Revolution and Apocalypse

Let me express a simple thought. It’s about two words that are easily misunderstood: revolution and apocalypse. Both are old terms with specific histories, but I won’t bore you with too many details.

Revolution is a word that originated from astrology. It referred to the movement of heavenly bodies. From that, it became associated with predicting the future. The thing about astrology is it is a cyclical worldview, cycles within cycles. Patterns repeat. That is quite relevant to the modern era of revolutions. The idea of astrology is that the world is predictable because it repeats, even when that repetition might take aeons of time.

Astrology is grounded in ancient mindset and way of life. The societies that developed astrological systems were agricultural. These were people who were watching the patterns all around them in the world. Not just the lights in the sky but also the seasons with their shifting periods of rains and drought, warmth and coldness.

A revolution is a turning. The seasons turn. The soil is turned for planting. The whole world turns. But it always comes back around. We live a revolutionary existence, although we only notice it during certain moments.

To recognize this is to realize revolutions are natural and inevitable. Civilizations, like growing seasons and human lives, come and go. This change can be peaceful or violent, slow or rapid, imperceptible or obvious, resisted or embraced. Yet no matter what humans do or do not do, the world goes on—never quite like it was before.

Now, apocalypse is an even more loaded term. But etymologically it has a very basic meaning. It is to uncover or unveil, to disclose or reveal.

An apocalypse is a revelation. It’s only associated with devastation or cataclysm because of our limited perspective. What we knew or thought we knew is shown unworthy, false, or even non-existent. Our worldview is destroyed, whether or not the world itself follows suit

This is similar to Gnostic anamnesis. This means an unforgetting or recollection. Reality is brought forth. It’s a returning.

One might call it a revolution or revelation, but it is of the soul and mind. Even in worldly revolutions, it was noted that—such as with the American Revolution—a revolution of the mind and of the people preceded a revolution of society and government.

Much of the thinking, even during the early modern revolutionary era, was about the idea of return. Revolutionaries had an instinct to look backwards in order to find their way forward. They looked for ancient examples and wisdom. They often spoke of natural rights, as if a just and free society could be built on revealed truths. This is often what was meant by common sense, the truth that could be revealed to any who sought it.

A revolution was an apocalypse for it was anamnesis. It was a returning to a beginning point. And the ultimate beginning point was whatever created our univese and set down its laws, those laws that can be seen in the heavens and in human nature. The world was seen as an orderly place. A revolution was the seeking of a return to order, specifically a moral order. It was an attempt to realign humanity with reality and so to raise up the world to a whole other level.

Even the most radical of revolutionaries, in the end, place their hope in this same vision and aspiration. I would make one thing clear. All revolutions are radical, even when no one sees it coming or understands what happened. Radical means to go to the root, another kind of returning or inward turning, to dig down to foundations and first principles.

The most radical revolutions are those so transformative that we forget what came before. Each new order encloses the mind once again. If you’re not paying close attention, an apocalypse can come and go, barely leaving a wake. A momentary remembering at best, a few prophets crying in the wind, followed by forgetting again. That forgetting then sets the stage for some future revolutionary unforgetting.

This time around might be different, though. The potential apocalypse we face is global in scale. This means the most probable revolution won’t be as self-contained as in the past. Thomas Paine spoke of revolution spreading around the world. We might be living in an age when that prophecy finally comes true, when the truth of what it means is revealed.

18 thoughts on “Revolution and Apocalypse

  1. There has been a remarkable degree of tone deafness from the Establishment this election.

    They seem unable completely to relate to the struggles of working people.

    • Yep. That is what has revolution on my mind. Many don’t see revolutions coming because few understand what revolution means. The world is stable and remains the same, until it doesn’t. We forget how rare and transitory are moments of peace and order, and often those moments are illusory in their being enforced through violence and oppression, through fear and projection..

