The end of all things?

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:02 am

I was at this bar mitzvah but no-one was circumcised.

I'm pretty sure there was something fishy going on...

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Old Mack on Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:07 pm

Old Mack wrote:Clarence LeRoy, somebody had to say something, to brake the tension, if you know what I mean !

Old Mack

Posts : 770
Join date : 2011-05-03
Location : Highway 61

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  eddie on Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:25 pm

Isn't the Mayan calendar about to expire? Looks ominous.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:12 am

Is Mack saying that Noel Coward has something to do with the apocalypse?
I've always suspected as much...

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:14 am

eddie wrote:Isn't the Mayan calendar about to expire? Looks ominous.

The plot is thickening.

I've been thinking about it since I had this strange dream...everybody was living in Arkansas, of all places.

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Old Mack on Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:47 pm

Noel Coward virtually invented the concept of Englishness for the 20th century. He was defined by his Englishness as much as he defined it. He was indeed the first Englander pop star, the first ambassador of "cool Britannia" even before his 1924 drugs-and-sex scandal.

But did you ever stop to think about the fact that his name spelled backwards is: draw ocleon...look that up in Old Yidish and you'll get the point !

Old Mack

Posts : 770
Join date : 2011-05-03
Location : Highway 61

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:07 pm

Urban foxes and huge black birds (ravens? rooks? crows?) are spilling out from behind the high stone wall of Tower Hamlets cemetery, East London and reclaiming the streets.

Pigeons are battering at the widow panes on my balcony.

The Jolly Roger has been fluttering from the building opposite Aldgate Tube station for the past couple of weeks:



It's not looking good.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:09 pm

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:19 pm


TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:22 pm

It's rather difficult to find an answer to Yeats. Maybe this will do:

The Hollow Men
T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:24 pm

...escape plan 1


Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:30 pm

...preferred destination


Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:36 pm

One might hope so but their prawns are no good.

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:47 pm


...you said prawns not shrimp Shocked

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:56 pm

blue moon wrote:
...you said prawns not shrimp Shocked

I'm only a prawn in their game.

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:03 pm

TinyMontgomery wrote:
blue moon wrote:
...you said prawns not shrimp Shocked

I'm only a prawn in their game.

...the prawn game?


Last edited by blue moon on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:20 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : removed photo)

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:10 pm

blue moon wrote:
TinyMontgomery wrote:
blue moon wrote:
...you said prawns not shrimp Shocked

I'm only a prawn in their game.
...many a tear has to fall, but it's all, in the game

You know what they're talking about!

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:27 pm

...sorry...I was just editing the reply above you and we posted at the same time...I didn't think anyone would recognise that line so I went back to do something more literal Very Happy

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  LaRue on Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:30 pm

I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things...

LaRue
Suzerain Emeritus

Posts : 117
Join date : 2011-04-11

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:06 am

Good call, Rue!

Here's Howard Shore's take on this rather precarious situation:

TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  eddie on Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:09 pm

The word “Armageddon” comes from a Hebrew word Har-Magedone, which means “Mount Megiddo” and has become synonymous with the future battle in which God will intervene and destroy the armies of the Antichrist as predicted in biblical prophecy (Revelation 16:16; 20:1-3, 7-10). There will be a multitude of people engaged in the battle of Armageddon, as all the nations gather together to fight against Christ.

The exact location of the valley of Armageddon is unclear because there is no mountain called Meggido. However, since “Har” can also mean hill, the most likely location is the hill country surrounding the plain of Meggido, some sixty miles north of Jerusalem. More than two hundred battles have been fought in that region. The plain of Megiddo and the nearby plain of Esdraelon will be the focal point for the battle of Armadeggon, which will rage the entire length of Israel as far south as the Edomite city of Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1). The valley of Armageddon was famous for two great victories in Israel’s history: 1) Barak’s victory over the Canaanites (Judges 4:15) and 2) Gideon’s victory over the Midianites (Judges 7). Armageddon was also the site for two great tragedies: 1) the death of Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:Cool and 2) the death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:22).

