapidated cathedral on the hill. pyromaniac that i am, i tend to think the quickest and safest way to get rid of it would be to get everyone up there one saturday night and torch the place. but i’ve finally realised why that’s a bad idea – because people still hang around in there, although bits of the plaster keep knocking them on the head, and there is a very real danger that one of the walls will come down and kill everyone. there are even a few people still swinging around the vaulted ceiling trying to plug the holes, and promoting new floors and better lighting as a way to revive it’s former glory. either they don’t see the irreparable structural damage, or they think that if enough people stood around inside they’d be able to hold the walls up. i know people who want to build a new one. get down to the quarry and the steelworks, cut some brand new stone, and start building on the next hill. but i don’t think a smaller, shinier copy of the old cathedral, in an inferior location, is worth having. if there’s going to be a new thing, i think it’s got to be on the old foundations. and if the only way to build on the old foundations is to wait for the old building to fall down (or be torn down by those inside it), then we’ll have to wait. so if we can’t build a new place, and we can’t burn down the old one, what will we do while we wait for it to collapse? we need some temporary accomodation. somewhere close to the old cathedral so that people can travel between the two. somewhere transitional, where people who need them can install a few fittings pillaged from the old place, but nothing’s too permanant. somewhere to grieve the desecration of the old cathedral, even prepare a funeral ritual for it, and to begin to consider the shape of the new.

 

RENOVATORS DELIGHT

Major Christian denomination for sale to highest bidder.

Great location in respectable suburb with quiet neighbours.

Many original Gothic features, enhanced by extensive renovations mid-century. Lots of work for the handyman, heaps of potential for modernisation and improvement.

Deceased estate, must be sold.

inspect Sundays, 9-10am

 

–> move on to the parable of the car in the field
or read something by Steve Collins

Andrew’s parable of a local church

<– back to Andrew’s personal history of Plunge
or the parable of the car

There once lived a people who needed a secure city in which to live, where they could grow and flourish and not be killed by wild animals. They asked their king for protection, and he promised them security for as long as they remained under his roof. He gave them lots of things, but every night he sent his men to steal the things back. And when from time to time the wild animals crept into the city and attacked the people, the king sent advisors to give advice, and he sent promises of help and improved security, but he never actually did anything. So the day came when the people had to decide whether to stay under the king’s protection or to take their chances in the desert, and some of the people said “let us stay here, because the king has promised to help, and he sometimes gives us things, and in the city there are laws which require the gates be locked at night and the walls be kept in repair, which we can appeal to if we are threatened”, but others of the people said “but the help the king promises never comes, and the things he gives he steals back again, and we cannot appeal to his laws because he doesn’t abide by them himself.”

next, the mongrel dog of the church
or, an arrangement the emerging churches might want to employ

i get regular complaints about this page, more than any other thing i’ve written, but always second hand. this story is an allegory i wrote long ago about a situation which is no more. if you feel like i’m throwing rocks at you now, you’re wrong. if you feel like i’m throwing rocks at a part of your history, well i probably am. please email me personally if you have any questions.

why people are more advanced than dogs

<– back to the parable of the car in the field
or another dog metaphor

an idea came to me the other day. two ideas i’ve liked for years, which have finally come together as they always should have.

one is that thing about the cows in the field, and how the field can be defined by the fence that holds them in, or the well that keeps them from straying, the other is something i’ve thought for a long time about dogs – that they must think our toilets are very holy places. dogs spend a lot of their free time pissing out the borders of their territory, but we build special shrines, small and completely enclosed, in the centre of our houses, which the inhabitants of the house regularly mark with their scent.

now, finally, it has occurred to me that this is proof that our religion is more advanced than dogs’.

if only that was true.

–> move on to burning down the cathedral
or a random thing about animals

by andrew 6 July 2002

5Q4 Garth -> Andrew

What’s all this then?

There’s a meme spreading through the blogging community called 5Q4. Someone (garth) asks someone else (andrew) five questions. These questions are asked on the first persons site/blog, and the questionee answers on their own site. Then the questionee (andrew) asks questions to five more people, and the idea (and the links) spread.

