One might imagine – the way people spoke about it – that the beginning of the year 2000 (for those, the majority, who counted and celebrated it as beginning): January 1, 2000, was a great, momentous, historic, even apocalyptic, high “mountain peak” over which man passed. But the fact is that, whatever man’s ideas and imaginations may have been, one can now say that mankind took its normal, earthly, small, human footsteps over this imagined great “mountaintop”!
Remember the worldwide computer catastrophe which was going to disrupt at least international communications, if not global civilization,…with jet aircraft and high speed trains malfunctioning and crashing,…major cities going dark due to massive power failures, people trapped in elevators, hospital surgery rooms without lights, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.
Remember the ending of the world? The Messiah or “the Beast–666” – depending on one’s scenario of the ending of time and history – who was coming to save or enslave the entire world? Remember the apocalyptic fears and prophecies by some of…floods, volcanoes, devastations earthly, social, economic, angelic and demonic, of every imaginable kind? Remember civilization and mankind at the approaching, perilous edge of…? Or is this all not already mostly forgotten?
An otherwise fairly normal man I met in California was so convinced – or self-deceived – about 1998 that the “Y2K bug” was going to bring about the total collapse of the American economy, mass hunger, social disorder, etc, that he sold his house, and all of his unnecessary earthly possessions, so that he would be ready! And, somewhat like many other modern “John the Baptists” crying in civilization, he warned of the wilderness to come.
As I wrote three years before “the Millennium” began (See “2000 A.D., or Numerological Idolatry?”, English, No. 7, Feb. 1997), I now write one year after what most people more or less unconsciously agreed to believe was the beginning of the year 2000. And though most people who believe that they live in the year “2000” live as if the religious foundation to the date had little to no meaning or significance – could people live well, I ask again, if it was concluded that there is no real meaningful “date” to the time we live in? If “AD” perhaps to say it crudely – but in a way consistent with the “materialistic” view of man and time – rather meant: After the Dinosaurs?
The Millennial Fears and Parties of the beginning of the year 2000 – which I traveled to the USA in part especially to observe from there humanity transversing – reveals much about the human species. The great celebration of the 850th anniversary of Moscow was similarly revealing. And the tremendous social changes in Russia from Soviet to…post-Soviet?…“Democratic”?…“Dollar”?…Russia are also very revealing of the human being. Those who wished to learn about humanity, human character – had a rare opportunity to observe and learn from the preparations, the anxieties, expectations, beliefs and hopes, etc, of the year “2000” – for a “millennium” does not happen often! Not even in a long lifetime! We are all rather lucky in fact to have lived across the year “2000” in this way!
As tremendous an event as it was supposed to be (and yes, some still believe – and fear? – it begins on January 1, 2001), people seem mostly now to have forgotten it. What happened to the grand event?
Is this really homo sapiens? A wise creature which learns from its mistakes? I personally don’t think so. Silly; forgetful (homo amnesiac?) – yes. But wise?
That humanity – individually and collectively – needs to believe that it is part, in its daily and greater life, of some sort of meaningful story in which it vitally participates, and which it at least imagines itself to understand, is clear. It is also clear that what it seems to need to imagine, is often not true; as well as that the human creature does not wish to learn, or necessarily even remember, this.
Remember the anticipations and celebrations of the year “2000”! Wasn’t it a very instructive “open lesson” on humanity?
First published in the magazine English, #48, December 2000, p. 1.