Because of this history, the valley of Armageddon became a symbol of the final conflict between God and the forces of evil. The word “Armageddon” only occurs in Revelation 16:16, “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” This speaks of the kings who are loyal to the Antichrist gathering together for a final assault on Israel. At Armageddon “the cup filled with the wine of the fury of [God’s] wrath” (Revelation 16:19) will be delivered, and the Antichrist and his followers will be overthrown and defeated. “Armageddon” has become a general term that refers to the end of the world, not exclusively to the battle that takes place in the plain of Megiddo.

(from the gotquestions?.org website)


Ruins atop Tel Megiddo.

affraid Armageddon outa here!

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  TinyMontgomery on Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:41 pm

You think Li Hong(李弘)'s also going to show up in this unglamourous place?

Li Hong (李弘) is a messianic figure in religious Taoism prophesied to appear at the end of the world cycle to rescue the chosen people, who would be distinguished by certain talismans, practices and virtues. He is depicted in the Daoist scripture Spirit Spells of the Abyss as an ideal leader who would reappear to set right heaven (tian) and earth (dì) at a time of upheaval and chaos. Li Hong is sometimes considered to be an avatar of Laozi, with whom he shares the surname Li. Prophesies concerning Li Hong's appearance have been used to legitimize numerous rebellions and insurgencies, all of which rallied around a Li Hong. (wiki)


TinyMontgomery

Posts : 89
Join date : 2011-07-27

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  felix on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:58 am


felix
cool cat - mrkgnao!

Posts : 831
Join date : 2011-04-11
Location : see the chicken?

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  eddie on Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:08 am

Ragnarök: the doom of the gods

This Norse saga of the gods destroying themselves is the perfect allegory for 21st-century environmental catastrophe

AS Byatt guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 August 2011 22.55 BST


Engraving of Ragnarök, the last battle. Photograph: Mary Evans Picture Library/Alamy

Myth comes from muthos in Greek, something said, as opposed to something done. We think of myths as stories, although, as Heather O'Donoghue says in her book From Asgard to Valhalla, there are myths that are not essentially narratives at all. We think of them loosely as tales that explain, or embody, the origins of our world. Karen Armstrong writes in A Short History of Myths that myths are ways of making things comprehensible and meaningful in human terms (the sun as a chariot driven by a woman through the firmament) and that they are almost all "rooted in death and the fear of extinction".


Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by AS Byatt

Nietzsche, in The Birth of Tragedy, sees myths as dreamlike shapes and tales constructed by the Apollonian principle of order and form to protect humans against the apprehension of the Dionysian states of formlessness, chaos and gleeful destruction. Tragedy controls the primeval force of music by presenting us with beautiful illusory forms of gods, demons, men and women, through whom apprehension is bearable and possible. He wrote: "Every culture that has lost myth has lost, by the same token, its natural healthy creativity. Only a horizon ringed about with myths can unify a culture. The forces of imagination and the Apollonian dream are saved only by myth from indiscriminate rambling. The images of myth must be the daemonic guardians, ubiquitous but unnoticed, presiding over the growth of the child's mind and interpreting to the mature man his life and struggles."

Nietzsche's heroes were Aeschylus and Sophocles, whose characters are mythic beings. He did not approve of Euripides, who tried to humanise the actors in these stories, give them individual "characters" and personalities. Even as a small child I was aware that there was a difference between reading myths and reading fairytales, or stories about real people, or stories about imaginary real people. Gods, demons and other actors in myths do not have personalities or characters in the way people in novels do.

They do not have psychology, though Freud used the mythical life of Oedipus as a way of describing the machinery of the unconscious. They have attributes – Hera and Frigg are essentially jealous, Thor is violent, Mars is warlike, Baldur is beautiful and gentle, Diana of Ephesus is fertile and virginal. I remember, seeing that goddess in the stony flesh for the first time, with her many-layered breasts, that I understood there was a sense in which she was more real than I was or would ever be – more people believed in her, thought about her, saw their world in ways dependent on her existence.

