Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"

March 1, 1998, Volume 4, Issue 4, a monthly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: Talk from the Forum: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

It's been one of those wild and wonderful apocalyptic months in the media as scientists speculated on killer asteroids. Within two days, the panic was gone. Apparently, revised calculations for the year 2028 have the asteroid passing 600,000 miles from earth rather than the scarier 26,000 mile calculation.

Talk 2000 contributor Michael Ronan MRonan@aol.com commented, "As everyone probably knows by now, asteroid fever has already passed. Front page headlines in two New York tabloids--always a great source of poetic summary--put it this way: "The End Is NOT Near"---"Kiss Your Asteroid Good-bye."

What do you do when millennial prophecy fails? One year to the day after the Heaven's Gate suicide, a Taiwanese flying saucer spiritualist church in Garland, Texas was awaiting a March 31st pick-up. Disappointed by the no-show of God in a March 25th predicted broadcasts, reactions to the disconfirmation varied. University of Chicago PhD candidate, Dereck Daschke dasc@midway.uchicago.edu, took a contingent of graduate students down to Garland, TX to investigate.

Did you catch the two-part episode of Chris Carter's imaginative TV series "Millennium"--which included a story plot between "Owls" and "Roosters"? It appears writers for this series have been reading Richard Landes web site http://www.mille.org/landes-rob.htm, creator of this taxonomy which typifies these dueling millennial cries. Landes told Talk 2000 these TV writers "have read me more carefully and with greater understanding than my colleagues in medieval history!"

This issue of Let's Talk 2000 is full of news and summaries from our forum. For those interested in new millennium celebrations, we report on Orange County's "Class of 2000" mega-program. Our second feature, "Project Charts Millennium Change Indicators," reports on how one group is looking into research indicators which could chart the emergence of a post-industrial paradigm beyond 2000.

In contrast, our "Millennial Rites of Passage?" piece in the "Talk from the Forum" takes a critical look at the notion that 1999 to 2001 might bring some quantum leap of change. And under our web sites section, Charles Cameron, our Millennium Concentrate contributor, offers his review of sites which seek to use the Y2K bug as fodder for apocalyptic alarms.

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

ORANGE COUNTY UNVEILS MILLENNIAL CELEBRATION
Plans for the Orange County California celebration of the new millennium -- a two-year, 100-plus event, 31-city, 2.6 million-person, $25 million extravaganza called Orange County Class of 2000 -- were announced March 11th by the Orange County Business Council, major underwriter of the celebration.

"Orange County Class of 2000 is probably the first, and certainly the most ambitious celebration to be launched in response to President Clinton's challenge to the nation to create community events to commemorate the coming millennium," said Jack Lindquist, former president of Disneyland and a co-producer of the program. "We want to do this thing right," he quipped. "If we miss this time, we'll have to wait another thousand years to do it again."

The countywide program, to begin Jan. 1, 1999, not only will be Orange County's salute to the next thousand years, it will serve as a national and international showcase for Orange County's heritage, lifestyle, business opportunity and its approach to the future.

The program will be directed by the Orange County Business Council through its new, non-profit company, Orange County Millennium Inc. Events will be produced, managed and marketed through Class of 2000 LLC, an organization formed by Lindquist and Steve Clark, another veteran Disney executive.

Business Council Chairman John Schueler noted that the celebration will create a platform from which all of the county's 70,000 businesses, large and small, can tell their stories to the county or to the world. "Through this program we will honor our past, celebrate our present and imagine our future -- in essence, we'll create the image and identity for Orange County that will propel us into the 21st century with global recognition for leadership, innovation, quality and commitment," he said.

"We are still nine months away from the opening ceremonies and the program continues to develop and evolve," said Lindquist. "But among the signature events that will be produced are: A Salute to the Military, acknowledging the U.S Marine Corps for its integral role in the Orange County community since 1944; the Pacific Rim Tourism Summit; the International Millennium Festival; a technology conference and exposition, and a salute to the Olympians 2000."

