Let's Talk 2000
"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"
October 1, 1997, Volume
3, Issue 11, 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."
After a six-month suspension of the Peace Process, talks between Israelis
and Palestinians are scheduled to resume October 6th. This following a recent
Hamas bombing in Ben Yehuda mall and the occupation by Israeli settlers
of an apartment in Arab East Jerusalem.
How do the millennial views of Jews, Christians and Muslims contribute to
the cycle of violence in the Middle East? Is there a millennial connection,
or a moral equivalency between bombs and bulldozers in the Holy Land? Is
there an eschatology of peace which can bind these people together?
The Center for Millennial Studies is holding its annual conference at Boston
University, Nov. 2-4th. Its topic is "The Apocalyptic Other: Millennial
Views of Unbelievers". If you live in the U.S., particularly the northeast,
I encourage you to take off time to attend the event. The costs for lunch
meals and registration is less than $100.
Several colleages from Talk 2000, including Richard Landes, Stephen O'Leary,
Ted Daniels, Charles Cameron and myself will be there, in addition to an
international line-up of millennium scholars, including Michael Barkum.
Write the Center for schedule and registration information firstname.lastname@example.org.
The big news story this month comes from the United Nations. Over the past
three years, the UN has been upstaged on 2000 by the Pope and the U.S. President.
Now it appears a new Secretary-General from Africa may have seen the light
at the end of our century's dark and dangerous tunnel. Read the feature
to discover how an Assembly 2000 could climax UN reforms.
Have you noticed this year how the media's "hyper-anticipation"
of the turn of millennium is spewing forth a curious mix of hype and cynicism?
Could these two voices spoil the advent of the third millennium? Our "Conviction,
Suspicion and Second Naivete" thread in our "Talk from the Forum"
section offers a way forward.
If you find this issue of "Let's Talk 2000" interesting and helpful,
forward it to a colleague who might enjoy. We are always looking for new
friends who would like to take-in the "heartbeat of 2000 A.D. in cyberspace."
And if you have been getting this bulletin for some time, perhaps you would
like to join our daily discussions for a season. If so write us at email@example.com
and request an invitation.
News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."
MILLENNIUM ASSEMBLY WILL CLIMAX UN REFORM
Seeking to restore confidence in a battered United Nations, Secretary-General
Kofi Annan called on the 52nd General Assembly in September to prepare an
extraordinary "Millennium Assembly" during the year 2000.
The Assembly 2000 proposal is the climax of "Renewing the United Nations:
A Programme for Reform," put forward in July as "the most extensive
and far-reaching reforms in the fifty-two-year history" of the world
If approved in the present General Assembly, its year 2000 session would
be peppered with "summit segments" at which heads of Government
would come in order to articulate the challenges for the new millennium
and embrace a more-cost effective UN to serve the world community.
The high profile pattern in the '90s of UN world summits on the Earth, Women
or Settlements has come under fire from member states. Critics point to
wasteful spending and the difficulty of ratifying global treaties which
concede national sovereignty.
Rather than abandon the UN's role to prioritize the world's agenda, "what
the Secretary-General wants to do in 2000 is turn the General Assembly itself
into a world summit," claims Robert Muller, chancellor of the UN's
University of Peace in Costa Rica. "Following the smaller 'Rio after
Five' pattern in the General Assembly," Muller claims "UN delegates
and their money would remain in U.S." and raise less criticism.
The planning of the first of those summits appears to have already begun.
On September 10th in New York, Secretary-General Annan urged non-governmental
organizations to hold a companion "People's Millennium Assembly"
in the year 2000, in order to cement a new partnership between those organizations
and the United Nations.
For Muller these developments are a dream come true. Twenty years ago in
his capacity as assistant UN Secretary-General, he proposed that the United
Nations hold a "world-wide Bimillennium Celebration [in 2000] preceded
by unparalleled thinking, preparation, [and] inspiration..."
In the intervening years, Muller's call disappearred in the UN bureacracy,
despite his quiet efforts to put it on the agenda. He claims, "The
General Assembly will take another eight months or so to work out what all
this will mean, but we're finally beginning to talk business."