Mythical beings are also more and less real than characters in novels. Don Quixote tries to enter the world of myth and the disparity between his real and his imagined worlds becomes almost a mythical force in itself. Anna Karenina, Prince Myshkin, Emma Bovary, Gustav von Aschenbach are human characters with idiosyncrasies and individuality – but their tales are complicated by the presence in them of impersonal myths. Aschenbach is a battleground for Nietzsche's Apollo and Dionysos; Prince Myshkin is a human being trying to be a Christlike man. For several years I used to teach an evening class on myth and reality in the novel in which we looked at the mythical forms which found themselves as one thread in more (or less) realist fictions. My own novels also have threads of myth in their narrative, which are an essential part of the thought and the form of the books, and of the way the characters take in the world.

I chose the Norse myth of Ragnarök because my childhood experience of reading and rereading Asgard and the Gods by Wilhelm Wägner and others was the place where I had first experienced the difference between myth and fairytale. I didn't "believe in" the Norse gods, and indeed used my sense of their world to come to the conclusion that the Christian story was another myth, the same kind of story about the nature of things, but less interesting and less exciting. The myths didn't give me narrative satisfaction like fairy stories, which seem to me to be stories about stories, to give their reader the pleasure of recognising endlessly repeated variations on the same narrative patterns. In fairy stories – if you accept the bloody violence, and the horrible things that happen to the bad characters – the point is a pleasurable and satisfactory foreseen outcome, where the good survive and thoughts on myths multiply and the bad are punished. The Grimms thought their collected fairytales were the ancient folk religion of their German ancestors, but there is a difference. Hans Andersen did not write impersonal fairy stories of this kind, or not often – he wrote nuanced stories with characters, personalities and feelings in them, authored stories, works of the imagination. I felt he was trying to frighten or hurt me as a reader. I still think he was.

Myths are often unsatisfactory, even tormenting. They puzzle and haunt the mind that encounters them. They shape different parts of the world inside our heads, and they shape them not as pleasures, but as encounters with the inapprehensible – the numinous, to use a word that was very fashionable when I was a student. The fairy stories were in my head like little bright necklaces of intricately carved stones and wood and enamels. The myths were cavernous spaces, lit in extreme colours, gloomy, or dazzling, with a kind of cloudy thickness and a kind of overbright transparency about them. I met a description of being taken over by a myth in a poem my mother gave me, WJ Turner's "Romance".

When I was but thirteen or so
I went into a golden land,
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
Took me by the hand.


My father died, my brother too,
They passed like fleeting dreams.
I stood where Popocatapetl
In the sunlight gleams.


I dimly heard the master's voice
And boys far-off at play –
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
Had stolen me away.


I walked in a great golden dream
To and fro from school –
Shining Popocatapetl
The dusty streets did rule.


I walked home with a gold dark boy,
And never a word I'd say,
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
Had taken my speech away.


I gazed entranced upon his face
Fairer than any flower –
O shining Popocatapetl
It was thy magic hour:


The houses, people, traffic seemed
Thin fading dreams by day;
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
They had stolen my soul away!


I recognised that state of mind, that other world.

The words in my head were not Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, but Ginnungagap, Yggdrasil and Ragnarök. And in later life there were other moments like this. Aeneas seeing the Sibyl of Cumae writhing in the cave. "Immanis in antro bacchatur vates." Or Milton's brilliant snake crossing Paradise, erect upon his circling folds.

When Canongate invited me to contribute a title to their myth series, I knew immediately which myth I wanted to write. It should be Ragnarök, the myth to end all myths, the myth in which the gods themselves were all destroyed. There were versions of this story in which the world, which had ended in a flat plane of black water, was cleansed and resurrected, like the Christian world after the last judgment. But the books I read told me that this could well be a Christian interpolation, and I found it weak and thin compared with all the brilliant destruction. No, the wolf swallowed the king of the gods, the snake poisoned Thor, everything was burned in a red light and drowned in blackness. It was, you might say, satisfactory.

