What? What are all of you doing here? Don’t you know the world is ending at 6 pm tonight? You East Coasters better get a move on.
Actually, one of the things I love about the Rapture is that there’s really nothing to do about it. It’s all already decided, you’re either in, or you’re out. The thing I really love about the idea of the Rapture is that everybody wins. We would finally get rid of all those people (they are taking Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck with them, right?), and they would finally get rid of us.
No, there’s more than that to love about the Rapture. The idea that all of these people would just disappear, literally, at the same time, poof! Or rise up to heaven like balloons. That’s great science fiction, total eye candy for a writer. In fact I read a great version of that kind of thing, kind of, when I was a kid, when one day the world suddenly just divided itself into male and female. All the men continued to exist in one universe, and all the women continued to exist in another, and they had to rebuild their societies completely without the other sex, and the author was comparing and contrasting the societies that emerged. Great idea, and disturbing, too.
In this case, I don’t think the world that remained would change much with the Raptured people gone. Since I don’t really believe they’d be taking Limbaugh and Beck, we’d still be stuck with the noisiest. And their side of things – I’m not all that interested in imagining what they think they’re going off to. But if people literally disappeared at 6 pm today, what a great disaster movie that would be, right? I mean, Hollywood will never make it because the town is so weirdly paranoid about offending fundamentalists, but it would beat hell out of the recent 2012, for example.
I guess I’m fixating on all this because – well, the question is, who isn’t fixated on it? I think it’s fascinating that this particular prediction of the Rapture went viral – it was the most-Googled thing on the planet yesterday. It makes me think that I’m doing something wrong – in a marketing sense, that is.
Why are we so in love with Doomsday? Besides the fact that it means we can take the day off, I get that part. Or maybe that’s most of what there is to it. But maybe what we’re missing is that riotous celebration of death that primitive cultures used to indulge in. Maybe we’re just enjoying the surreal and potentially spectacular quality of this – concept? Obsession?
Or is it more about self-punishment? Do we pay the attention we pay to this Rapture thing in some small part because we actually believe in a punishing Universe? Or God, if you will?
Personally, I don’t believe in a punishing God. But when I get really honest I have to admit that I still fear random punishment, which is a spiritual belief, or spiritual choice. Not from God – certainly not from a God of the Bible – but from the Universe. I don’t believe that rationally or even consciously most of the time, but I have realized that I believe it in expectation. That sooner or later, something bad is going to happen.
And that’s one of those self-defeating illusions that you can be totally unaware that you have, until you really examine what you’re thinking, what you believe, what you expect.
When writers or artists are blocked, I think it’s usually more about that kind of thing than anything to do with the difficulty of the current project. It’s more a time bomb of self- sabotage that was set long, long ago that’s suddenly gone off. “I’m not good enough.” “Making art is selfish.” “You don’t get paid for doing something you love.” “I don’t deserve to be successful.”
Sound familiar? Seems like we’ve been talking about things like that here for at least a couple of weeks, now.
I’m beginning to realize how important it is to do periodic sweeps for these subconscious landmines. If you’re not aware that you believe these things, they will eventually blow up in your face. Self-sabotage can take all kinds of forms, some spectacular, some insidious, but all equally devastating. But I think – I think – they might all come down to the idea that there is something OUT THERE preventing us from getting our heart’s desires – when really the only thing preventing us is INSIDE. And generally planted a long, long time ago.
I’ve heard it said that the family is the cradle of theology. I love that – it seems so exactly true. We believe we will get from the Universe what we did from our families. And psychologists generally agree that our core traumas have been inflicted by the time we’re five years old, which means we don’t even usually REMEMBER what those traumas are.
So it’s not an easy thing we’re talking about here – finding the roots of our own Doomsday beliefs and defusing those bombs before they blow up (or at least cleaning up effectively after they do.)
But that’s what I wish for all of you on this, the last day of the world – that you let the Rapture take away all those demons – just send them on up there with Limbaugh and Beck – and start your fresh new lives.
Six o’clock p.m, and counting.
And if you aren’t out there stocking up on water and propane, how are you spending your last day? What do you think it is about this Rapture thing?