In addition to the Millennium Assembly, the present General Assembly will
also decide what International Years will be proclaimed for 2000 and 2001.
Since mid-summer three proposals have been put on the General Assembly agenda.
Argentina has called for an"International Year of Thanks-Giving"
in 2000 to honor gratitude "as the noblest expression of the human
Ivory Coast has proposed that 2000 be proclaimed the "International
Year of the Culture of Peace" to celebrate the vision of peace on earth
and the need for long-term action to create it.
And Japan has put forward a resolution calling for the year 2001 as the
International Year of Volunteers to recognize the growth of volunteer service
Despite these proposals, it is uncertain whether the United Nation's financial
situation will allow them to take a defining role in the burgeoning millennium
The world body is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, mainly because of
arrears by the United States, which owes $1.5 billion for regular dues and
peacekeeping ventures. The U.S. Congress has so far withheld funds contingent
on UN budget-cutting measures.
On September 18th, in a surprise move to restore confidence, Ted Turner,
the founder of Cable News Network, announced he would donate $1 billion
to United Nations charities over the next 10 years.
Annan said the funds would not offset the 1.5 billion dollars that the United
States owes the United Nations because the world body cannot accept contributions
from private citizens for that purpose. Source: Bimillennial Press, firstname.lastname@example.org
Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap
of recent conversations"
CONVICTION, SUSPICION, AND SECOND NAIVETE
It has been a busy month on Talk 2000, with the voices of idealism and self-criticism
taking the dance floor. One particular foray worth noting was between the
ever optimistic Steve Diamond email@example.com,
and the probing John Morse MorseJ@nasd.com.
In response to the promotion of "one day in peace, january 1, 2000",
Morse asked Diamond:
> Back to a question I had a while back -- how are you going to get the
> pro leagues not to play football on 1/1/00?
> Steve Diamond wants no violence anywhere on earth, but others might
> point out this is a dandy time for martial arts competition.
> People acting positively in different directions can come to blows.
> neither side has any doubt, then the clash will continue until a side
> rendered inactive.
Will 2000 witness an increasing clash of convictions, duels of hype and
cynicism which mar the millennium moment? Here is what I posted on September
In a yet to be published piece by William Johnston (author of Celebrations:
The cult of anniversaries), Johnston draws a concept from the French
philosopher, Paul Ricoeur (The Conflict of Interpretations, 1969)
to illuminate what we are experiencing in our millennial conversations.
In essence, Ricoeur puts forth three modes of linguistic discourse which
guide social constructs. Johnston applies these to the bimillennium. The
first voice is conviction which endorses without criticism the "millennium
moment" and treasures its emotional uniqueness.
In response, the voice of suspicion interjects doubt, either through
humor (Mark Twain) or mocking (Voltaire). This voice needs someone else's
conviction to sabotage. With respect to the millennium, the voice of suspicion
decries its arbitrariness [of the calendar] as in, "Is it 2000? or
2001?" [or of competing convictions]. This voice reminds us that the
elation of the new millennium may live on in nostalgia, but will not change
Ricoeur's third voice is second naivete. Like an ongoing thread on
Talk 2000, Johnston feels this voice oscillates between the voice of conviction
and suspicion to transcend the duel of cheerleaders and detractors.
Johnston writes: "Second naivete inserts balance, two-sideness, and
receptivity where combatants display ideology, impatience, and defensiveness."
Johnston recommends this voice as the antidote to millennial hype and cynicism.
He unfortunately notes that its syntheses are preciousness, ever shifting,
and must be reformulated again and again.
Recently Buzz Magazine interviewed me for a September piece they later entitled,
"The Millennium from Hell." In comments of mine they quoted I
was comparing the elation of the millennium to the super-experience of the
fall of the Berlin Wall, the Landing of the Man on the Moon, etc, etc.
Immediately following that quote, they cynically wrote: "Oh, shut up!"
and went on to take a certain civic pride that Los Angeles had not distinguished
itself in planning millennium parties as Rio, Las Vegas, or New York has.
