Let's Talk 2000
"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"
June 1, 1998, Volume 4, Issue 6, a monthly 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:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."
This issue runs a new feature in our News section, entitled, "The Millennium
in the News." I hope you like it. If you do, I will keep it running.
There we post abstracts of recent millennium articles or books. For example,
the Wall Street Journal recently did a "Millennium Madness" feature
on year 2000 marketing.
After seeing this piece, I rang up Bud Goldman, CEO of Countdown Clocks.
He claims the consumer product market for the millennium in the U.S. is
greatly underserviced at present, as most trademark owners are focusing
on millennium travel, events or entertainment. Next to his countdown clocks,
he only sees "01/01/00"-- a lifestyle clothing company, really
working the retail market. It makes me ask whether the tidal wave of millennia
merchandise is on the way or not?
After almost three years, the daily Talk 2000 forum can now be searched
online via the web. Escribe--"the mailing archive" has posted
our daily discussion forum conversations, dating back to our September
1995 inception. This is a virtual gold mine for leaders, authors, journalists
or activists, who want to trace the development of a year 2000 product,
agenda or celebration, as discussed by Talk 2000 colleagues. Bookmark your
web browser to http://www.escribe.com/history/2000ad
News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."
JUBILEE 2000 TAKES CHALLENGE TO G8 LEADERS
The world's most powerful economic leaders rescheduled the second day of
their mid-May "G8" meeting to a countryside chat outside Birmingham,
U.K, "to avoid having to face a demonstration on behalf of the world's
poor," claims Canadian activist Henry Garman email@example.com
Garman reports that organizers planned a mid-afternoon demonstration with
"thousands of people" on May 16th, to circle the Convention Centre
with a "break the chains of debt" human chain.
Preceding the G8 meeting, the British newspaper The Guardian ran a series
of article on the Jubilee 2000 campaign http://reports.guardian.co.uk/debt/.
In a statement of intent, their editors wrote:
"Foreign debt is crippling parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America:
21 million children will die because of debt [this year]. Millions more
will grow up unable to read or write as government budgets for health and
education are dwarfed by debt repayments to the West.
"In a special report starting Monday May 11 the Guardian will explore
the inherent instability and injustice of economic globalisation and the
enormous human costs. We turn the spotlight on some of the poorest, most
neglected countries in the world.
"The Guardian is backing the Jubilee 2000 coalition of more than 70
aid agencies, trade unions and churches. We are calling on the G8 leaders
meeting this weekend in Birmingham to relieve the poorest nations of their
Existing provision is too little and too slow. Debt cannot be left to the
bankers and the economists; it needs a mass campaign. It is time to break
the chain. This is not about charity, it is about justice. At the end of
the 20th century, it is New Slavery."
The G8 meeting declined to deal with the Jubilee 2000 issue this year. Global
planning demographer, Dr. David Barrett, lists annual debt service on unpayable
third world debt ($80 billion) as part of "Collective Structures of
Sin," along with white collar financial fraud ($1.5 trillion, p.a.),
war/militarization ($1.3 trillion, p.a.), food destroyed by rats ($400 billion,
p.a.), etc. Barrett claims this collective culture of death drains off 32%
of gross world product each year. Source: Let's Talk 2000, firstname.lastname@example.org
CANADIAN COIN CONTEST LAUNCHED
How do Canadians see the future in culture, exploration, science, technology?
The Royal Canadian Mint has launched a contest, offering the public the
chance to design a new 25¢ coin, representing any important event,
discovery or achievement of the past millennium.
Marie Lugli email@example.com,
Director of Communications for the "Create a Centsation" millennium
coin project says, "We will be issuing 24 Millennium Coins and are
asking Canadians to submit designs. Twelve 25-cent circulation coins will
be issued in 1999 to commemorate the past 1000 years of Canadian history
and twelve 25-cent coins will be issued in year 2000 to record what Canadians
hope and dream for the new millennium." Canadians are invited to participate
in this contest and make a little bit of cent history. See http://www.centsation.com
MILLENNIUM SURVEY INVITES VIEWS
What are people's hopes and fears about the new millennium? What do people
feel humanity has learned and accomplished in the past millennium? What
do they think we need to learn and do in the third millennium?
