Let's Talk 2000
"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"
April 1, 1997, Volume 3, Issue 6, a bi-weekly bulletin
Topics covered in this issue:
The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field:
Talk from the Forum:
New Millennial Sites:
The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
the pulse of 2000 A.D."
Our lead features look at two efforts underway to commemorate the April
6th, "1,000 Days to 2000" milestone. It is surprising to see how
this grassroots idea has spread over the past six months.
Given the global mood, don't expect a deluge of feel good stories on Sunday,
April 6th. But the discerning year 2000 watcher will likely see a number
of TV or newspaper clips devoted to the 1,000 Day phenomena.
There is a lot of movement lately over this. I just got word from Times
Square BID that they are getting into the act on April 6th. Congregations
in England are distributing special "1,000 Days to the Millennium"
liturgy. And my local paper just announced a "1,000 Days till a 1,000
Years of Peace" event in our downtown park for April 6th. I called
up the organizers and they were totally unaware that anyone, anywhere else
on the planet, was holding a similar millennial event. They put the G in
Our "Talk from the Forum" section features "Heaven's Gate:
Millennial Theater" discussions. After four days of silence, Talk 2000
burst forth with a flurry of posts on this mass cult suicide. Read how Applewhite's
millennial drama in San Diego qualifies as a genuine "theater of the
absurd." And feel free to join in on our discussions by posting to
Our next issue will feature any Earth Day news which carries a prominent
year 2000 spin. Please forward April 22nd millennium news to: email@example.com.
While almost 1,000 folks get "Let's Talk 2000" by email, statistically
speaking most of our audience reads it off the web. If you would like to
link your own web site to the current issue, we have rearranged things so
you can always point to the latest issue. Set up your html link to http://humnet.humberc.on.ca/current.htm.
News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."
VANCOUVER YOUTH TO CREATE "1,000 DAYS" PROJECT
(BP)--If you were to walk into the Vancouver Public Library this Saturday,
you would likely witness some 150 Canadian school kids and sponsors sitting
in teams of 10, charged with designing a creative community project that
could be carried out over the next 1,000 days to 2000.
Before and after this youth workshop, the Vancouver based International
Foundation of Learning will host two evenings of celebration, April 4th
and 5th, which will celebrate the 1,000 Day milestone. Friday evening greetings
from the Mayor of Vancouver will be followed by local High School Choirs.
A Saturday evening program will kick off with a "Festival of Lights"
procession, complete with hand-held flashlights. After the ethnic dancing
and theatrics, the "Global Citizenship 2000" Youth Congress will
celebrate midnight, April 6th, with a rousing first time ever sung chorus
of "This world is your world," an adaptation of "This Land
is Your Land."
The conductor of this "1,000 Days till 2000" youth spectacular
is Dr. Desmond Berghofer, a 58-year old "visioneer" and futurist.
Up until 1988, Berghofer served in the Alberta Department of Advanced Education.
Reflecting on two decades of service, Berghofer said, "We were good
at creating knowledge and teaching it, but those lessons kept piling up,
with no sense of what it was all adding up to." In 1988, Berghofer,
pulled out of this track, and teamed up in Vancouver with Dr. Geraldine
Schwartz, clinical psychologist. Together they launched Creative Learning
Int'l, which specializes in leadership and the creative management of change.
By the early '90s, Berghofer and Schwartz unveiled their "Countdown
2000" program, in anticipation of the July 1994, "2,000 Day till
2,000" milestone. Reflecting on the milestone they serve, Berghofer
said, "We've already been at this for 2,000 days, and it has been lonely
for the last 1,990 days!"
Lonely is the latest thing which the Creative Learning Int'l web site will
probably be this Saturday morning when they plan to broadcast live a Congress
address using CUSeeMe Broadcast. Check out before Saturday for how you can
view this plenary, as CUSeeMe software must be downloaded beforehand. http://griffin.multimedia.edu/~gc2000/
Berghofer set forth his "strategic visioning" concept in his 1992
"Celestine Prophecy" type novel entitled, "The Visioneers."
As he tells it, "the story is about a group of ordinary people who
changed the world." It is set in Israel. The lead characters are peacemakers,
and the New Jerusalem becomes a metaphor for the human future. http://www.waking.com/titles_v/visioneers.html
Since the futures movement came on the scene in 1967, Berghofer, who based
his doctorate dissertation on trend analysis, has shifted his focus from
forecasting the future to helping people enter into "the creative aspects
of the future." Because, as he puts it, the "future we get is
an outgrow of the values we hold and the action we take."
