~READ E-PUB ⚕ The Last Myth ♺ During The First Dozen Years Of The Twenty First Century, Apocalyptic Anticipation In America Has Leapt From The Cultish To The Mainstream Today, Nearly Percent Of Americans Believe That The Events Foretold In The Book Of Revelation Will Come True But Many Secular Readers Also Seem Hungry For Catastrophe And Have Propelled Books About Peak Oil, Global Warming, And The End Of Civilization Into Bestsellers How Did We Come To Live In A Culture Obsessed By The Belief That The End Is Near The Last Myth Explains Why Apocalyptic Beliefs Are Surging Within The American Mainstream Today Demonstrating That Our Expectation Of The End Of The World Is A Surprisingly Recent Development In Human Thought, The Book Reveals The Profound Influence Of Apocalyptic Thinking On America S Past, Present, And Future The Road to Camlann: The Death of King Arthur Apocalyptic Anticipation In America Has Leapt From The Cultish To The Mainstream Today Temptation In Lingerie (Bare Naked Designs, Nearly Percent Of Americans Believe That The Events Foretold In The Book Of Revelation Will Come True But Many Secular Readers Also Seem Hungry For Catastrophe And Have Propelled Books About Peak Oil Christmas in Noisy Village Global Warming The Cow in the House And The End Of Civilization Into Bestsellers How Did We Come To Live In A Culture Obsessed By The Belief That The End Is Near The Last Myth Explains Why Apocalyptic Beliefs Are Surging Within The American Mainstream Today Demonstrating That Our Expectation Of The End Of The World Is A Surprisingly Recent Development In Human Thought Temptation In Lingerie The Book Reveals The Profound Influence Of Apocalyptic Thinking On America S Past Jericho's Journey Present The Journey Home And Future I see The Last Myth in Your Future The Last Myth has earned its place alongside Philip Zimbardo s The Time Paradox and I.F Clarke s The Pattern of Expectation as one of the best books on humanity s concept of the future While its title promises an exploration of how apocalyptic thinking evolved, authors Mathew Barrett Gross and Mel Gilles also serve up answers to two other big questions why did humanity change from thinking that time is circular to linear, and how has the idea of progress changed from the Renaissance through today All three ideas are woven together in a compelling, jargon free narrative that is no pun intended revelatory.For example, there have been a number of points where people granted, slowly made a 180 degree change in how they think about time In its earliest days, humanity interpreted life events as the forces of destruction seeking balance with the forces of creation That changed into a concept of good continually battling evil There was another period when people thought that every action was a repetition of what ancestors had done before them there was nothing new under the sun Over time, that opinion shifted to thinking each event is unprecedented and so history is leading us to some specific point, often utopian or dystopian in nature.The authors wrap up their work by highlighting two alarming trends The first is that apocalyptic thinking has hit levels in the past decade in America that haven t been seen worldwide in a thousand years And second, the desire to view global events through an apocalyptical lens is clouding the ability to tackle real problems.Suffice it to say, The Last Myth will be found educational and enjoyable by historians, futurists, and anyone who wants a fresh take on the concept of time itself. Just realized I never got around to reviewing this book Now where did my copy that Goodreads First Reads sent me run off to Ah There it is.Now this book claims that it talks about how Apocalyptic thinking has changed Western Culture, and how exactly that it came to be so prevalent I don t think it very effectively tackled the first point However, I think that the theory behind the second point was fascinating In our ancient past,there was no such thing as noveltyNothing that people did or thought was original, it was accepted that they were reliving lives of those that had come before them Endings in their mythology was not the important parts of the myths, the important part of the myths was what came at the beginning or what came AFTER the ending, in a new beginninghumanity s gaze was fixed on the creative center, rather than the end Any ending would only result in rebirth and the recurrence of the creative cycle so why be obsessed with it. History, to these ancient people meant something entirely different History repeated itself, and everything was cyclical It wasn t until history became something we understood as novel and behind us, unrepeatable that apocalyptic thinking was even possible.That part was fascinating However, once I made it a third or so of the way through the book I felt like I was re reading Even the sentences seemed familiar It had a copy pasta feel to it The book was interesting, but maybe it should have been way shorter, if they felt the need to repeat themselves. This will go down as one of my favorite summer reads of 2012 Great insights and analysis on why apocalyptic thinking persist in the U.S Apocalyptic thinking is embedded in the language and functions as a way to shut down cogent and intelligent analysis of any given crisis Fear is the handmaiden of fascism while intellectual and sober discussion is the scourge of the oppressor This book helps to deconstruct what is really going on spiritually and ideologically The authors makes a strong argument for a return to the intelligence of our ancestors who concerned themselves with preserving oneness with nature, how humanity began not how it will all end The writers begin with a history of apocalyptic thought dating it to the Israelites who split off and became apocalypse Jews The contradictions of Jesus apocalyptic preachings about the kingdom of God is at handbefore this generation passes away The folly of date setting regarding the end of times and the rise of the rapture in the United