I promise there's a method to my madness...
The first rapture I remember surviving was when I was fifteen years old. I was living down south, and some doomsday zealot televangelist started waxing 'pocalypse. He gave the date upon the calendar, even going as far as to give the time.
Well, myself and a few cats I knew at the time decided we'd bite. I remember vividly that day. I remember a few minutes before the purported end of the world as we knew it the Motley Crue song On with the Show was cued up, for REM's take on such things would not come out for another few months yet. This masterful DJing was supposed to coincide with the last judgment to the heartbeat.
The song ended, on cue, but the world did not. Nothing. Imagine the 'pocalyptic blueballs that occurred.
"Well, that was fun," the fucking indian said, breaking the curious and disappointed silence. "Who wants eggrolls?"
An hour later, that sangha was doing damage control. Something about misreading the omens. The deity he preyed to changed its mind or the angels, elves, and other fey got the date wrong. He was oh so sorry-as so many of his ilk were in those days-but he would make it right. He figured it out. The right day and the right time.
And I was there on that date. I waited in silence. Again, nothing happened. And this time, the sangha offered no excuses.
From this I took a few lessons; the first, was a reaffirmation of something I picked from my mother; when you get defensive, when you do damage control, you've fucked up. You're guilty, and you're trying to make excuses. An observation I have seen made fact too many times to count without the removal of clothing.
The second was institutionalized religion was full of shit. Faith is what you felt head, heart, and gut whereas religion was that dog and pony show you did to shut your family up because your views were far too alien. Anyone who claimed to know the will of god-any god-was a flim-flam man.
Bear in mind this was around the time of the PTL scandal. This was when televangelists my tiny world over were being crucified wholesale for fucking whores of Babylon in dingy backrooms whilst parting the credulous from their cash. To say Ozzy Osbourne took a little bit of sadistic delight in Miracle Man over Jimmy Swaggart's indiscretions would be like saying the sun sets in the west. A given.
In the years following, there was the Branch Dravidians and Heavens Gate. But, like those obscure raptures when I lived down south, they probably really didn't count. The big one had do with another decade, another century, another millennium, shedding its skin. Y2K was suddenly the big buzzword bugaboo monster under the beds and in closets to frighten one into getting onto the path of righteousness.
And on that new year, I was standing upon a balcony with my walkman, a mixed tape, and clove cigarette. The songs, which I cued with the witching hour, were REM's It's the End of the World of as We know It (And I Feel Fine) followed by Black Planet from the Sisters of Mercy. The songs played and the clove was smoked. Nothing happened. Not even a minor power outage somewhere. Like back when I was fifteen, I was 'pocalypticly blueballed.
I have had nightmares of a 'pocalypse as long as I can remember. Fire and brimstone in the form of mushroom clouds, which burn shadows into walls. Some might say I am possessed of visions. But perhaps it's because I grew up during the tail end of a war of ice between the empires whose totem animals were the eagle and the bear. Choose your superstition.
Having survived twenty-three years since that first rapture, perhaps I have grown a little cynical. The doomsayers do try awfully hard to prove their point, and backpedal magnificently when their ten-pence guess misses the mark. Those who are convinced the world will end because of the Mayan's sense of timekeeping is a recent, and amusing example. Lee, whilst sorry, sloppy drunk, tried to tell me something about that and the magnetic poles shifting.
"Bitch, please," I said, rocket-fueled upon Irish whiskey and red wine at the time. "I have lived through at least two raptures and Y2K, and you expect me to take this seriously?!?"
I had occasion to come across someone into Thelema who waxed 'pocalyptic because apparently Scarlet Woman didn't get down and dirty with the Beast in order to stop an earthquake. And all I could wonder was if the Beast didn't like her when she was down and dirty, did he like her when she was clean? The cat into Thelema did not appreciate my inquiry, which I might have found curious, had I not recalled the auspice of institutions and waxing 'pocalypse.
But, because my hypocrisy knows no bounds, I know how the world will end, although I'd rather not be accused of being a prophet. It involves a giant ball of hot gas, which is not one's local politician, sangha, or pundit of choice. No, this is a celestial nuclear furnace, which is commonly called the sun.
See, a few billion years from now, the sun, Sol, the very star, which sustains this tiny world will expand, becoming a red giant. This will be a few million years after its baked all life as we understand it from the planet. As it expands, it will consume all of the inner planets. As a ham-handed validation of one set of mythology, our world will be destroyed in fire and brimstone. Of course, it is said, that fire and destruction is the very womb of creation. After all, the universe was created out of a cataclysmic explosion we have yet to be able to fully contemplate.
Ain't that a paradoxical mindfuck?
There is mythology that states Man cannot know the end of the world. I believe it's an Abrahamic story. All things considered, I can groove with that. Things would be awfully boring, and slightly fatalistic, if there was a definite date.
Of course, the terrifyingly sad thing is there are those who all but masturbate to the vision of the end times. Whether it is perceived as a cosmic reset button, or, an excuse to do whatever because it hardly matters and we're all dead men walking, is but a philosophical bent. You can shoot a thousand holes of valid fact into their tin-foil hat conspiracy theories, and they'll not listen. They have their mythology, and they'd not have it any other way.