I think something has been lost in the translation, and it should probably be four people, or why wouldn’t it be called 5Q5? but 5q4.com doesn’t ever seem to have had any content, and these are the rules i got, and that’s the explanation you’re getting.

Garth has asked me five questions i have finally answered them. if you want me to ask you five questions, add a comment to the bottom of this page

Q1: Can you describe your church/gathering/community. From what I remember you were not attached to the local denominational church. What are the values, the goals and practice?

A: We have a saying: “If it’s not as good as dinner, i’m not interested”. My gathering is the dinner table, my community is, well, my community. That puts a lot of weight on the quality of your meals, your environment, your friends, your conversation. But as long as we can keep our table honest, open, and generous, i won’t have to worry about the politics that come with organised community every again. The last three churches I attached myself to were emerging / alternate / fresh / new / cafe style churches (depending on what sort of christian books you read). They were all very significant to me, and two of them i dreamed would last forever, but a deep community is a fragile community, and they don’t last forever. The longer i live, the simpler my values and goals become – to love, to be generous, to show hospitality, to make things better if i can, or at least not to make things worse. I don’t need any more money, I have some good friends (that’s a quote from you, Garth), and so I try to spend my days, as much as possible, communing with my friends. Which looks a lot like art, music, long meals, and quite a bit of walking.


Q2: You have a written a book with an accompanying CD which I know nothing about apart from the blurb on your page. I was going to ask “What do you see as the biggest challenge for the church, and are they/we attempting to address it?” but rather can you give us an insight into the “Prodigal Project” which I assume covers this question?

A: I like your second question much better than your first one. Thanks. The Prodigal Project is a book which comes with a CD-ROM (i built the CD, and did a lot of support for the book, but i didn’t actually write any words). We like to think of it as the return of the illustrated manuscript. It is a portrait, a dream, and a manifesto, of the movement known as “alternative worship” which grew up during the 90’s in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. We spent a year collecting stories, photos, images, artworks, songs, and movies from worship services in all three countries, and Mike, Mark and Cathy wrote of their theology, their hope, and their experiences as instigators of such communities. I still believe that we are in transitional times, that postmodernism will turn out to be presomethingelse, and that the experimental communities on the fringes of the mainstream church will eventually find a path to a way of being church for another century. But if it isn’t as good as dinner, I don’t think i’ll bother.


Q3: An ideal summer getaway for you would be spent where and why?

A: Well, when i get those phone calls from India offering me a special discount on a luxury resort somewhere, i ask them why i would want to stay at a luxury resort when i would have a much better time visiting a friend. Summer, eh? It’s about time i went to see my friend Tony in Cairns. Tony is one of my oldest friends, and i visited him about five years in a row, but i’ve skipped a few years now. He’s bought a boat since i was last there. and got a girl. i think it’s time. probably not high summer, but late in our spring, just before the wet season kicks in…


Q4: What one message would you want readers of your site to leave with?

A: Gee, i don’t think there is an answer to that. Nope. Some people write songs and play them in pubs or at parties, some people draw pictures and show them or give them to friends, i write computer code and put it on the internet. It’s my art form really, to be taken at face value. you might learn something about me, you might discover dark secrets i have carried from my past, you might read something that has inspired me or play with one of the animations i have been inspired to create. If there is a message, it’s like the letter a friend of mine got from his five year old daughter while he was on holidays – “dear daddy, please read my letter, love from tahn”


Q5: I was interested to read that you are a customs officer who has a degree in philosopy and in your spare time re-builds computers and has fluency in several programming languages. Can you think of a philosopher that has been influenced the way you think and why?

…………Which reminds me of a great joke I heard early last year

Descartes walks into a McDonalds and orders a Hamburger. The cashier asks, “Would you like fries with that?”To which Descartes replies, “No, I think not,” and POOF! ………He disappears!