Later Mark Mitten of the Billennium commented to me that Buzz marked
a new height in cynicism about the millennium. Who will take the floor after
the dance of Cynicism and Hype? Perhaps Second Naivete? I hope so.
I take Johnston's call to "improve the triage of voices" as a
wake-up call to diffuse the hyper-anticipation which could mar the next
28 months until 2000.
It is also a word to the wise. If a group wants to transform society through
the millennium, they best add to their agenda of festivities, a building
project or community gifts, as the "communitas" or spontaneous
elation will not endure.
MILLENNIUM CONCENTRATE: DIANA
This from Charles Cameron firstname.lastname@example.org
on September 3rd, regarding a flurry of Talk 2000 conversations on the death
of the Princess of Wales:
In a recent Talk 2000 post, Robert Alan Silverstein nominated her as "Woman
of the Millennium: Princess Di", and Jay Gary in his editorial in the
Let's Talk 2000 bulletin quickly commented on the symbolic process involved,
:: A Princess who had been rejected by her Prince as Queen
:: became more than that, she became an Icon.
What we are witnessing, I suggest, is an apotheosis... which makes it all
the more interesting that there is already a newsgroup, alt.conspiracy.princess-diana,
devoted to the setting forth and refutation of a whole range of possible
scenarios for her death, ranging from "Elvis killed Diana" to
"Elvis was driving" to "So, now she's with Elvis", and
much more besides -- some of it in extremely poor taste, but not the less
interesting on that account.
I was thinking of doing a "Millennium Concentrate Special" on
the extraordinary variety of posts which sprang up there during the first
twenty-four hours after the Princess of Wales' death -- the newsgroup itself
was up and running within about three hours -- but have decided to hold
off for a while, in part because such strong feelings are involved.
A woman is dead and mourned, and these are simple facts we should not lose
Nevertheless, the upsurge of popular feeling on the internet, both pro and
con, offers us a unique chance to witness the human mind at work, making
as Jay says an Icon of a woman: and already two prophecy websites with "Diana"
connections have come to my attention. I offer them tentatively here, with
the suggestion that those interested in millennial thought would do well
to study closely the ways in which the late Princess of Wales assumes the
mantle of legend. With respect, then...
The Prophecy of Prophecies:
The site contains involves a curious blending of Celtic and Mayan lore under
apparently Masonic auspices. It purports to recount a prophecy made by the
Welsh St David, indicating that an heir to St. David will return from the
East to Britain, expel the Saxons (the current House of Windsor) and reinstate
the Celtic Rite. And all this purports to come from "Celtic prophecy
written in the Maya Bible Popol Vuh" -- it being explained that in
:: Europe's Celtic Druids, the direct ancestors of Maya dynasties,
:: were nothing else than the High Priests of Israel in exile.
The site suggests that the death of Princess Diana inaugurates this "Davidic"
:: With the death of Lady Diana Spencer in 1997, the last Davidic
:: prophecy established by St. David has been initiated and yet to
:: be fulfilled.
Other strands in the prophecy involve Prince Charles as Charles VIII of
the Hapsburg Line, a fact which is correlated with Rev. 17:10-11, and the
fact that Diana was killed at the 33rd pillar of the tunnel -- which in
turn correlates with the fact that the higest degree in Masonry is the 33rd,
a degree which the site alleges Prince Charles holds. Mention is made of
Prince William's second name, Arthur, the suggestion here being that
:: He should be the Arthurian prince chosen by the prophecy.
I find all this a little hard to take, particularly in the immediate aftermath
of the accident itself -- but there is also a touch of genius in what follows.
Having transcribed this implausible welter of Mayan, Arthurian and Masonic
details, the sponsor of the site goes on to cite the entire lyrics by Tim
Rice to "Oh What A Circus" from Rice and Lloyd Webber's Evita.
And here, I believe, he or she is onto something. For the song is indeed
about the death and apotheosis of a woman -- again an influential figure
in politics, and much loved by her people -- and it draws explicitly on
the text of the Marian anthem "Salve regina".