I found it harder than I had expected to find a voice for telling the myth that was not vatic, or chaunting, or admonitory in the wrong way. The civilisation I live in thinks less and less in terms of raw myth, I think, and the idea of many other writers in the Canongate series has been to assimilate the myths into the form of novels, or modern stories, retell the tales as though the people had personalities and psychologies. There is also a particularly interesting retelling of the stories by the Danish novelist Villy Sørensen, published in Danish as Ragnarok: En gudefortælling and in English as The Downfall of the Gods. Sørensen grew up, he says, in the world influenced by the Christian teaching of NFS Grundtvig, who argued in his Northern Mythology (1808) that the war between the Norse gods and the giants was "the fight of the spirit against the baser side of human nature – as culture's perpetual fight against barbarity".

The followers of Grundtvig believed that the "new world" depicted in a poem in the Elder Edda as arising after the catastrophe of Ragnarök – which was named Gimle – was an analogy of the Christian second coming, the new heaven and the new earth foretold in Revelation. Sørensen suggests, as did the German scholars who wrote Asgard and the Gods, that because the tales were written down by Icelanders who were already Christian, their interpretations and forms may have been influenced by Christianity. The Danes thought in terms of Ragnarök followed by Gimle after their defeat by the Prussians in 1864, and Sørensen's version is part of a Scandinavian attempt to rescue the myth from the Germanic (and eventually Nazi) connotations involved in the history of Wagner's Götterdämmerung.

Sørensen's way of rescuing and retelling the Norse myth is to humanise it as a battlefield between power and love, with Loki – both god and giant – as a central and conflicted figure. Sørensen's Valhalla is human and domestic. His gods have feelings, doubts, psychological problems. He ends, not with Gimle, but with the end of the world – he has chosen, he says, between Ragnarök and Gimle, and aroused great anger among religious Danes by doing so. What he does, in a very interesting way, is precisely what I felt prohibited from doing.

I tried once or twice to find a way of telling the myth that preserved its distance and difference, and finally realised that I was writing for my childhood self, and the way I had found the myths and thought about the world when I first read Asgard and the Gods. So I introduced the figure of the "thin child in wartime". This is not a story about this thin child – she is thin partly because she was thin, but also because what is described of her world is thin and bright, the inside of her reading and thinking head, and the ways in which she related the worlds of Asgard and The Pilgrim's Progress to the world and the life she inhabited.

The war might well have destroyed the thin child's world. She built her own contrary myth in her head. Even if – indeed when – she herself came to an end the earth would go on renewing itself. The fair field was full of flowers, the sky was full of birds, the tangled bank hid a world of struggle, water was alive with swimming and wriggling things. The death of the gods is a linear tale, with a beginning, a middle and an end. A human life is a linear tale. Myths proceed to disaster and maybe to resurrection. The thin child believed in the eternal recurrence of growing things, and in weather.

But if you write a version of Ragnarök in the 21st century, it is haunted by the imagining of a different end of things. We are a species of animal which is bringing about the end of the world we were born into. Not out of evil or malice, or not mainly, but because of a lopsided mixture of extraordinary cleverness, extraordinary greed, extraordinary proliferation of our own kind, and a biologically built-in short-sightedness. Every day I read of a new extinction, of the bleaching of the coral and the disappearance of the codfish the thin child caught in the North Sea with a hook and line, when there were always more where those came from. I read of human projects that destroy the world they are in, ingeniously, ambitiously engineered oil wells in deep water, a road across the migration paths of the beasts in the Serengeti park, farming of asparagus in Peru, helium balloons to transport the crops more cheaply, emitting less carbon while the farms themselves are dangerously depleting the water that the vegetables, and the humans and other creatures, depend on.

I wanted to write the end of our Midgard – but not to write an allegory or a sermon. Almost all the scientists I know think we are bringing about our own extinction, more and more rapidly. Many of the weeds in the fields the thin child sees and thinks of as eternal are already made extinct by modern farming methods. Clouds of plovers do not rise. Thrushes no longer break snails on stones, and the house sparrow has vanished from our gardens. In a way the Midgard Serpent is the central character in my story. She loves to see the fish she kills and consumes, or indeed kills for fun, the coral she crushes and bleaches. She poisons the earth because it is her nature. When I began working on this story I had a metaphor in mind – I saw the death-ship, Naglfar, made of dead men's nails, as an image for what is now known as the trash vortex, the wheeling collection of indestructible plastic in the Pacific, larger than Texas. I thought how it had grown from the plastic beakers Thor Heyerdahl was distressed to find floating in the empty ocean, on his Kon-Tiki voyage in 1947. But I wanted to tell the myth in its own terms, as the thin child discovered it.