A: Ah yes, and on the same day the dalai llama walked into a different hamburger shop and said “make me one with everything.”

a philosopher.David Dockrill. he was a professor at uni. a beautiful man. i founded a fan club, “the dr dave groupies”, which peaked at four members. he taught me that you can’t philosophise sitting down (that is, if you don’t do something you probably don’t really believe what you’ve said). that profound words are best spoken softly. that the totalitarianism of youth (you get a lot of it in philosophy 101) should be treated with respect, and can mature into wisdom. that old friends are valuable and that you can keep a good idea brewing for a long time. if you want a famous philosopher, it could be Emmanuel Levinas. i think his ideas have changed my life more than any other ideas which haven’t come from someone i actually know.

The end.

If anyone actually stumbles on this page and wants me to ask them some questions, i’ll post them here.

things we learn from Run Lola Run

<– back to things you know

Things we learn from Run Lola Run:

  • love conquors death
  • gambling can solve all your problems
  • if you scream loud enough, people will notice
  • violence gets you in trouble
  • you’ve got to try
  • never say never
  • slowing down just a tiny bit might make all the difference.

Andrew Lorien

–> well i don’t know, but i like to compare this with war and peace

Stephen King’s idea of the creative sleep

what Stephen King says about the creative sleep

The creative process is like sleeping. It requires a calm, safe place, with no distractions or interruptions. Somewhere comfortable, warm, and quiet. And if you want to be any good at it, it’s best to go there about the same time every day, and stay for a similar amount of time (he says if you’re just new to writing, he’ll allow you a day’s rest a week – but if you’re serious… well, an interviewer once asked him whether he wrote every single day, and he said “yes, except for christmas day, thanksgiving, and my birthday” – but he lied: he usually writes on all those days). You have to go there, allow the rest of your mind to fall away, and let the dreams flow. If you do it regularly enough and for long enough, eventually your muse will get to know where to find you.

–> on to what Stephen King taught me about fiction
–> or a story about the fountain of youth

Andrew Lorien June 01

Postmodernism and the New Dark Ages

<– back to the one true autobahn

A thought i once had for the Postmodern-Christian mailing list, which i left because the good people were too quiet

—–Original Message—–
From: Andrew Lorien
Sent: Monday, 21 May 2001 12:08
Subject: Postmodern Adventure in Biblical Studies
i disagree with the thrust of the article below.
I don’t think the postmodern age is now dawning – i think postmodernism is the dawn of another age. i think the post-modern is also the pre-something else, which we will be able to name when it gets lighter. I think it IS the “overturning”, and the “self-conscious evaluation and critical assessment” of a once-dominant set of values; it IS an adventure, and an exposition of the self-deceptions we had taken for granted. This guy, though, has i think made the very common assumption that this is where we are going to stay. We’re Re-evaluating things. We’re doing Tolerance and Relativism. We’re entertaining Doubt, and investigating Other Paradigms. It’s all very exciting, yes, but it’s exciting because it’s in flux. Things haven’t changed, they’re changing.

But humans aren’t much good at all this live and let live, freedom and equality nd tolerance thing. It never lasts. For the moment, while everything is up in the air, we have no choice (as david says below, “it is unavoidable”). We can and must let everyone own their own thoughts, and say their own piece, if only because (as stressed almost daily on this list), we can’t all agree on the values or authorities we subject ourselves to.

but for all the talk of re-appraisal and re-evaluation, noone seems to really expect that there will be an end. Which there will. eventually, as a culture (or a mess of sub-cultures) we will finish evaluating, and settle quietly down to discover the implications of what we’ve come up with (possibly after the war to decide who’s appraisal wins). This surprises me a lot. There are a few people (my favourite is Umberto Eco), who can put some shape to the culture which will be born out of the death of modernism, but most people are running so hard to keep up (or to escape the Death), that they don’t have a thought for where they’re going. Let us hope we run well, because if we can’t see where we’re going we might easily trip.

andrew

—–Original Message—–
Sent: Saturday, 19 May 2001 18:25
Subject: Postmodern Adventure in Biblical Studies
THE POSTMODERN ADVENTURE IN BIBLICAL STUDIES
David J.A. Clines
University of Sheffield

The postmodern is the name of the age that is now dawning. It is not the kingdom of heaven, but neither is it the dominion of Belial. It is the moment to which the modern has been tending, the outcome of the Enlightenment project initiated by Renaissance and Reformation. It is the overturning of the values in which we all have been educated, and yet, in another light, it is nothing but the self-conscious evaluation and critical assessment of those values. It is the spirit of the age, yet it is parasitic upon the past. If we are the modern — in our formation, our education and our shared quest for truth and knowledge — , then the postmodern is nothing other than ourselves sceptical about ourselves, ourselves not taking ourselves for granted-which is to say, the modern conscious of itself.