Berghofer hopes his "Global Citizenship 2000" congress for youth
will produce a vision of "what we wish to create in the future, and
steps needed to do it, personal and collective." And in 2000, Berghofer
claims Vancouver youth will "assemble again at the birth of the new
millennium to celebrate the fruit of the efforts begun 1,000 days earlier."
SILVERSTEIN STILL WRITING "1,000 DAYS" SCRIPT
(BP)--He talks in an unassuming manner. He and his family live in a modest
New Jersey flat. But 37-year old Robert Silverstein, author of some 40-published
children science books, has been on a six-month personal campaign to script
a shared dream he and others will unveil this Sunday, April 6th, "1000
Days to the Year 2000." And with five days to go, Silverstein is still
writing the drama.
The idea of creating one magical moment, in anticipation of a millennium
of days till 2000, gripped Silverstein this past September at the World
Peace 2000 confab in New York.
"I took the idea, the thought of 1,000 day count-up, instead
of just a passive countdown as an opportunity to create a better world one
day at a time between now and 2000."
By October, Silverstein had erected a well-linked web site on the concept,
which today features over 30 events and organizations hosting 1,000 Day
events www.worldpeace2000.com. They range from "World Action Millennium
2000" Barcelona Congress this weekend, http://www.wam2000.org/guest/comeng.html
to Greenwich's Royal Observatory's auction of each of the next 1,000 days
to worthy causes wishing to toot their own horn. It is kind of a "Queen
for a Day" campaign, this time for British charities http://www.greenwich2000.com.
Apparently, some folks are taking notice. As a "pied piper" of
peace, Silverstein claims he recently visited the Governor's Mansion in
New Jersey with a flock of kid-lobbyists. Also last week he took research
calls from ABC's Good Morning America, Fox and NBC TV. In addition, through
the leadership of a friend, "Peace Pilgrim II," they have secured
proclamations from governors of some 12 states for next week to be "Peace
Week" in honor of the 1,000 Day to 2000 passage. Still, Silverstein
is holding out for the big kahuna--a Presidential proclamation this Sunday
on the 1,000 days.
Asked what this might mean to America if Clinton where to jump on the 1,000
Day bandwagon, Silverstein imagines, "Just think if each morning's
presidential press conference between now and 2000 began with a positive
story on what real people are doing to help others." Lifted by child-like
inspiration, he continues, "NBC could have their own campaign of hope,
or USA Today. This is the opportunity to turn this country around."
"It's time to stop the millennial madness, the O.J. Trial, the replays
of the Oklahoma bombing, and resolve our anxieties about the turn of the
millennium. Why feed the fear that the end of the world is coming?"
"We have 60 million hours of volunteer work given each week. The amount
of care people give of themselves is astronomical. It is worthy of recognition."
Hey, "1,000 Points of Light," shine a bit brighter. How about
it "Random Acts of Kindness?" Get with the millennial calendar!
Silverstein's next project is to put together a 365-day "Peace on Earth"
calendar, which highlights a group promoting a special day each year set
on making a better world.
In that way, Silverstein claims, "Every single day will be consecrated,
or dedicated to celebrating all the victories humanity has achieved so far,
every single act of compassion."
Will the world wake-up Monday, April 7th to ask what happened the day before?
Silverstein admits even he doesn't know "how large this is going to
be," but he promises one thing, "it is going to be much bigger
than we all think." Source: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial note: With five days left till 1,000 Days to 2000, Silverstein
is happy to post any "April 6" event on the World Peace 2000 web.
Contact him ASAP at email@example.com.
Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"
HEAVEN'S GATE: MILLENNIAL THEATER?
At first the shock of it overwhelmed a nation. Thirty-nine people dead,
found in a San Diego rented mansion. Members were apparently killed through
self-administered suicide, in the hope of a UFO rescue. Curiously, the Talk
2000 forum was silent over this tragedy.
Then Monday, March 31st, John Morse broke the ice:
> Is it just me, or is this list oddly silent on the Heaven's Gate suicides?
> It would seem this venue is a proper one to talk about it, since it
> have a whiff of a certain brand of Millennialism about it. Do you think
> we'll be seeing more of this in the next thousand-odd days, as we count
> out the old?
I immediately responded to Morse's query. "I've been wondering the
same thing. To me Heaven's Gate suicide represents millennial delusion and
negation of life, big time. It is cultic UFO, mentally deranged.