This is the approach which "The U.C.L.A. Millennium International Research
Project" is taking to summarize how people feel and think about the
bimillennial passage. The "Millennium Survey" contains 24 questions,
half of which collect demograhic data. Participants, whose identities are
kept confidential, can also receive survey results, when completed. To add
your own views on the year 2000 and beyond, the "Millennium Survey"
can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~MillenniumProject/intro
A survey can also be requested by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MILLENNIUM IN THE MEDIA
"Can the Millennium Deliver?" by Henry Grunwald, Time. v151 n18,
May 11, 1998, p. 84. 4 pp. Summary: The centuries of envisioning and predicting
it reveal more about the hopes, dreams and fears of people in ages past
than about the event itself, claims former managing editor of TIME. http://www.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/1998/dom/980511
"Millennium Madness grips the nation's entreprenuers" by Joshua
Harris Prager. The Wall Street Journal. April 22, 1998, pB1 Keywords: advertising,
millennium products, millennium marketing, corporations marketing, business
"Zero-based celebrations. (the new millennium around the world). The
Economist, April 18, 1998, p81(3). Abstract: While the coming of the new
millenium is an exciting event in many parts of the world, to others with
different calendars or religious systems it means little. How the new millennium
will be celebrated, if at all, in different parts of the world is examined.
"Milking the millennium. (advertising campaign of M&M/Mars)"
by Paul Lukas. Fortune, April 13, 1998, p34(2). Ad agency poll questions
the value of official sponsorships of the Olympics, etc. Describes M-M's
millennium campaign and mentions Peter Aykroyd's Milleniad campaign.
"Countdown 2000 : legal commentary and analysis of the millennium crisis."
Lexis Law Publishing, Charlottesville, VA : Vol. 1, issue 1 (Feb. 1998).
Periodical. Subject: Year 2000 date conversion (Computer systems), Products
Hater, Robert J. The search for meaning : myth and mystery in the new
millennium. New York: Crossroad Pub., 1998, 165 p., ISBN: 0824516923
(pbk.) Subject: Religion--Forecasting.
Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap
of recent conversations"
UNSPEAKABLE IDEAS: THE MILLENNIUM IN AMERICAN CULTURE
On May 22nd, cultural commentator, John J. Reilly VBDS39A@prodigy.com
posted this essay to Talk 2000. He considers why many fringe millenarian
ideas don't mix with the American cultural mainstream. To read other essays
by Reilly, see http://pages.prodigy.com/VBDS39A/index.htm
Anyone with some unusual interest is likely to wonder from time to time
why the whole world does not share it. Until the last few years, millennialism
fell into this category. I remember 15 years ago trying to explain to a
man with a perfectly good theology degree what "millenarian" meant.
Then I had to explain what conceivable bearing it could have on life at
the end of the 20th century.
(It is yet more evidence that history is more imaginative than people that
I then started to explain about dancing epidemics; today's film noir prime-time
dramas on the subject were quite beyond my conception.) At the time I had
this conversation, apocalyptic expectation was hardly absent from segments
of popular culture, but as I recall it was entirely off the radar screen
of the general media and the academy.
Even now, when the subject is trendy, there continue to be some types of
eschatological thinking that cannot escape from certain subcultures into
general societal awareness. The most conspicuous example of this intransmissability,
of course, is the doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture. Millions of Americans
have believed this doctrine since at least the middle of the nineteenth
century, and aspects of the schema to which it belongs have had noticeable
effect on public opinion regarding Israel and Europe. Nevertheless, the
idea is rarely mentioned in elite publications or the serious news media.
Understandably, this seeming conspiracy of silence has not gone unnoticed
by people for whom the Pretribulation Rapture constitutes a key element
in their model of history. For instance, there is an engaging Pretrib website
called "Rapture Ready"
maintained by one Todd Strandberg that notes this omission. (The site is
also interesting, by the way, for its ingenious numerical "rapture
index" of current news stories.)
Mr. Strandberg suggests that the paucity of accounts in the general media
of this important and perfectly accessible idea is so complete that it cannot
be attributed to anything less than supernatural influence. Well, maybe,
but the fact is that the Pretibulation Rapture is not the only easily accessible
eschatological idea that somehow resists becoming common knowledge.
One of my pet peeves is the failure of anyone, anywhere, to make a film
version of "The Time Machine" that is seriously faithful to the
premise of the book. As you will recall, the time traveler in H.G. Wells's
story arrives at a point in the indefinite future that is after civilization,
and almost after the human race.