"This program is about all of Orange County," added Schueler. "It is a great opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their own readiness for the 21st century and their pride in this vibrant community. Equally important is that all of Orange County's residents can, in a meaningful way, join in the celebration of the new millennium." Source: Orange County Class of 2000, (714) 753-1854, Jim Colonna.

PROJECT CHARTS MILLENNIUM CHANGE INDICATORS
Many people have talked about the new millennium as a time of change past industrial era paradigms, but few have put forth tangible indicators to help social researchers measure transformation until now.

Taking up this challenge, the "Millennium Project" in San Anselmo, CA, directed by social scientist Duane Elgin, has been circulating a research paper since May '97 entitled "Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Paradigm."

Project coordinator, Coleen LeDrew, says that more than 5,000 hard copy papers have been sent out and their web site now allows users to download PDF files of the report, complete with diagrams http://www.awakeningearth.org/.

"We have had a great response," claims LeDrew. "What people really appreciate about this report is, 'What are these indicators?' or 'What would it look like for consciousness change?' as we move into the new millennium?'"

In the document, Elgin and LeDrew pinpoint five indicators which might point to the growth of a new "transformational" mindset. They claim a core group of roughly 10 percent of U.S. adults seems to be pioneering this new culture; with a much larger sympathetic group of 14% responding to these values. They outline the values, with corresponding questions in this way:

1) Global consciousness and the communications revolution
Is a new level of communication emerging in the world? Is the global communications system--with its network of computers, televisions, telephones, and satellites--becoming the social equivalent of a central nervous system? Are we creating a paradigm-changing "global brain" for the planet?

2) Global ecological awareness and concern
To what extent is the population of the Earth aware of and concerned about the health of the planet? Are people aware that life as we know it may not be able to be sustained? Are people willing to sacrifice economic growth for the ecological health of the planet?

3) Postmodern social values
Is there a shift from material values to a concern for environmental sustainability? Is there greater tolerance for ethnic, racial, and sexual differences? Is there a shift from institutional authority to personal authority? Is there a conscious shift from power to partnership in gender relations?

4) Experiential spirituality and a new consciousness
To what extent are people practicing some form of personal or "lay spirituality"--for example, taking time to meditate, do yoga, practice the "inner-game" of sports, or in other ways exploring their personal, subjective experience? To what extent do people view nature as a sacred and spiritual presence?

5) Sustainable ways of living
Is there a shift toward ecological lifestyles that integrate inner and outer aspects of living into a balanced whole? Are there shifts in work, diet, consumption patterns, transportation, relationships, or other areas that express a desire to live more sustainably?

LeDrew states their project has yet to receive foundation funding, in part because they "are a little ahead of its time" with a research focus on "consciousness and spirituality." But if funded, the project will monitor behavioral changes worldwide, in keeping with these values.

"We are looking at the millennium as a possibility," LeDrew adds, "not that the millennium itself, of course, is going to make any major shifts or awakening."

Citing a January 1997 Yankelovich poll, LeDrew reports that 63% of Americans think the start of the millennium should be a special time for "prayer and reflection," rather than a time for "fun and parties" (17 percent) or both (12 percent).

LeDrew concludes, "As we go through this, it is a time of reflection where people for the first time might reflect on the human family, on the bigger picture outside their own life and ask, 'What it is all about?' 'Why are we here?' 'What is the bigger evolutionary purpose we are all apart of?' and 'Where might we head next?'"

Duane Elgin, director of the "Millennium Project" proposal, is a former researcher with California think-tank SRI International. He has authored several books on human and cultural evolution, including Voluntary Simplicity and Awakening Earth. His next research project deals with projections out to 2020, and the pressures which population growth, climate change and declining oil reserves might have on global society. Source: Let's Talk 2000, talk2000@rmi.net

MILLENNIUM SONG HAILS NEW DAY
Most days, Lenny Green sits out on his front porch and watches the sun break up over the hills of northern California. But one morning in 1997, "All of sudden, it just came to me, it wasn't a hard song to write," says the 59-year-old songwriter. The pop song called "Millennium" is now in demo form, sung by lead singer John Gummoe of The Cascades.

