kayaking, autumn and apocalypse on planet circus

October 13, 2008

We had a three day weekend and I drove to San Luis Obispo to see some friends whom we haven’t seen for some twenty odd years. Great drive through the desert and down to the Californian coastline. Beautiful area and great to see Pete and Estelle. She’s a pharmacist at the local men’s colony… (penitentiary), and he runs an art gallery and coffee shop that also operates as one of the best performance venues in the town. The city reminded me a lot of Grahamstown but bigger and way better equipped with restaurants and pubs. Huge student population from Cal Poly. Pete takes me ocean kayaking the next day. A slow rhythmic paddle though sea otter infested kelp, cormorant covered rocks and the odd regal pelican gliding by. Apart from the highway next to the coast the silence just a little out to sea is meditative, as is the gentle rock of a kindly swell. It’s invigorating. A treat to get out of Vegas and into the ocean and catch up with old friends.

I am reading Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Suttree’ and his descriptive prose is awe inspiring. His vocabulary positively intimidating and rhythms so sweet. It’s slow going cos every sentence sounds good enough to say again a few times out loud and so pretty much every page I don’t remember where we are, who is what and why they are doing what they do, because of the sheer beauty of the sound of the language. I’d better get over this and find out what the damn book is about. Also reading George Carlin bless him and writing some songs. Daniel maybe can use them. He has hooked up with some musicians here and they have had one jam session together to see of anything gels.

Been thinking about the obsession that revivalist Christianity has with the apocalypse and more and more the sense that it is impending. Still have to see Bill Maher’s Religilous movie, but there is a sense that many of the right wing Christians welcome the apocalypse since they of course will be undergoing rapture and first class accommodation to heaven on white horses. Now I have had a sense of this catastrophic change the world is due for some time and most of my creative work over the past decade or so has been set in a post apocalyptic landscape. The news that we humans were changing the planet’s structures is not new. But now this enthusiasm with which religious people are embracing the doctrine and zeitgeist of Armageddon makes me uneasy. There seems no willingness to admit that the changes coming are due to human action and that it is all part of God’s glorious plan. The war in the middle east against the infidels, the time of climactic catastrophe and earthquakes; everything seems to fall exactly into place and verifies the doomsday predictions of the religious texts. So there is no impulse to change behaviour in order to perhaps have less of an impact so fewer humans die miserable violent deaths and the possiblility of life on the planet existing beyond 2012 might become a reality. Ah well things to think about as the weather in Vegas gets colder. Actually wore a jersey for the first time in Vegas yesterday.

5 Responses to “kayaking, autumn and apocalypse on planet circus”

  1. Dijon Says:

    Hey AB
    Just saw Religulous tonite! Sounds almost like you wrote his script. I’m with both of you: it’s time to make a stand against reckless, thoughtless and, in many cases, just plain stupid religious belief. However, if making a stand gets in the way of my bourbon drinking…..
    Stay warm.

  2. tamara Says:

    I like what Eric Francis says, “For those of us in Western civilization who have food to eat and warm beds to sleep in, the apocalypse functions as a psychological factor. It’s the projection of the fear of individual death onto the whole society. Those who can’t process or address their own fear of death — a lot of people, by the way — are the ones most likely to have to project it onto everyone else. To me this is why rapture Christians are so scary: they cannot conceive of themselves dying; they fear hellfire and damnation; we all have to go at once. I guess so it’s easier for them that way (it’s the same basic psychology as the murder-suicides we read about in shopping malls). When you mix this up with religion, politics and the atomic bomb, that is certifiably scary. Nobody who has the apocalypse in their personal belief system should be allowed anywhere near the controls for the atomic bomb.”

  3. Kutloano Kunutu Says:

    Hello Andrew
    My name is Kutloano Kunutu from Rhodes University. I just got hold of your blog and i was wondering if there was any chance that we could conduct an interview over email for an Activate article i would like to write on your experiece with the cirque du soleil. my email address is random_saint@yahoo.com, if you have the time it would be great if don’t that cool too, haha. thanks. enjoy the rest of your day/night.

  4. Devlin Says:

    I have been reading quite a bit of this on South African websites in the past year – a lot is linked to Siener van Rensburg’s prophecies, and a lot is linked to biblical texts.

    Here is a different take on it:
    I wonder how much of it is linked to our (human) need to have goals/timelines – to avert the fear of simply existing and operating without any quantifiable meaning? If I know that next year around the Ides of March will be the beginning of the end – it gives me purpose for the next 5 months. I have to make peace with God, look out for my family and try save as many souls as possible. I know it is a very business-like view, possibly, hypothesising about the need for short- or medium-term goals… but it’s a thought.

    Add this to the frightening fundamental obsession with all things evil, and damnation (“dit is duiwels goed” – giving anything new or vaguely enjoyable to Satan) and it leaves one with a very disconcerting sense of being surrounded by gloom.

    It also absolves us of responsibility for our violation of the planet, her resources and our violation of different people’s human rights. As you pointed out – if it is all part of a glorious plan, then I am merely a pawn and not a cog in the giant wheel hurtling towards the cliff.

    One can not discount the bogeyman-type strategy that humans have used on humans for centuries either. I am not a conspiracy theorist but control by fear is a basic, and effective, human strategy.

    Something that I can not make peace with is the coming and passing of dates that were/are marked as the apocolypse – I have encountered serious sites with java clocks counting down the days. Literally. “Dear readers, the end is in 456 days, 13 hours and 44 seconds”. And then?

    I suppose it is fair to say that the end IS happening now. As every day that passes, we are one day nearer to our own individual ends, and thus, the end of the collective of lives presently on this planet. (Which, interestingly, is 10% of all humans ever!)

    To what degree is what we are doing now causally related to the demise of the planet, or our species? Is it necessarily measurable as the cause of our demise?

    What if a giant comet crashes into our planet?
    Would that then render our destruction of this planet, her resources and her creatures and fellow humans irrelevant?

    Enjoy the desert!

  5. hey there andrew,
    back in the States — incredibly, I have contracted African Tick Bite Fever, which makes me seem very grand and colonial to my Philadelphia colleagues. I sit out on my verandah in my pith helmet, drinking gin and tonics and taking potshots at passing wildlife — exclusively cats and squirrels in South Philadelphia. In reality, when I say it’s the African equivalent of Lyme Disease, it seems a lot more banal.
    Anyhow, I’m on the upswing, and it was lovely to meet you and see UBOM in Grahamstown. Send me an email and we’ll keep in touch.
    all best wishes,

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