In that epoch, mankind is bifurcating into two subhuman species. One is
descended from the upper classes of late civilization, the other from the
industrial workers. The human race goes to seed simply because it had created
a world without challenges.
It lost its humanity in the same way that species of birds adapted to life
on isolated islands often lose their ability to fly. This is a far more
disconcerting idea than the plagues and nuclear wars that have been written
into the screenplays of the various film and video productions of the book
that have appeared over the years. Is the premise too subtle to communicate
on film? I don't think so.
The book it seems to me that no one will ever dare make into a movie is
Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. Producers pick up bits and pieces
of it, of course. Just as we owe the idea of communications satellites to
an essay by Clarke, so we owe the film image of huge flying saucers hovering
motionless over the world's major cities to this novel. There was a short-lived
television series some years ago called "The Visitors" that was
loosely inspired by the book. A current series, "Earth: The Final Conflict,"
also picks up the book's motif of apparently benevolent aliens peacefully
taking over the Earth for ulterior motives. The book has been more or less
continually in print since the 1950s, and its premise is known to millions.
It is an important source for much New Age thinking about the future. Yet
again, however, we have an instance of an eschatological idea that is important
to certain subcultures but that does not become generally familiar.
Probably you know the story, but here is a brief synopsis. The premise is
that the human race is not far from an evolutionary leap that will result
in the emergence of a single, psychic organism. This organism will then
go on to join with a larger entity, the Overmind, that consists of the psychic
products of other planets that have undergone a similar transformation.
Most of the book consists of the reign of the Overlords, an extremely intelligent
species that cannot make this kind of evolutionary leap, and which is forced
to do the Overmind's bidding.
Essentially, they are sent to Earth to prevent mankind in its final phase
from making a technology of psychic phenomena. Such a technology would distort
the transition and turn the Earth into a sort of psychic cancer. (Olaf Stapledon
first came up with this idea of a deranged collective mind. Imaginative
To keep mankind quiet, all the Overlords have to do is create Utopia, which
they do. They forbid war, they end science by giving out just enough information
to make research seem not worth doing, and they guide the world toward universal
justice and prosperity. Nietzsche's Last Men, indeed. They also eliminate
all religions but Buddhism (which is really a philosophy in Clarke's estimation)
by giving human investigators the technical facilities to see back into
time for several thousand years.
It is perhaps not altogether a coincidence that the Overlords, when they
first reveal their physical form after several decades, turn out to look
like devils. Well, like twelve-foot-tall interstellar bats, to be precise,
but the effect is the same.
In any case, the transformation is not caused by the Overlords, just attended
by them. A generation of children is born whose individuality disappears
into a collective mind, a notion that had some currency in the 1960s. The
rest of the human race dies from despair in a few decades, and eventually
the planet is vaporized when the collective mind breaks free of matter entirely.
I don't know that the world would be a better place if this scenario were
given mass-market film format, but it is odd that no one has tried.
Finally, it may be that eschatological ideas that once were familiar can
sometimes become much less presentable. At least one film reviewer has suggested,
for instance, that the recent comet-collision movie, "Deep Impact,"
is essentially a remake of an old film from the 1950s called "When
Worlds Collide." There are numerous differences, of course. The special
effects are minimal in the earlier film, much to the advantage of the story.
The biggest one, though, is that the Earth is destroyed in "When World's
Collide," with a small group of survivors escaping in a spaceship.
In the later movie, on the other hand, the worst that happens is that California
film producers show you what they wish would happen to Manhattan. Part of
the reason for the difference is no doubt the attempt to keep "Deep
Impact" scientifically plausible; impacts by comets or asteroids are
a fashionable subject these days, while "When Worlds Collide"
is based on the implausible idea of one solar system colliding with another.
There is another possibility, though. The approach of the millennium may
be influencing people to think about impending catastrophe, but it is also
making it harder to imagine the catastrophe as a wall with nothing on the
other side of it. Perhaps notions of apocalypse occurring in the near future
will hereafter tend to leave enough of a world to live in. This is what
the idea of the Millennium was all about in the first place.