The song has three verses, with a chorus that sings, "Millennium....... the future is here; A day in the journey that man had been on for two thousand years; Celebrating our role in tomorrow; Remembering yesterday's tears; Millennium's here."

Green has been a song writer since late 50s, and was as a musician with his own group for a short spell. There was no fame involved in that, so he became a staff writer in Nashville. Many of the 400 songs he wrote were recorded by successful country music artists, but none reached golden record status.

What is the chance "Millennium" might make it to the charts? "It's favorable," Green replies. He says he really didn't know if the song had captured everything that needed to be said about the millennium until after the song was written. "I was pouring over millennium sites to see how people were talking about the millennium, I found out that I had said everything in that song that people were hoping for."

Lenny Green NuSong@psyber.com has sent the "Millennium" demo to various producers working on large millennium events or broadcasts. He says the public can keep track of the song's progress at his web site, http://www.psyber.com/~nusong Source: Let's Talk 2000, talk2000@rmi.net

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

MILLENNIAL RITES OF PASSAGE?
On March 4th, Montreal special events producer Adrian Harvey adrian.harvey@bcp.ca started a thread on how the millennium could be compared to a rite of passage. He wrote:

"What do you think the coming Millennium media blitzkrieg and resulting mania will do to the *rate* of change we're already experiencing? Maybe this will be a Super Rites of Passage all by itself. No one will escape it and its impact on our individual and collective psyche.

"We will know we're going through a once in a lifetime experience, one that's going to bare our naiveness and stupidity (rough word) to the bone, hoping to come out the other side in one piece.

"I'm sure that no society in history will have ever experienced such a trip, making it exceptionally significant to humankind. Would this culture wrenching blast qualify as a quantum millennial leap?

Philadelphia-based millennium scholar, Ted Daniels mpred@pipeline.com responded: "I'm glad you used that phrase 'rite of passage' because it's been evident for some time that the turning of the calendar definitely has the potential to be just that. However, there's an important difference between this Rite of Passage and the kind Arnold van Gennep and his successors analyzed.

"In the anthropological rite, there is a transition from one known social status (single, child, living) to another (married, adult, dead). That is, these statuses have known although arbitrary social meanings and constraints that govern them.

"It's crucial to recognize that the Rites of Passage also contains a 'liminal' phase, that is, a part of the rite where the old status has been shucked off but the new one is not yet imposed. Think wake, honeymoon, bar mitzvah party. This is the phase of carnival, where all rules are suspended and license reigns. It also accounts for the famous and often mysterious and strange 'antinominaism' of millenarian movements....

"The millennium and its observance will perhaps display the same structure -- 1999, the end of the old, 2000, liminal phase, and 2001, starting the new. But the important difference is that no one has any idea what the new order will actually be like.

"Lots of people have a variety of utopian hopes and dystopian terrors, but, despite the level of confidence with which they may proclaim them, the fact remains that the new millennium is entirely unpredictable. No one can know what new rules and conditions we're going to have to adapt to. So how can we reasonably prepare ourselves for them?

"The fact of course is that nothing at all needs to happen with this new millennium. It is not by any means necessarily millennial. Change will occur, as it always does, but it will be essentially gradual, though it may seem all but instant, given the enormous interdependence and cultural resonance of global society. Unlike the 'true Millennium,' which effects everyone in one of two ways (salvation/damnation) all at once, whatever the new millennium holds will come in patches, with no apparent justice, and by degrees."

In addition to Ted Daniels, I responded to Harvey's notion of a quantum leap come 1999 - 2001: "I don't know? Did World War II, a much longer passage, with much more direct involvement produce quantum change? In some ways, yes. Did it bare as you say 'our naiveness and stupidity'? Yes. Did the world change? Initially no. It took time to see the change work itself into institutions, like the European Union, despite a 'Cold War' which impeded change for 40 years.

