Sunday, October 1, 2023

#274 / Are We Picturing This?


Thinking back to what happened in Lahaina, the picture above does seem to be a valid portrayal of our present and our future. The image comes our way thanks to Professor Jem Bendell, a self-designated apostle of "collapse." You can click right here for the web-based original. 

Bendell's most recent book is titled, Breaking Together – a freedom-loving response to collapse, and while I wrote, fairly recently, that Bendell might be more optimistic than he is often given credit for, the picture above seems to provide a pretty good reason to locate Bendell deeply embedded into the "pessimistic" faction of those who are speculating on our future. If "a picture is worth a thousand words," the picture above does not utilize its thousand words to come down on the side of "optimism."

It is Sunday, so it is probably appropriate to cite to the Bible. The Book of Revelation paints lots of scenes of death and destruction. Albrecht Dürer's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," for instance (one of my favorites), is a well-recognized depiction of what's coming our wayAs one comment put it, the horsemen "represent Plague or Conquest, War, Famine and Death and are usually interpreted as the precursors to the end of the world."

Albrecht Dürer? Meet Jem Bendell!

In fact, however, The Book of Revelation does provide a more positive way to interpret what's going on. If it seems like "plague, war, famine, and death" are coming for us (and it really does), then we might repair to Revelation 21:5. There, we are advised, “He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'”

In my opinion, anyone who believes that we must count as "collapse" any significant change to the existing order is missing an opportunity to consider the positive possibilities that fundamental change might bring. "Making all things new" wouldn't be all that bad if the "new" were better than the "old." 

If our "house of cards" is collapsing, if it's burning to the ground - and that image from Bendell does seem descriptive when we consider Lahaina, and the images we have of that lovely place - then the question we need to consider, I believe, is how we can move beyond the embers and ashes of what is coming for our current human civilization, and can build ourselves a better place, as we make all things new.

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