MACROHISTORY AND MACROHISTORIANS: A BOOK NOTICE
This title from Greenwood Press recently caught my attention. It offers
a macro-perspective on individual, social and civilizational change. It's
title is Macrohistory and Macrohistorians, Johan Galtung and Sohail
Inayatullah (with contributions by others). Price: $65, ISBN: 0-275-95755-1,
Westport, Connecticut, London, Praeger, 1997. To order, call USA, 1 (203)
226-3571 or see http://info.greenwood.com/books/0275957/0275957551.html
The web site also carries short reviews. The publisher description follows:
While sensitive to empiricist and postmodern debates on the problematic
nature of history, Galtung and Inayatullah avoid being trapped by these
positions and instead take us deep into the theories and visions of some
of humanity's 'macrohistorians' - twenty of its most fascinating and penetrating
Through an analysis of the theories of macrohistory of such luminaries as
Ssu-Ma Ch'ien, St. Augustine, Ibn Khaldun, Giambatista Vico, Adam Smith,
G.W.F. Hegel, Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, Vilfredo Pareto,
Max Weber, Rudolf Steiner, Oswald Spengler, Teilhard de Chardin, Pitirim
Sorokin, Arnold Toynbee, Antonio Gramsci, Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar, and Riane
Eisler, authors/editors Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah articulate
a new theory of macrohistory, of grand social change.
They argue that a complete macrohistory is one that has linear, cyclical
and transcendental dimensions. A complete macrohistory theorizes and describes
why and how collectivities move through space and time. Galtung and Inayatullah
argue that the real use of macrohistory is to not only find meaning in the
past so as to create new possibilities of meaning for the future, but to
reduce suffering - macrohistory is essentially about understanding and changing
the human condition.
Presentations of macrohistorians focus on their personal biography, theory
of knowledge, shape of history, stages of history, basic metaphors, causes
and mechanisms of change, and visions of the future.
Along with sociological comparisons, synergies between macrohistorians,
the relationship between biography and macrohistory as well as insights
macrohistorians can offer to world history and the future are offered. Pictorial
respresentations of the twenty macrohistories are provided by architect
The analysis is unique as, along with Western perspectives, macrohistorians
from Islamic, Indic, and Sinic civilizations are presented as are feminist
and Gaian approaches.
THE MILLENNIUM MEMO: PSEUDO SCIENCE AND THE NEW AGE
Talk 2000 contributor, Michael Ronan MRonan@aol.com
has been writing columns for his local newspaper on the year 2000. Here
is a recent column he offers for "Let's Talk 2000" readers:
"...clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes,
our critical facilities in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels
good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstion
and darkness." --Carl Sagan, A Demon Haunted World
I miss Carl Sagan. We need him more than ever, but he died last year.
The prolific astronomer and writer dedicated most of his life to bringing
the wonders of the universe, and our sciences, to laymen like myself. Before
he passed, he published a wonderful book called A Demon Haunted World:
Science As A Candle In The Darkness. In it, he explored mankinds age
old talent for self-deception. We seek simple, magical solutions to complicated
Sagan's book focuses on the popularity of the fake science engendered by
the so-called new age. We are, he worried, becoming an increasingly shallow
and gullible society that seeks what feels good rather than what is true.
Evidence of this is not hard to find.
I once knew a woman--in the spirit of this column, I'll call her Crystal
- who confided in me that she was a "really, really spiritual person."
Crystal believed firmly in astrology, and that our destinations are linked
to the position of the stars and planets. And in counseling sessions with
a past life therapist, she learned that she was once a wealthy southern
belle who lived in a huge Georgia mansion during the Civil War.
But Crystal did not know which was closer to the earth, the sun or the moon.
And she did not know if Atlanta was located to the north or south of Chicago.
As is very common, Crystal's love of things new age went hand in hand with
a gross disregard for basic truths. The last I heard of Crystal she was
going to a special school in South Dakota to study the healing power of
plants ("I really, really believe in herbs," she told me).
Regretably, Crystal's disengagement--to put it kindly--from sound analytical
thought is commonplace. So typical, in fact, that it provides the strong
foundation for the booming new age industry.
Because proof is not required in this genre, new age inspiration comes from
an incredible array of sources. Crystals, tarot cards, astrology, palm-
reading, UFOs, dowsing, ancient runes, and witchcraft--to name a few--are
all part of the mix. The stuff of circus sideshows is edging toward the
My favorite is channelling. This is a phenomenon where somebody speaks in
a goofy, unworldly voice and pretends to be acting as an outlet for a spiritual
entity or a long dead person. How do we know this is what's happening? Because
the channeller says so! Note that if behavior like this occurs at a mental
hospital, or a gutter near North Station, it might be regarded as something
much different than clairvoyance.