Oh what an exit, that's how to go
When they're ringing your curtain down
Demand to be buried like Eva Peron
It's quite a sunset
And good for the country in a roundabout way
We've made the front page of all the world's papers today
But who is this Santa Evita?
Why all this howling, hysterical sorrow?
What kind of goddess has lived among us?
How will we ever get by without her?
Salve regina mater misericordiae
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra
Salve salve regina
Ad te clamamus exules filii Eva
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes
O clemens o pia
Hail, oh queen, mother of mercy
Our life, sweetness, and hope
Hail, hail, oh queen
To you we cry, exiled sons of Eve
To you we sigh, mourning and weeping
Oh clement, oh loving one
Don't cry for me Argentina
For I am ordinary, unimportant
And undeserving of such attention
Unless we all are, I think we all are
So share my glory, so share my coffin
It's our funeral too.
The voices are those of Che, mocking; of the people, mourning; and of Eva
herself: the parallel with the outpouring of both mockery and mourning which
has followed Princess Diana's death could hardly be more exact.
Note: For further Millennium Concentrate coverage on Princess Diana, see
Millennium Concentrate, see http://home.earthlink.net/~hipbone/Millenn.html
2025--SCENARIOS OF FUTURE SOCIETY: A REVIEW
It is not often I come across a book which deserves a universal reading
as 2025: Scenarios of US and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology
(Oakhill Press, 1997, ISBN: 1-886939-09-8, 516 pp., $27.95). Earlier this
month I posted this review to Talk 2000:
The author, Joseph Coates is a regular feature at World Future Society conferences.
Last year I heard him give an 8-part lecture series last year on scenarios
of life and business in 2025, and bought the cassette series.
Now he and his colleagues have brought out the book on the subject. It taps
the worlds of science, technology, and engineering to look at the thirty
year period of 1995 to 2025. Written in the form of a future history from
2025, Coates offers fifteen scenarios which reflect what life will be like
in the United States as well as other societies (both affluent and less
* Smart Living / house and home of the future
* Information: The Global Commodity / integration of telecommunications
* Harvesting the Fruit of Genetics / biotechnology
* Powering Three Worlds/ energy technology and efficiency
* The World of Things/ materials technology
* Working Toward a Sustainable World/ environmental strategies and tools
* Managing the Planet/ macroengineering the environment
* Putting Space to Work/ cooperation and commercialization of space
* Our Built World/ infrastructure and construction
* People and Things on the Move/ transportation
* The World of Production/ custom manufacturing
* A Quest for Variety and Sufficiency/ food and agriculture
* Striving for Good Health/ disease prevention and life enhancement
* Our Days and Our Lives/ quality of life movement
* Balancing Work and Leisure/ lifestyle and entertainment
One added feature to 2025 is that at the end of each chapter, Coates
lists the "Critical Developments, 1990-2025," plus the "Unrealized
Hopes and Fears" of each field he covers.
2025 is the best researched and information mid-range scenario for
the future I have read. I have shared bits and pieces with my son and daughter
who will be 41 and 39 in the year 2025. They get a kick out of hearing about
computer "knowbots," toys made with "smart materials,"
or machine "language coaches." But 2025is far deeper than
just a preview of future gadgets. It illustrates how an ecology of substainability
will guide the next century.
This book could be a veritable field guide to your next 30 years, especially
if you are an entrepreneur, a person responsible for planning, or engaged
in scientific and technical issues. I am using it right now as help in writing
future oriented scripts for millennium media.
New Millennial Sites:
new sites in cyberspace"
ROME 2000: Agenzia romana per la preparazione del Giubileo
This is the city of Rome's site for jubilee preparations (only in Italian).
Contains the agency's strategic plans, documents in Win/Zip format and contact
COUNT DOWN WATCH: The Third Millennium Challenge
The makers of the Count Down Watch offer travel prizes, games, millennial
trivia and lifestyle tips, in this well visualized site from the Netherlands.
"Your link to
the third millennium"
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