I was pleased to see Leslie Stall on 60-minutes politely challenging a member
who had dropped out of Heaven's Gate with how out-of-touch Applewhite was.
This chap was even romantic about the whole New Age "beam-up"
notion, and his wife died in the mass suicide. He needs help.
It was mass suicide. Yes, informed, as far as we know, not like the Jim
Jones massacre. But any talk about this as a means of "human transformation" in relation to the millennium is insane.
You might recall that Talk 2000 had a long running thread on "Bo & Peep"
(Applewhite) in the fall of 1995, led by an Argentine academic. It got so
long, the author got spammed. Maybe we should have listened! Others also
talked about the mythology of Hale Bopp from time to time this last quarter,
and labeled the NASA Jupiter 1999 nuclear explosion as conspiracy and fundamentalism
Could it happen again? Yes. But this is not mainstream religion, nor civilization
at the advent of the third millennium. It is an aberration. It is the lunatic
And it is a tragedy which cannot be lightly dismissed. "Apocalyptic"
spirituality, even organized traditional religion, needs to reflect seriously
on what seeds it has sown or watered which led to a cultural climate that
could even support this millennial delusion.
Also new religious movements should take this as a reality check. I am waiting
to read what new age transformation leaders have to say about this publicly.
Yes, Applewhite was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. This reminds me
of the book, My Father's Guru, where a British youth grew up with
his father's guru in their house at times, only to learn later after an
apprenticeship, that his father's guru was delusional. His secretive monastic
lifestyle only reinforced myths among his small circle. One of the myths
he created through silence and deception was physical tele-portation. I
recommend the book to anyone who finds themselves at the place where they
need to separate folklore from faith.
As a Talk 2000 participant, I am interested in how the millennium movement
at large will react to this. Right now, the Heaven's Gate story is preempting
coverage of the 1,000 Days to 2000 story.
Will the folks saying "that life count-ups" navigate these troubled
millennial waters the next five days? Or will they loose a hearing by ignoring
the obvious and then complain the media is just focused on Oklahoma bombing
or Heaven's Gate.
We need to step out of our own John Lennon "imagine" cocoon this
week long enough to help people process their shock and make the connection
to creating the future.
The message I am dishing out to the media this week is this: "We must
say no to make-believe delusions in order to make room for the moral choices
which affirm life. If we do this, the next 1,000 days to the millennium
will 'count-up' for time and eternity."
IN HIS ICEBREAKING POST, Morse also asked:
> Finally, a question from me, a generic agnostic, to those of you who
> believe in afterlives (and polls claim that a vast majority of Americans
> do): How can I be sure that you guys aren't planning a similar stunt?
... as a person of faith, I am saddened that this made-in-America millennial
cult appropriated so much Christian symbolism for its own narcissistic aims.
Even the timing during the holy week of Easter was deliberate.
At the end of the second millennium, we need to reject the "culture
of death" which promotes personal transcendence or cultic spirituality
at the expense of life. Abortion, euthanasia, or suicide are not metaphors
for human advancement. Human service, selflessness and compassion are.
Sunday, April 6th, is right around the corner. "Expect a miracle"
they say. I would settle for a *human* miracle of shouldering greater responsibility
for our own millennial dreams and actions. [End of post]
EXPECT A MIRACLE is the byline of the positive-thinking "World Peace
2000" network. USC's rhetoric professor Stephen O'Leary, firstname.lastname@example.org
picked on this yearning for hope. He offers a more sober view of our collective
capacity to contain the millennial virus which has infected a generation
of "X-file" viewers. O'Leary writes:
I applaud Jay Gary's thoughtful words on the subject of the recent mass
suicide in light of the upcoming millennium. And I share in his hope for
a "human miracle of shouldering greater responsibility for our
own millennial dreams and actions." However, my own view is somewhat
less optimistic than Jay's about the possibility for such a miracle, given
what we have seen in the last week and what we know about the wider contexts
in which this occurred....
I attended a "Prophecy Conference" here in Los Angeles a few weeks
ago (March 7-9), where there were many groups and presenters similar to
the Heaven's Gate group in both content and style. Two of the most common
themes of the weekend were UFOs and Comet Hale-Bopp; presenters included
Whitley Strieber, author of numerous popular and supposedly non-fictional
accounts of alien abduction and related phenomena; John Hogue, probably
the best-selling author of books on Nostradamus (over 800,000 copies in
print of Nostradamus and the Millennium and The Millennium Book
of Prophecy and other similar works; various speakers on aliens, crop
circles, and Native American prophecies.....