"The point I am making is that the birth of epoch-making change is usually not concurrent with century's end. Even if it was, it probably wouldn't be recognized until 30, 100, 300 years later. The day when Steve Jobs invented the Apple computer in his Silicon Valley garage, it wasn't carried on the nightly news. When the Magi arrived in Bethlehem, the wall calendar read 752 A.U.C., not 1 A.D.

"Irrespective of the turn of the millennium, there are massive changes occurring in society, often seemly twin contradictory changes, such as globalization and tribalization. Which of these trends will prevail. It is possible that a variation of both will.

"I am convinced that millennial celebrations will showcase a great deal. But will it *produce* mythic change and be recognized 200 years from now as the dawn of a new era in human history? I don't know I would go that far....

"Our focus should not merely be on the celebrations of Millennium's Eve, but the last quarter century of preparations for our passage into the third millennium. 'Is the world changing for the better or worse?' 'Are we prepared to make those informed choices which will bring forth the future we want?'"

THE TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART
On March 7th, Catholic artist Joe Orlando launched an extensive thread on Marian devotion entitled, "The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart." The thread, largely carried out between Orlando and I, went back and forth for several days, offering contrasting ways to view apocalyptic visions in this century attributed to the Mother of Jesus--and to what degree Pope John Paul II publicly has embraced these in reference to the Holy Year 2000.

On March 7th, I asked Orlando: "Would you say that John Paul II embraces this mystical view of Mary as 'patron saint' of the coming Jubilee and advent of the Third Millennium?....[Because] officially speaking, it would appear the Jubilee of 2000 in Rome is not apocalyptic."

Orlando responded:
> Pope John Paul II has dedicated his entire reign as Pontiff to the Most Blessed Virgin
> Mary. He goes much further than "patron saint", in fact, wishes to entitle
> the Virgin with "Co-Redemptrix" and Mediatrix of Graces.

Offering a bit of half-time commentary on these volleys, medieval historian Richard Landes rlandes@bu.edu added: "All of this is just the kind of issue that a reading of owls and roosters can illuminate: the marian roosters want co-redemptress status and a chiliastic year 2000 -- the messianic age or something quite like it; the owls keep pulling back and insisting that this is not millennial despite its fascination with 2000."

"The roosters hear what they want to hear (i.e. they believe that the pope is on their side) and the owls what they want to hear (that this is not apocalyptic). the point is not 'what is', but what are the potential outcomes of all these (quite passionate) perceptions. if the owls have always won at the end of the game, the roosters are often way ahead at half time.

Editor's note: Long live the owls AND the roosters who awaken them from their slumber. :-) To read the whole conversation on Mary--the mother of Jesus as related to Catholic "Jubilee 2000" commemorations retrieve our 450k March archive at USC by emailing this statement "get 2000ad-l log9803" to listproc@usc.edu

CONSPIRACY THEORY--A LESSON AND A BOOK
On March 10th, Millennium Watch Institute director Ted Daniels mpred@pipeline.com, gave a free lesson on the "fair-minded" methods of conspiracy theorists. :-)

"As you're aware, millennialism often gets involved in these notions: 'How could the world be so wicked unless there were an enormous plot to make and keep it that way? We can know the conspiracy's there, and its power perfect. If it weren't, there would be some evidence.'

Daniels continued: "And so we come to today's lesson, an article headline from an e-journal; called 'The Konformist'. This is an archetype of the genre; notice especially the question mark, as though the issue really were open to doubt and this was a fair-minded examination of the 'evidence':

"Ben Franklin: Founding Father or Cross-Dressing Serial Killer?"

Editor's note: A couple of days earlier I posted a brief book notice on Gregory Camp's Selling Fear: conspiracy theories and end-time paranoia, Baker Books, 1997 (ISBN: 0-8010-5721-3). It is a general, but well-written historical and contemporary treatment of the rise and fall of conspiracy theories in 2000 years of American experience.

Released by an evangelical publisher, author Gregory Camp claims to help isolate the ignorance which often accompanies End-Times scenarios. The author names the aberrant tendencies various teachers take, such as Tex Marrs, Hal Lindsey, Jack Chick, etc., etc., etc.