States It is, indeed, a must read. This was a good, fast read, but I was expecting something a bit from it Which perhaps points to the space it leaves open for another, academic book of its kind Some incredible factoids, some good research and thinking, but I think there s work to be done.The book focuses not so much on apocalyptic thinking or apocalyptic culture persay, but does a very good job of mapping apocalyptic thinking s rise, and links it with global history and trends about the belief of time Instead of getting at culture, the authors ultimately try to point to some of the consequences of such thinking Written from a very liberal and welcome point of view, they believe that apocalyptic responses to global problems and change especially through and since the 90s, marked by the great growth of cable TV and cult conservative religions is actually debilitating us making us less apt to act in a concerted manner to address these problems, to change our ways of life, to right the ship, etc I think this is right, and a very good message to spread, but I m still wondering about the actual culture of apocalysm, and how seemingly desperately it s tied to American style late capitalism It seems to me that it s deeply reflective of the guilt many Americans have from living so high on the hog for so longand yet the answer to the many apocalyptic scares we create is to go out and SHOP MORE It also seems to me that it s a response to the soul deadening quality of late capitalism ie, feeling that we are nothing but consumers , the digital age, and the incredible population growth all over the planet It s most deeply a way of responding to a felt lack of individuality, I think It s a way of making ourselves feel ultimately meaningful, for hoping for something different I think it s also tied with a particular American culture of death deathwaysthis might be the seed of a new project, if I can finish the first one Matthew Gross paints an interesting picture of human history in this book In particular, he argues that the major force in 21st century culture is the belief that the end is nigh More accurately, what is driving, or stifling, our civilization is the belief that the future is both inevitable and cataclysmic He swiftly blows through the rise of this belief in a fixed through the rise of the Judeo Christian tradition It is at this point that Gross seems to provide the least amount of research or originality for that matter Nevertheless, his central thesis seems to stay intact as he points his readers to the important narrative the rise of the secular apocalypse Whether it be Y2K, a super volcanic eruption, an asteroid strike or global warming, Americans believe than ever that we are heading down a path of destruction We believe that what everyone else calls progress is actually regress and that in the end our worldview will be proven right The 21st century has been populated by hundreds of millions of people daydreaming about the day when they will yell at their neighbor, I told you so While I think Gross rightly condemns modern evangelicals as well as everyone else for being far too passive in their attitudes toward the fate of the human race I think he is too quick to dismiss the Christian worldview as a whole Christian teachings have been far nuanced than simply saying God is sovereign and therefore all we can do is wait for coming judgment Gross acknowledges this but again swiftly dismisses these theological innovations as intellectually awkward, if not completely incoherent This does expose a fatal weak spot in Gross s narrative Christian theologians have long expressed that God, while sovereign, works through people and is using His Church to build His kingdom If God has structured His Church to help resolve the social ills of our time and strive to make an ever better society, then we must do so, regardless of how God will ultimately bring about the fulfillment of His Kingdom on earth I think Gross is ultimately right, we cannot afford to divorce ourselves from our ideals If we believe God should reign on earth as He does in Heaven, we must bear the cross that comes with that ideal. I wish I could give a book on this topic than three stars, but this one is, in my opinion, poorly written.Although the author does not intend to, he often confuses the reader about whether there is any difference between an imaginary apocalypse based on religion and a potential apocalypse based on human actions and scientific advances Occasionally he makes this distinction clear, but often than not, he does not.He does make a strong case that American society is obsessed with the potential end of the world, so than other modern cultures This seems to stem from the advent of monotheism and the invention of the concept that there is a god who created everything and who judges the world and its human inhabitants This apocalyptic thinking has taken deep root in the Christian religion where various sects see the 2nd coming of their savior with the physical end of the world and possibly the rapture as closely related chronologically According to this book, before the advent of monotheism, time was viewed as circular and never ending Reminds me of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.At any rate, religiously based apocalypse are constantly in the immediate future no matter how that future rolls into the past Apocalyptic thinking based on science population growth, ecological collapse, nuclear holocaust, global warming , on the other hand, are all issues that we as human beings cannot afford to ignore They are disasters that we could potential avert due to our own actions It seems that a religious apocalypse can only be hastened by human actions But, the book claims when it is speaking in a voice that can be understood, by equating these two types of disasters, we end up taking no action on those whose outcome we can potentially change.At least that s what I think the book says.
- The Last Myth
- Mathew Barrett Gross
- 02 June 2019 Mathew Barrett Gross