In a word, the postmodern is the quizzical re-evaluation of the standards and assumptions of traditional intellectual enquiry and scholarship. In biblical studies, it is, as Nietzsche would have put it, the re-evaluation of all values-not so as to negate all values but so as to expose the partiality and self-deceptions in the values we have come to take for granted. It is an adventure for us in biblical studies because we do not know where it will take us. It is an adventure because it is risky. But it is also an adventure because it is adventitious-that is, because the moment is ripe, because it is unavoidable, because it is the next step in our exploration of what it means to be humans, to be intellectuals, and to be students of the biblical texts.
from the author’s homepage

–> move on to the car in the field

DEED OF SETTLEMENT between The Church and The Emerging Church

<– back to the parable of the car in the field

DEED OF SETTLEMENT

BETWEEN

The conglomeration of churches of the mainstream variety of several and various locations in the State of Certainty (“The Church”)

AND

The communities of alternative worship, small fire, new worship, cafe style church, fringe, edge, and fresh worship, liquid church of several and various locations in the State of Confusion (hereafter collectively referred to as “The Emerging Church”)

BACKGROUND

  1. The Church stands possessed of a large number of assets including, but not limited to, spiritual gifts, (cults of) personalities, real property, intellectual property and incorporeal property.
  2. The Emerging Church are experimental fringe communities formed as a result of or in opposition to the Church.
  3. The Emerging Church as a direct descendant of the Church and in consideration of the generally very hard time through which they are put by the Church from time to time, asserts a right of inheritance over the estate of The Church.
  4. The Church and the Emerging Church have been in dispute as to the distribution of assets between the Church and the Emerging Church.
  5. The Church and the Emerging Church have reached agreement as to the distribution of the assets of the Church as composed from time to time and wheresoever situate and desire to reduce that agreement to writing.

AND THE PARTIES AGREE AS FOLLOWS

  1. The Church shall grant the Emerging Church control over all the assets, properties (both real and corporeal), finances, and traditions wheresover situate, including (but not limited to) the right to sell your buildings, monuments and organs and to spend the money on technology and any other thing appropriately adaptable to the uses of the Emerging Church (“Toys”).
  2. The Church will retain title of said assets as trustees and on trust for the Emerging Church.
  3. The Church shall not act in any way to prejudice the assets of the Emerging Church.
  4. The Church shall retain its position as arbiter of morality and values but only for those within the Church. Nothing in relation to morality or values shall be binding on the Emerging Church.
  5. The Church will respect the position of the Emerging Church as experimental fringe communities until such time as you abdicate.
  6. As the last of your incumbent office holders is deceased, we will assume power of attorney over your aformentioned assets.
  7. From that time, We will be known to all and in all correspondence as “the church”
  8. We will inhabit the structures, both real and political, which you have left.

EXECUTION

Signed, Sealed and Delivered by the said #

in accordance with #

In the presence of _____________________(Signature of Witness) _____________________. _____________________ (Name of Witness) ___________________

 

–> next, the mongrel dog of the church

the mongrel of the church

<– back to the parable of the car in the field

Alternative worship groups are the mongrel dog of the established church. It’s a nice looking animal, and it promises to grow up into something good, but if it starts to look a bit dangerous, or someone thinks it might hurt the kids, they’ll have no hesitation in shooting it.