The back cover of Selling Fear reads: "Throughout its history, America has been exposed to a multitude of chilling theories about 'what's really going on behind the scenes.' Many believe that the world economy and its political and social systems are controlled by a few sinister men belonging to secret organizations that seek to rule the earth.

"A host of Christian teachers have tapped into conspiracy theories to design their own end-times scenarios. But how do their prophetic schemes hold up against Scripture, logic, and history?

"In Selling Fear, historian Gregory Camp offers a sane examination of conspiracy theories that have cropped up over the years and exposes the false teachings and assumptions that have instilled fear in the uninformed.

"Some of the topics explored include conspiracy theories surrounding the Illuminati, 'one-world government' dangers associated with the Council on Foreign Relations and the United Nations, and the New Age movement.

"As the new millennium dawns, and end-times paranoia becomes more apparent, Selling Fear will help readers discern the truth amid a barrage of errant teaching, providing a defense against prophetic beliefs that are grounded only in ignorance and fear."

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

Y2K--APOCALYPTIC CONNECTION
Charles Cameron hipbone@earthlink.net, Talk 2000's "Millennium Concentrate" contributor, offers this review of web sites, related to apocalyptic scares concerning the millennium computer bug.

I just caught a "Trinity Broadcasting Network" program on Los Angeles Channel 16 (1:30 am Pacific, Wed, Mar 25 1998) in which Craig Smith of "Year 2000 National Educational Taskforce" at http://www.y2knet.com was discussing the Y2K computer problem with "Pat", and Pat was talking about "how the devil could be using it for his purposes", and saying the aftermath of a Y2K turnover upset would be fertile ground for the One World Banking and Data proposal, leading to the mark of the Beast.
*
I believe I was the first to predict that this kind of association between the Y2K problem and "end times" scenarios would be made in a post entitled "Apocalyptic: a hidden dimension to the Y2K problem", sent to this list on Wed, 8 Jan 1997, and now on the CMS website at:

http://www.mille.org/y2kCameron.html

I tried at that time to alert the Y2K community -- i.e. those most concerned to *fix* the bug, via Peter de Jager and the folks at http://www.year2000.com/ -- to the possibility that apocalyptic thinking might add a significant new sociological wrinkle to the problem: but they were basically too busy to take much notice, and although entirely polite and friendly, didn't forward my post to their mailing list.

Since then, the only example of the Y2K / apocalyptic connection I had seen until tonight was the extraordinary post by Ivan Strand, a computer specialist at Indiana U, to a prophecy mailing list in New Zealand dated Tue, 18 Feb 1997, which Ted Daniels forwarded to Talk 2000 on Tue, 18 Mar 1997, and which is now available on the CMS website at:

http://www.mille.org/crisis.htm

Again as far as I know, this was the first time the connection was made in an evangelical context.
*
For all I know, the particular TBN program I caught tonight may have been running for some time, and there may be a bunch of other articles or books on the subject by now. I'd be happy to be kept informed... but TBN picking up on this idea certainly means it is now getting wide circulation. We can expect to hear more about Y2K from Christian millennialists...

I leave you with this (fairly mild) closing quote from the mainly computer problem / fix oriented pages of the "Year 2000 National Educational Taskforce", from a piece entitled "Y2KAOS" by the same Craig Smith who was giving the TBN interview, at:

http://www.y2knet.com/news/98-2/y2kaos.htm

:: 5. Finally, prepare mentally and spiritually. Pray for a clear mind. Pray for our
:: leaders. Remember, God remains in control even in the face of confusion, chaos,
:: and crisis - in fact the truth often shines brightest in the darkness. Share what you
:: learn about Y2K with your pastor, priest, or rabbi. Above all, once you are convinced
:: the Y2K threat is serious, do something to alert those whom you love that very
:: serious trouble is coming and the time to prepare is now.
*
Best wishes, wry grins, Charles Cameron

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

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Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
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Publication keywords: time, groups, books, usenet
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