I suspect that the explanation for channelling is not cosmic at all. Some
channellers are frauds, but most are probably just needy personalities in
need of attention. Perhaps unloved when young, and suffering from low self
esteem, they compensate: I AM somebody! ...In fact, sometimes I'm Alexander
New agers are demonstrating a limitless appetite for any new theory, therapy
or philosopy that can be dreamt up. Practioners and salespeople rush to
fill the need. It is a a marketers dream: no proof required.
Throw a stone these days and you'll hit somebody on a shamanic journey.
And to better understand the cosmos, folks who have never heard of Albert
Einstein are chanting and drumming.
It is in the area of health and wellness that new age marketers are enjoying
their greatest success. Perfectly good words like "holistic" and
"spiritual" have been beaten into mush as the rush to contrive
new sicknesses and remedies gets downright silly. The new age provides a
veritable candy store of outlandish causes and cures.
All new agers are allergic to dairy products - it's a rule - but things
get much more complicated than simple lactose intolerance. There is just
no limit to the possible causes of what may be ailing the dedicated new
ager: position of the planets, chomium deficiency, un-reconciled past lives,
or a dysfunctional relationship with a guardian angel, there is something
for everybody. There is so much to choose from, it is no wonder that a disproportionate
percentage of new agers suffer from exotic ailments.
Feeling a little punk? You may be suffering the heartbreak of "soul
fragmentation". This is when fragments of someone else's soul accidentally
attach to your soul (God, I hate it when that happens!). But not to worry,
there are spiritual healers who specialize in this very issue. If a hunk
of someone else's soul gets stuck to yours, there are experts who, for a
fee, will help you un-stick it.
Or your present condition may be the direct result of a previous life's
woes. Past life counselors will help you sort through past incarnations,
and any resulting maladjustments. As in the case of Crysal, past life searches
generally yield dramatic former lives. If you're feeling especially agitated
you may be hitting a snag in a smooth transition between lives. In this
case, a past life transition counselor stands ready to help.
If you're really feeling nuts, a UFO abduction in your past may be the cause.
Locally, we have a fellow who offers massage therapy specifically for UFO
abductees. Ah, the age of specialization!
It seems to me that the new age movement has more than just a touch of arrogance
to it. It is the "Me Generation" gone haywire: me and my crystals,
me and my inner Goddess, me and my shamanic healer creating whatever sort
of universe that brings a special, tingly feeling. Cast casually aside is
the scientific process that begot us a cure for polio and the moon landing.
Toward the end of his life, Sagan noted with regret that the greatest achievements
of mankind, and the greatest thinkers, have been replaced by people like
Shirley Maclaine. She typifies the new age ego: "I really think we
each create our own reality", MacLaine said. "I think I am creating
you right here," she once told an interviewer. Now there's a conversation-killer:
"You don't exist, I've imagined you!"
Sagan was saddened to see that the things he loved most, the wonder of the
universe and the scientific method that helps us understand it - were becoming
trivialized. Lacking the basic tools to discern between fact and fantasy,
more and more people opt to live in a world of angels and auras. Certainly,
warm and cozy comes easier than math and physics. More and more young people
see no difference between astrology and astronomy, and that does not bode
well for our ability to solve problems in the future.
Sagan referred to the new age and its inherent pseudo-science and marketing
as the "dumbing down" of America - not a new age at all but a
"dark age, indeed".
It is an age that hopefully will soon pass. As Sagan observed, "There
are wonders enough out there without our inventing any."
New Millennial Sites:
new sites in cyberspace"
PARAPSI: "On the Millennium, Death and Conciousness"
Michael Grosso, PhD, paranormal researcher and author of the Millennium
Myth, provides an archive of his writings and paintings.
MILLENNIA MONITOR: "Federation of American Scientists"
Founded by the members of the Manhattan project, this group devotes a corner
of its web to monitors millenarian groups which pose a risk to global security. Good articles and links from a proto-type site.
"Your link to the third millennium"
Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://www.talk2000.org
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Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
Publication keywords: millennium, events, groups, books
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
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