    • In reality, everything is always in a state of change. It’s just that seemingly stable orders are able to suppress the outward signs of change. But this can only be done for periods of time, after which a tipping point is hit and all the hidden changes come piling out into the open. To most people, such moments of mass transformation seem to have come out of nowhere because they weren’t paying attention.

  2. Evidently the rich are banking into the idea that everything is going to continue towards the same trajectory.

    Why else would we see the endless attempts by the Democratic Establishment to get people in line? Telling Sanders supporters to shut up, get over the rigging of the primary, and vote for Clinton isn’t a strategy for building party unity.

    It is an Orwellian effort to suppress any and all dissent. Rich Americans seem to be ignorant about the implications of what they are doing.

    With any luck this will generate the backlash that they hoped to avoid. They may have rigged the 2016 primary, but the anger that caused politicians like Sanders to gain prominence isn’t going to pass.

    • It’s the nature of the politics in a country like ours. Professional politicians who have been establishment insiders for most of the career come to think they can do anything. They get used being able to constantly manipulate everything in whatever way they so desire. They get a god complex. I’m sure it’s easy for them to forget that even their power has limits and that everything they do eventually has consequences.

    • For one thing, Obama in 2008 generated a ton of angry supporters.

      I think that there are going to be a lot of disappointed Clinton supporters, should she win in November.

      • The political elite in the Democratic establishment see themselves sitting on top of the pile right now. But I don’t think it will end well. With the GOP wounded and the Republican establishment now largely supporting Hillary, the Democrats are the one major party left standing and so they will take the blame for everything. This is an election that I’m not sure anyone should hope to win. Whichever party is in power when the shit hits the fan will be seen as responsible and might be out of power for a long time, damaging whatever ideology is associated with them in the process.

  3. I was reading about Mao’s Great Leap Forward. I kept thinking how it sounds very much like today’s economic policies and political establishment in our country. Mao would be very proud of his Republican and Democratic comrades and how they will soon have a new chairman…sorry, “president” no longer applies to head of state in America.

    Independent, self-sufficient, self-determined lives of ordinary Americans are being replaced by dependence on corporate/government collectives. Take Walmart for example. Walmart has become the collective canteens of America. Walmart is one of the most heavily government subsidized companies by corporate welfare in American.

    The economic policies of America since the 1980’s have been nothing more than an Americanize version of the Great Leap Forward. How much suffering and how many lives have been ruined due to the ignorance of America’s political establishment whose leadership and ideology rival those of Hitler, Stalin and Mao?

    • I haven’t read Mao’s Great Leap Forward. I’m sure it would be an interesting read. There has been something going on in America these past decades. It’s hard to know what is motivating it beyond general authoritarianism, sociopathy, and greed. It would be nice to know what the ruling elite see as the endgame. About Walmart, I wrote a post that discussed it a bit:

      “As a more specific example, consider Walmart. It has received a lot of attention and so its impact has been studied thoroughly. Walmart is the single largest employer in the United States. Their employees are the single largest group of welfare recipients in the country. And Walmart itself is the single largest beneficiary of the use of welfare such as food stamps. Walmart is the ultimate Welfare Queen.”

    • @ Benjamin David Steele
      @ altandmain

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one that sees America’s Great Leap Forward social experiment as the colossal, “mass-murdering” (in terms of liberty, justice, independence, community, environment, culture, morality, reason, common-sense, innovation, entrepreneurship, etc.), economically/politically/culturally “genocidal” failure it has and continues to prove itself to be.

      To think this type of social engineering and reckless experimentation has been allowed to continue for so long is unbelievable! It is worst than the Holocaust in how Americans have turned a blind eye and irresponsibly let their democracy, which took hundreds of years and hundred of thousands of sacrificed lives to be nurtured, is being raped, pillaged and murdered in such a short period of time. SHAMEFUL and UNFORGIVABLE! And even more unbelievably mind-boggling, the experiment is still going strong and is far from over with no end in sight.

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