–> even harsher, andrew’s parable of a local church
–> or, an arrangement the emerging churches might want to employ

the grief

<– back to the parable of the autobahn
or my own disturbingly true story

The Grief, The Loss

…but in the meantime, i’ve been thinking about grief.

the grief of those who didn’t go to their church one sunday, or the one after, or the one after, and soon discovered that noone rang them up, and noone asked them why. what do they do? noone on the inside cares, noone on the outside understands why it matters.
the grief of the old people who have faithfully supported the church they were born into, only to find that when they most need it, there is noone to return that support – and they cannot even be buried in the place they have worshipped, since it’s been boarded up. how do they grieve the loss of the community of their youthful dreams?
and closest to home, the grief of those who have entertained dreams, but who have been rudely awakened – often by those same older, tireder people, who have not the energy to value or even understand the hopes which threaten to pull the rug out from under them, and start sanding the floors.

Maybe if everyone can come to terms with their loss, they can move on a bit and be friends again. and they can all relax their grip on the empty shell of the communities which were, and something new can be born. and once again there might be singing in the streets and laughing in the cafes.

i’ve had some other thoughts about the loss of Knowing, and the liminal (edgy) nature of the post-modern, which i’m convinced is also the pre-Dark age. i think we have to finish burning the modern before we will see what will come from it’s ashes. and a nod to something m scott peck said about the age of Anxiety — having discovered in the 17th century that theology (the Age of Faith) didn’t have all the answers, and in the 20th that science (the Age of Reason) didn’t either, we find ourselves in the Age of Anxiety, struggling with the loss of Knowing. [i’ve just found that he was quoting Auden, who’s alright too]

Andrew Lorien June 01

thanks to Mark Strom for asking

–> move on to what i believe about the truth
or the mourning of the first day

what Stephen King taught me about fiction

<– back to the creative sleep

What Stephen King taught me about fiction and the imagination

He says that writers of fiction are God’s Liars. Their primary duty is to tell us the truth about ourselves, by telling us lies about people who never existed. That seems a perfect description to me. and i like the way it contradicts the idea that all stories (all art) are out there waiting to be discovered. the lies which tell us the truth about ourselves are waiting for us to unearth them. One of the many forms of the Imagination is a gorilla. a mad gorilla, rampaging, dangerous, and totally out of control. We have a cage for it, to keep it from destroying our sanity with its primitive behaviour. Children’s cages are much more flimsy than ours, and while some adults have built safes with time delay locks which never open, others have their minds in such a mess that the gorilla comes and goes at will. Maybe, he says, the reason writers of fantasy often have such young faces is that they they have never taken the trouble to strengthen the cage. They are like the lazy pigs who built their house of straw – but instead of learning their lesson when it gets knocked down, the writer of fantasy simply rebuilds with straw again. In a crazy kind of way, he or she likes it when the wolf comes and blows it down, just as they like it when the gorilla escapes from its cage. When people read (or watch) horror stories, they agree to let the gorilla out of the cage for a while. Within the covers of a book, or the walls of the cinema, it’s safe to let him jump around and smash things, because when it’s over you can close the cage and go outside and get on with your rational, reasonable life. If it’s been a long time though, or you keep your imagination heavily sedated, the gorilla might have developed an institutional mentality, and it might have to be prodded out with a stick. Because you have to let him get a bit of exercise from time to time, or he will get sick or die. And that is a significant loss – even if you’re scared of him, he’s still a part of you. [it occurs to me that you could rewrite this in Jungian terms. i leave that as an exercise for the writer] He also told me that Coleridge was the author of the idea of ‘suspension of disbelief’. Coleridge describes it very well (poetically, even), but stephen king adds the idea that the muscles you use to keep your disbelief off the ground atrophy as you grow up. The younger you are the more disbelief you can suspend. Which means that as you ‘mature’, the things you disbelieve in have to be more and more believable, and the disbelieving has to be done in a carefully controlled environment. I haven’t really done him justice, but it’s all in On Writing.

