From ‘global warming’ to ‘asteroid impact,’ from swine flue to ‘2012’ the sheer number of doomsday scenarios making the rounds these days is mind boggling. Stir in popular conspiracy theories —from 9/11 “truth” to Apollo-moonlanding “doubt”—heat it up on the internet and in the media, and pretty soon justifiable anxiety over the reliability of society’s institutions morphs into a kind of toxic stew threatening to engulf us.
All of which begs the question: are our problems causing the fear or is fear causing our problems? F.D.R., after all, said at the beginning of World War II, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Fear, of course, can be quite entertaining. Hollywood has long appreciated the money-making potential in epic disasters of ‘biblical’ proportions. If Sodom and Gomorrah was a cautionary tale, it was, perhaps even more, a cinematic opportunity, featuring the ever popular themes of sex, betrayal and apocalyptic destruction for the guilty and the not. Much the same can be said for recent disaster pictures from Deep Impact to Armageddon, from The Day After Tomorrow, to, of course, the forthcoming Columbia Pictures would-be blockbuster 2012. The public has always seemed willing to shell out to watch others fall off the karmic cliff, but from where does the fascination come? Could it be from repressed fear?
At some level we all understand that a reckoning could be coming to this guilt-ridden society, and we are fascinated (fear and fascination travel as a couple) by the prospect of some kind of judgement day, albeit for others. Is the perverse satisfaction felt in witnessing a just retribution, for some, born in the secret fear that we may be due a similar settlement?
The irony is that our secular society’s choice to remove from the equation of human responsibility any higher power—by whom we might be held accountable—has left us with a world in which the consequences of our actions become ever more dire. In other words, banishing a God who could punish us for our actions has left us facing something worse at our own hands—and with little hope of redemption. Could the resulting sense of guilt account for our angst? In a modern society temporarily insulated, as it is, from the real consequences of its actions, could the compelling need to reconcile with the source of our existence, as in Greek tragedy, drive us subconsciously to seek our own destruction?
An epidemic of unreasoning fear certainly does not bode well for society’s future, but it is worth noting that there are countertrends afoot. Here and there, amidst the gloom, can be found developments like those frequently reported in Atlantis Rising—pockets of hope and genuine optimism along with a growing awareness of the true unity of life and of the depth of our roots in a redeeming ancient alchemy. Suddenly a new catharsis is experienced, and appearing in our midst is a reawakened awareness of purpose and of our real identity—quite distinct from the empty pronouncements of the materialist establishment and, indeed, far more powerful.
Directed by an invisible but benevolent hand, those who yet “have eyes to see” can now behold the seeds of a new order being gathered from the dying petals of the old and know that our individual fates will be determined by the cause with which we choose to identify.
This magazine, for one, will take the rising path.