Those who believe in the End Times have much reason to celebrate: a mass death pandemic has driven people to extremes, street crime is on the rise, after two years of surprising restraint by the criminally inclined, the earth is experiencing an unprecedented number of climate catastrophes, the anti-Christ leads one of the two major political parties in the longest running democracy in the world, armies of angry believers, driven by infuriating lies, are on the march all across the globe. It’s a great day for those who believe a Messiah will return to cast unbelievers into eternal hellfire while the faithful go up to heaven for an endless celebration.
The rise in crime is an interesting one, it has taken a long time to burst forth, given the nation’s pain, deprivation, desperation, the fact that most people are wearing the identity-obscuring highwayman masks anyway. Crime, defined by statutes, is written by our best citizens. Crime enforcement is famously selective. Wealthy citizens are allowed to negotiate deals most of the time, the poor never are allowed to negotiate anything but how many years they will spend locked up (and the “deals” are marginal there). White men who commit deliberate voter fraud are given a stern talking to, and probation, a Black woman with a felony record, apparently cleared to vote by local officials, is sentenced to five years in prison for voter fraud. Anyone who finds such things clearly racist is clearly the racist. Up is down, black is white, if you believe your own eyes, you are a traitor. 150 police officers were injured, maimed, during “legitimate political discourse” that halted the constitutional business of Congress, so what is your point if you are a cop who lost an eye?
Unless you believe this raging chaos is a harbinger of the coming Apocalypse, it’s natural to believe we are pretty much fucked. No matter how much evidence comes out — about the rapidly approaching point of no return with our fossil-fuel doomed planet, about the deliberate indifference to the hundreds of thousands who die deaths of despair from highly lucrative opioids, from guns, about the 98X higher likelihood that you will die of Covid-19 if you are not vaccinated, about the ignorance that comes from banning and burning books, from the parliamentary trick that cuts off all DEBATE of any issue that one party deems inconvenient (anti-lynching bills, voting rights bills, Human Rights bills), about the destructive force of an internet platform that spreads lies to billions in its influence, to a mad criminal blowhard who is still blowing as hard as he can, with every breath — there is no accountability for any of the open crimes of the super-rich and well-connected. The only cause for optimism, if you are given to monkish superstition, is that all those who deny Christ will be finally and forever cast into the pit of hell, while believers will go on to eternal, joyous life in heaven. For the rest of us: a mental health crisis.
Which is not to say that madness and a belief that all this horror is actually good news, as it heralds the prophesized return of Jesus Christ, are mutually exclusive. Many mentally ill people are fervent believers. Many other mentally ill people do not believe in an all-powerful, all-loving divine being who, though He loves humanity as His greatest creation, tolerates torture, starvation, rape, murder and all the rest. The line between madness and sanity turns out to be blurry as hell, highly permeable.
“The Truth,” quoted Christopher Walken, in a great interview with him in the NY Times, “is good, interesting is better.” Madness? Fuck if I know.