–> James K Baxter said a very similar thing
–> on to contemplative consumption

Andrew Lorien June 01

The parable of the broken down car

<– back to god on the margin

My friends in traditional churches like the new scenery we are all travelling through, but i’ve got a feeling that the road turned a while ago, and the car kept going straight. “What’s that cow doing on the road?” “Why aren’t we moving any more?” It seems as though we’ve broken down in the middle of a paddock somewhere. So a few of us suggest that it might be time to get out and walk.MC Escher - tyre tracks But the others in the car (and especially the driver) cry “no! no!, stay in the car – if we stay together here we will surely get moving again soon. Anyway, it’s a car trip we’re on, you can’t just go walking out there in the fields. That cow might be dangerous. stay in the car!” We get out anyway, and head off, more or less randomly, hoping to find a track which might lead us back to the road. Because we think it was a road trip we came here for, and it doesn’t much matter which car you’re in. Because we don’t want to still be sitting there when the car has rusted away and it’s just a field of rust and sump oil we’re sitting in.

And the biggest surprise is that the paddocks and hills are alive with walkers, other people who have left their vehicles and taken their chances with the cows. Their stories are all the same, and as the groups merge and diverge, the promise is repeated: to send word as soon as we find the road. We’re walking. It’s not fast, but it’s interesting, and you meet a lot of people you never would have talked to if you stayed in the bus. And if we walk with care, and love, and the grace of god, we will meet again on the road. amen.

Andrew Lorien March 01
–> for more like this, read the one true autobahn
or move on to andrew’s wounded history of plunge

The one true autobahn

<– back to the parable of the car

my friend rick went to a church last week. It was that one in Darlinghurst, one of those famous churches where people go who are marginalised or dis-illusioned by other churches. One of those churches of whom the mainstream says “it’s a dead end street though, the last place people go before they leave the church [ie god] altogether.” rick liked it a lot. we had a bit of talking about it, and thought that if the problem is that people are walking up these dead end streets and never returning to the highway, maybe someone should go to the dead end and build a couple of laneways out of it. So instead of the church being like those short, dead-end, one-way superhighways they have in Albania, we can travel a more organic network of roads, roads which lead both in and out of the city, roads where we might actually meet other travellers and help each other decide which way to go, instead of rushing along the One True Autobahn until we discover we’ve got ourselves into a turning lane and it’s a lonely dead end.

Andrew Lorien Feb 01
–> move off to the grief of the dead end
or thoughts about alternative worship on the edge

Shoeless Man-ifesto

Why I Don’t Wear Shoes

here’s all the answers i could think of in not very long, in about as much detail as they deserve

Because I like to feel things – the texture of the ground, the weather. We don’t use our senses much in the concrete industrialised capitalist western city. We look at the advertising, listen to the crap people go on with, try to ignore the smog, sometimes touch our families but rarely anyone else, and that’s about it. As a human committed to experiencing life in all it’s fullness, making barriers to experience, especially on a bit of my body which is otherwise as open to sensation as my eyes and ears, is abhorrent. Walking without shoes, I experience the difference in texture between soft grass, concrete footpath, pebbly roads, and weedy yards. I feel muddy puddles on a rainy morning, cool shady footpath on a hot day, warm ashphalt on a summer evening.

Because i’m the only person at Sydney Airport who knows, at 5am on a freezing wet July morning, the pleasure of stepping on the warm dry spotlights which are sunk into the footpath.

Because I will be free. I will not put my feet in little prisons for most of the time. My feet, as much as any of the rest of me, want to breathe and move and dance and live. In giving freedom to the foot, we assure freedom to the head.

machine feet, by rebecca

Because naked is good.

Because I’m a cheapskate, and feet grow back. This organic footwear never wears out; when you get holes in them they fix themselves; they don’t need polish or laces; I’m not going to lose them or get rolled by homeboys for them.

Because my feet provide a heat sink, which I need, being a hot guy.

Because I want to maintain equal potential with the ground, that the eternal electricity of the earth may flow freely through my bones.

Because I am the emperor of all I survery, and Mambo makes the emperor’s new clothes.

Because everyone else does.