I am convinced that the Heaven's Gate folks would have been quite at home
in that environment. Virtually everyone was convinced that the comet was
in some way associated with an impending alien visitation or was a fulfillment
of the Hopi Prophecy of the "Blue Star Kachina," or what have
And the first thing I will say about this conference is that on the surface,
it appears that Jay Gary is right to relegate this sort of thing to the
"lunatic fringe." There were actually very few people attending,
though the conference organizers had devoted a considerable budget for ads
in local media... Just judging from low attendance alone [200 estimate],
it would seem that this particular strand of millennial fever has not struck
large numbers of folks yet, even here in Los Angeles, known as the "fruit,
nut, and flake" capital of the world.
However, there are other sorts of indications than attendance alone. The
speakers at the conference included some major authors of popular books
(Whitley Strieber must be pretty rich by now), and one has to look beyond
the conference itself to see the impact and reach of these ideas. I also
looked over the book tables, and what I saw in the literature as well as
in the panel sessions confirmed some intuitions I have been developing for
One thing for certain is that the alien abduction movement and the whole
UFO community is growing increasingly and more explicitly apocalyptic in
its outlook. This theme has been present in these works from the beginning,
but it is getting more and more noticeable. Strieber's new book features
a long section on prophecy and revelations of the future (hint: don't live
near any volcanos), and other speakers as well associated the aliens with
a major catastrophic global transformation in the next decade.
What interested me the most was the way both panelists and audience members
linked their beliefs and expectations to the products of popular culture
and media. They are clearly all watching X-Files regularly; they watch shows
like "Strange Universe" and "Sightings" and find these
shows to offer credible evidence that some major revelation and/or catastrophe
is about to occur.
One can very easily say that the popularity of these shows means nothing,
that people view them as entertainment and don't understand them literally;
but I think we should be cautious about dismissing these phenomena too quickly.
For many fans, the line between fiction and reality is blurring or even
disappearing. In this regard, I find it fascinating and disturbing to read
these words from the Heaven's Gate web page (this is from the document called
"Overview of Present Mission"):
> To help you understand who we are, we have taken the liberty to express
> a brief synopsis in the vernacular of a popular "science fiction"
> entertainment series. Most readers in the late 20th Century will
> certainly recognize the intended parallels. It is really quite
> interesting to see how the context of fiction can often open the mind
> advanced possibilities which are, in reality, quite close to fact.
I suspect that the Heaven's Gate members are not alone in their endorsement
of this last sentence. Other facts bear out the impact of popular-culture
fictions on this group's beliefs and practices: in the video testimonies
left behind to explain their suicide, the leader, "Do"/Applewhite
explicitly compared the group to the "Body-Snatchers" of the 1956
sci-fi classic, and other members spoke of watching lots of "Star Trek"
and "Star Wars," explaining that they were "on the holodeck"
and preparing to beam up "out of the holodeck into reality."
Well. I am sure that most viewers of X-Files and Stark Trek will not go
out and join suicide cults, but we all need to be concerned when we see
the quasi-religious content of pop-culture narratives coming back at us
in this way.
New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"
THE HOLY SEE: The Vatican Site for Jubilee 2000
It was 18-months in the making, and as of Easter Sunday it came out of the
tomb, so to speak. Not only does the Vatican now have its own domain, www.vatican.va, but it has its own "Jubilee 2000" section. This artful site features church documents, excerpts from its "Tertium Millennium" magazine and the pope's influential "Tertio Millennio Adveniente" letter.
Unfortunately, it is "picture" poor, and has no links yet to the numerous online national Holy Year efforts launched by Catholic bishops around the world.
THE BILLENNIUMThe Official Celebration of the Year 2000
Tune your browsers on Sunday, April 6th to the Billennium band-width,
as the Mitten Group plans to relaunch their high graphic web site. Billed
in advance to the media as "the definitive on-line destination for
celebrating the Year 2000" this new-born site allows a global audience
to cast their vote in the Billennium Hall of Fame, discover how we
celebrated the last millennium and learn about ways schools and communities
can become involved in The Billennium. There's even the opportunity
to register your ultimate Millennium's Eve Resolution, which will
be downloaded onto an optical disk and launched onboard a satellite to become
an orbiting Billennium Time Capsule! All this on April 6th, and more.
"Your link to the third millennium"
Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
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Publisher: Robin Wainwright
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
Publication keywords: media, millennium, groups, society, events
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
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