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: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking 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 cms@mille.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 talk2000@rmii.com and request an invitation.

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

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 body http://www.un.org/reform.

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 spirit."

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 worldwide.

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 movement.

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, talk2000@rmii.com

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

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 ommm7@rain.org, 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?
> [cut]
> Steve Diamond wants no violence anywhere on earth, but others might
> point out this is a dandy time for martial arts competition.
> [cut]
> People acting positively in different directions can come to blows. If
> neither side has any doubt, then the clash will continue until a side is
> 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 4th:

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 structures.

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.

This from Charles Cameron hipbone@earthlink.net 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, noting:
:: 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 sight of.

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 Masonic terms,
:: 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" prophecy:
:: 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

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 prosperous).

* 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:
"Here are 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 information.

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.

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://www.talk2000.org
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Submissions of newsworthy items: 2000ad-l@usc.edu
Editor: talk2000@rmii.com
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: media, events, millennium, society, future
This issue of "Let's Talk 2000" is copyright © 1997 by Bimillennial Press, Inc.
All rights reserved. LET'S TALK 2000 is a trademark of Bimillennial Press.