"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"
August 15, 1996, Volume 2, Issue 14, a bi-weekly bulletin
Topics covered in this issue:
The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field:
Michael Grosso (email@example.com), author of The Millennium Myth (Quest, 1995), responded: "I recall in Victor Frankl's account of his tenure in the death camps the statement that it was his mental picture of his wife, his love for her, and his hope and expectation of seeing her in the future that gave him strength to survive. (Frank survived and became the founder of logotherapy.)
"Also coming to mind are the sundry reports I have read in the literature of psychosomatics that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness correlate with low levels of survival capacity in cancer victims. In general, people who have something to live for in the future seem to be able to handle stress better. I've read on more than one occasion loving your work one is best predictor of longevity.
"Surely our vision of the future is a crucial variable in the art of living and the art of survival. Isn't the potency of the Millennium Myth itself due to its futuristic orientation, its empowering effect on the imagination of those suffering from present ills? People sometimes bemoan the otherworldliness of Christianity and say, as Nietzsche did, 'be true to the earth,' etc. But this is to miss an important point; no matter what we have or may accomplish in the present, we still have an appetite for more, indeed, as Augustine, Ficino, and Unamuno (in this century) said, we have a "hunger for immortality"--which is the hunger for the future.
"On the other hand, as I try to show (others have made the case, too) in my book, The Millennium Myth, there are millenarian motifs that pervaded the psychology of National Socialism and the Russian Revolution. An empowering sense of the future may serve to justify the most shameless barbarities inflicted on those unlucky enough to be stuck in the mere present.
"It seems to me that we might state our present predicament in the following terms: as a culture, postmodern, postcommunist, postreligionist, etc, we seem to need a myth of the future, a myth of meaning to mobilize our will to live and to live creatively and more humanly....
"Of course, we need new visions of the future that avoid crude moral dualism, fanaticism, and inhumanism."
A MILLENNIUM MYTH FOR OUR TIMES
Continuing the theme of searching for a shared story at the dawn of the third millennium, UCLA's Charles Cameron <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted a well written account of how both individuals and societies craft "myths" which explain their future:
"A plausible argument can be made--and therapists of one sort of another are often the ones who make it--that humans understand themselves by the 'story' they tell about themselves: that we carry a sort of account of ourselves with us, in which past episodes as we recall them illustrate 'who we are' in a way which gives meaning to the present and limits and focuses our hopes for the future.
"The phrase 'as we recall them' is important here, because (a) some parts of the story only emerge into our awareness when we are met with particular kinds of situation, and (b) there is often some fictionalization going on, or more kindly put, we seem to 'work' our stories in the same way that we may 'work' our dreams while remembering them -- and from a psychological point of view, that working is as important as the dream or past event itself. Furthermore, psychological 'growth' seems to involve retelling parts of our story in ways that liberate the protagonist (ourself) by opening new perspective and thus new so to speak plot lines...
"Societies, too, seem to have accounts of the human predicament which take the form of stories, and which characteristically include the known and the unknown, the visible and the invisible, the rational and the irrational, the stuff philosophy knows and the more things in heaven and earth than it dreams of....
"When we say we need a new myth, then, we are not IM hopefully HO saying that we need a new excuse for going about business as usual ('let's colonize the moon') but that we need a story which *sings* to us, containing minimally:
--a cosmology which encompasses both what is 'in our philosophy' and the 'more things in heaven and earth,' the dream as well as sensible 'reality',
--expressed in such a way that it neither strains our credulity nor deprives our imagination,
--modular (like the Navaho myth) so that we can approach it equally well from atheistic, scientific, Balinese, Navaho, poetic, Catholic or agnostic backgrounds,
--capable of ritualized representation or expression, and above all, expressed in a language (or languages: words, but perhaps also visual images, music, etc.) of surpassing genius, whether deriving from the individual (Shakespeare, Wagner) or the folk (Homer, the Navaho).
"It may take the form of a corpus of stories, an epic poem or poems, a film or films -- even a game perhaps? ....It will come either by overwhelming genial inspiration, or by the long and fruitful work over time of many within our community. And it will speak to us deeper than we know or would be capable of knowing."
New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"
24 HOURS IN CYBERSPACE: "A Digital Time Capsule of a Single Day"
San Francisco based NetObjects showcases a millennial rehearsal of 2,000 photographs, captured by 1,000 amateur photographers. All images were taken over the course of one day, around the world, to documenting the harmonies and paradoxes of life in cyberspace. Organized in eight areas, here is a virtual painting on the walls of a digital cave, memorialized at the dawn of the new millennium.
"Your link to the third millennium"
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