Because you can sneak up on people. Not wearing shoes, you learn to tread lightly on the earth. And treading lightly, you cause less damage. Too many beautiful things and valuable people are crushed by people who never learnt to look where they walk. Walking without sole armour causes less damage to the earth you walk on, because the damage is reciprocal. When I do choose to wear shoes, through habit I walk more softly, making less noise, causing less damage.

Andrew Lorien august 1998

–> i guess it’s about freedom

A Fateful Day, 1996

Thursday April 18, 1996

On this day, Rebecca, my love and my life, said that she had realised that her real personality had for years been suffering under the weight of St Matthias and evangelicalism (which we knew) and my own personality (which I guess I knew…). She had to get away from me and from anyone she knew, anyone who would attempt to influence her or tell her what they thought was right or wrong.

So she got in the car, got a YHA card, and went to Melbourne. That was what she needed, and it was good. I coped mostly because a few hours after she left, Paul rang up to say he had his internet access, and I found that so did I. And because I was working morning shift. So for a week, I got up at 4:30, skated/drove/bussed to the airport, worked, came home, explored my computer, and slept. Interspersed with time I spent with various people, mostly Rozelle [now Plunge] types and the neighbours.

Now (29/4) she’s back, but only somewhat. She got back to Sydney on Saturday the 27th, and has decided to stay indefinately with Melinda and Brenton (and Geordie). I saw her today for the first time in 12 days. We talked, and it was ok. If sad. We see a counsellor on Wednesday, and we both want her to be able to live with me, for the rest of her life, without her personality becoming lost. We both want the real Rebecca, but we fear that if I try to have her, neither of us will. Rebecca wants to work on the relationship, but the sort of work she’s been doing for years is bad. She needs to work not on pleasing me and being the right person, but on being herself, strong enough to escape the black hole of my influence.

Many years ago, in the midst of our tumultuous relationship at uni (just before our last real breakup, I think), I wrote a poem.

Elysium

I soared upon her back,
we rode together the wings of her passion:
diving towards the river styx,
climbing towards Elysium.
And under my guidance we shunned the pits of hell,
and under my weight we missed the joys of heaven.
I provided a stability not her own:
her flight became less erratic,
our paths more predictable,
until my weight became a burden,
and she dropped to earth.

I fell to the ground,
sobbing dispassionately for the clouds,
As she rose, unfettered,
to the peak of heaven,
via the pit of hell.

And she wrote something in her diary book, quoting my poem:

… He has changed and so has Lynda. I also see them differently. Andrew has learnt pain through knowing my mind and the love which he has given me without the possibility of it’s greatest, and only, fulfilment – the rest of his life with me. The tragedy is that I also love him, need him, but who he is extinguishes what I am. He takes away the loneliness, but also my self, since I can only see the world through his mind when I am with him. He cries now and I comfort him, while crying at his pain and fearing the future when he will be gone. But he must go if I am to live, and I wish that he needn’t.

We’ve been married for three years, and it’s exactly the same.



It’s a year later now. We couldn’t both have the real Rebecca. The counsellor was ok, as much as they ever are, and the friends were good. She’s lived in half a dozen places, and still isn’t ‘on her feet’. We talk, we begin to be able to laugh, we see our future as friends. I think of her the way I think of a few other girls I know and love, but who are not avaliable – and who I don’t think I want to be with anyway.

I found a poem by William Blake

Eternity

He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy: But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

Armageddon

!ARMAGEDDON!

A quick page full of links I found when I was having a party to celebrate the end of the world (it didn’t) and had trouble finding a decent jumpstation.

The links are dying fast. You work ‘em out
[edit : between 1996 and 2013, 14 of the 17 links below have died – most of the domain names have even changed names. i guess if those people thought the world was going to end there would be no reason to think the internet would keep going. links maintained for historical interest]

I’m pretty sure the next time the world has a good chance of ending is 5/5/2000. So keep the sixth free for meeting your maker.

Of course, it could be October 26 this year (the 6000th anniversary of the creation of the world, according to James Lightfoot), or August 11 1999, according to the excellent people at spiritweb, a repositary of all things spiritual. Sad, though, that they’ve been looking forward to 1994 for so long.

back to narrative