Extreme weather, an uptick in earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, more frequent meteorite fly byes and spaceship sightings are all natural signs of a possible apocalypse.
Socio political issues, not just geopolitical events, are also apocalyptic because the secular exits alongside the sacred and can’t be viewed in isolation if we are to make sense of the bigger picture.
French-American philosopher and anthropologist, René Girard, argues modernity is the end of history, the apocalypse predicted by the Book of Revelation.
Or it could be argued modernity is the apocalypse of Christianity and the West, a fatal moral crisis of a secular civilization caused by Western Christendom.
Secular modernity rode in on the back of a utopia derived from the apocalyptic eschatology of original Christianity and replaced it with a humanist version.
The gamut of modern political eschatology from the French Revolution though a long line of ideological ‘isms’ followed the idea of progress and revolution, with all these shattering overtime leaving modernity without any ethical crutches.
The only equilibrium is the various social pressures of religion and politics that keep humanity from combusting in an orgy of violence according to Girard, but emphasizes this only works when it’s instinctive as in ‘sacrificial religion’ not if it’s conscious as demonstrated by the Enlightenment when it breaks down into scapegoating and useless ideological battles.
To Girard reversing the drift of democracy by dictatorial discretion is equally hopeless, although he agrees with the truth of counter-enlightenment insight that points to the fatal reality of the human condition.
Mimetic Desire- Free Will Hindered
On both a social and personal level mimetic desire is apocalyptic; Girard suggests it leads either to conversion or perdition.
In mimetic desire people take their cues from others on how to think and act, it’s all about the art of imitation in the manner of monkey-see-monkey-do.
Although humans do have freedom of choice it carries elements of risk so they look to others for clues and end up desiring what others do.
Girard describes increasing violence due to the freeing of mimetic desire from traditional religious constraints by modern equality, known as the “negatively unifying principle” of envy.
Expanding on this idea, people don’t fight over their differences; they fight because they want the same things, which lead to envy and rivalry.
The paradox in all this is the awakening of moral consciousness and its sensitivity in history results in an actual worsening of human character, or a fall within the ‘Fall’.
The modern democracy promises personal freedom but delivers the herd mentality hand-in-hand with mob logic.
It boasts of a more just social contract but to the same degree generates a world of vanity and envy seething with resentment.
The drift of actual history seems to be approximating the mad visions of the biblical imagination.
Modern utopianism although secular in nature, mirrors the Christian belief in the ultimate defeat of evil at the end of history, with one crucial difference, the Christian one celebrates God’s Kingdom on earth and the secular one humanity’s kingdom under Man.
Girard deconstructs the utopian pursuit of the impossible into self-annihilation, or another way of looking at it — the perfect is the enemy of the good- so it needs to fail to validate itself; success is its worst nightmare.
So Girard pulls utopianism back to its Christian provenance.
Summing up, Girard declares the end of utopia by pushing secular utopianism to annihilate itself in the notion of a kingdom of non-violence, not of this world. For him, the failure of utopia justifies God and condemns the world.
In the end though, he offers no reason why this is not just an epitaph of the West according to other philosophical perspectives.
If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption, we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.
- C. S. Lewis
If proof is needed that the idea of a humanist utopia has run its course and failed, its elite insider George Orwell’s eye-popping predictions of a coming dystopia.
The slogans; war is piece, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength are examples of doublethink where the acceptance of two mutually contradictory terms are held without tension.
Social media platforms are geared to build a hive mindset, and we can see the results with people pecking at critics like angry birds to get them in line with today’s ethos.
Increasing regulations that govern every inch of our lives and mass surveillance form part of the picture.
But it’s the polarization between people with contrasting worldviews that is telling.
And the love of many will grow cold
Many Christians think the above phrase applies to the great apostasy in the church and yes there’s that, but does it mean something more?
In his book 1984 Orwell says love as an emotion won’t exist but rage, fear and hate will.
Maybe he means love will be redefined, because the classical definition of love as an ideal involving choice and preference won’t be understood by a brainwashed, illiterate west without understanding of history, their own culture and basic Christianity.
The 21st century version of love is a compulsory dictum where ‘you must love everybody’ because anything less than indiscriminate love is discrimination.
It’s all about control and compliance, because if you have to love everyone you can in fact love no one.
Just like the jilted lover who knows while they can’t force unrequited love, they would settle for the second best option of their ex not loving anyone else either.
Without natural affection means familial ties and loyalty will fall by the wayside in favor of political allegiances where the alien is the new neighbor and the neighbor the new alien in both a literal and metaphorical sense.
It’s safe to say Girard’s and Orwell’s world match up and so do we.