I have said I did not want to humanise the gods. But I always had in mind the wisdom of that most intelligent thinker about gods, humans and morality, Ludwig Feuerbach. "Homo homini deus est," he wrote, describing how our gods of Love, Wrath, Courage, Charity were in fact projections of human qualities we constructed from our sense of ourselves. He was talking about the incarnate god of Christianity, a god in man who to Feuerbach was a manmade god. George Eliot translated Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity fluently and flexibly, and its influence is strong in her work. But there is a sense in which the Norse Gods are peculiarly human in a different way. They are human because they are limited and stupid. They are greedy and enjoy fighting and playing games. They are cruel and enjoy hunting and jokes. They know Ragnarök is coming, but are incapable of imagining any way to fend it off, or change the story. They know how to die gallantly but not how to make a better world. "Homo homini lupus est – man is a wolf to man", wrote Hobbes, describing the wolf inside; Hobbes who had a grim vision of the life of men as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Loki is the only one who is clever and Loki is irresponsible and wayward and mocking.

Deryck Cooke, in I Saw the World End, his splendid study of Wagner's Ring Cycle, shows how intelligently Wagner constructed his character, Loge, from the available sources of the myths. Wagner's Loge is, Cooke says, the god of fire and the god of thought. The Loki of the old myths is only half a god, and possibly related to the giants and demons. It is probably a false etymology that connects the Germanic fire spirit Logi with the Loki of the Eddas, but Wagner's Loge is both a solver of problems and the bringer of the flames that destroy the World-Ash.

As a child I had always sympathised with Loki, because he was a clever outsider. When I came to write this tale I realised that Loki was interested in chaos – his stories contain flames and waterfalls, the formless things inside which chaos theorists perceive order inside disorder. He is interested in the order in destruction and the destruction in order. If I were writing an allegory he would be the detached scientific intelligence which could either save the earth or contribute to its rapid disintegration. As it is, the world ends because neither the all-too-human gods, with their armies and quarrels, nor the fiery thinker know how to save it.

AS Byatt will appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 28 August.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  pinhedz on Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:57 am

eddie wrote:This Norse saga of the gods destroying themselves is the perfect allegory for 21st-century environmental catastrophe
It's always been like this as long as humankind has had a writing system. We always conclude that natural disasters are caused by little old us.

The last great ice age ended about 10,000 BC. By 8,000 BC humankind had discovered agriculture, but ice was still melting and sea level was still rising.

We will never know how many disasters--and how much consternation and breast beating--was caused by the rising seas levels, but eventually those levels rose by hundreds of feet, overflowing the continents' continental shelves and shrinking the continents down to the size they are today.

We do know of one disaster that was apparently reported. Around 5,600 BC sea levels had risen so much that the Mediterranean Sea overflowed the ridge of land that separated the Mediterranean from the Black Sea. This event created the Bosphorus and greatly enlarged the Black Sea (which had previously been a fresh-water lake) and no doubt flooded all of the communities in the area of the old lake.

Researchers have concluded that the story of Noah's arc could be the story of the creation of the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.

As is the case today, the people assumed it happened because of some bad thing we did.

After 100s of feet of rising sea level, the experts now say that there is very little ice left to melt, but if it all melts, sea levels would rise another 23 inches, in addition to the 100s of feet they have risen already. And we'll be true to form and conclude that whatever else melts is because of our behavior.

Humankind has always had this outsized belief in its own importance.

pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat

Posts : 11694
Join date : 2011-04-11
Location : DC

http://www.balalaika.org/

Back to top Go down

Re: The end of all things?

Post  Sponsored content Today at 1:05 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum