Let's Talk 2000

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

January 1, 1999, Volume 5, Issue 1, a monthly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
The News From Field:

Talk from the Forum:
New Millennial Sites:
Contact Information

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

"Strange Days" indeed as the movie title puts it. Only a year until the arrival of the year 2000. Are you ready for the deluge of millennium extravaganzas and torrent of doomsday predications of a millennium meltdown? It almost makes one think twice before embarking on the journey toward 2000.

1998 seemed to be the year when the Millennium bug took its first bite--at least on society's perceptions. While the push for millennium compliance by corporations and government was needed, it seemed to preempt civic thinking about taking strides toward becoming millennium communities. Y2K even re-energized apocalyptic groups, who were in a seven-year slump since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

The Year 2000 Computer problem even opened up a side market in 1998. Going beyond millennial travel, consumers purchased millennial survival items, whether food storage or power backups. Survivalism, Monica Lewisky, Russian or Asian economic downturn.... I am eager to say goodbye to 1998 with its assortment of black holes.

Now more than ever, we need to approach the turn of the millennium as a thought provoking occasion.

What if you stumbled upon a person who was living in the dark, starved, chained, drugged and poisoned? You would likely turn on the light, unlock their chains and nourish them back to health. That poor soul is the human imagination-- yours and mine. Life was never meant to be lived in confined quarters, but in the large open spaces of freedom and creativity.

Today we enter the Millennium Moment, that sabbatical season from 1999 - 2001. It is time pause, catch our breath and ponder the past, present and future. In the end, that is only kind of journey which is worth embarking on. So inspite of the doomsayers and even Nostradamus, Happy New Year's 1999!

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

From Talfagar Square to Times Square, from Sydney to Singapore, millions of New Year's revelers jammed city squares last night to welcome the arrival of 1999. Feeding on millennia frenzy, Times Square 2000 drew one half million people, up 20 percent from previous years.

In other flagship cities, such as Boston, "First Night" crowds welcomed the new year through through an emphasis on the arts, and family participation. Organizers report 200 other cities in North America followed the non-alcoholic pattern. Some spent the New Year's Eve in a more pensive fashion, in traditional watchnight church services or by heeding new age calls to "spend 30 minutes... in prayer or meditation" for world peace. But everywhere, it seemed the talk was, "What we are going to do next year?"

Seeking to catch the tenor of the age, CNN ran a multi-part series asking whether the Millennium Bug would bite. Financial markets in Europe took a deep breath at the introduction of the Euro currency. Following suit, pop bands across the U.S. played '1999'--by the artist formerly known as Prince. Mindful of the midnight millennium crash of 2000, people danced to the 1982 pop hit which contains a crazy mix of apocalyptic dread and glib party wonder. "There were people running everywhere/Tryin' 2 run from destruction, U know I didn't even care, Cuz they say/ Two thousand zero zero party over, oops out of time/So tonight I'm going party like its 1999."

On December 1st, 17-year-old high school senior, Venesa Bragg of Phoenix Arizona, received the "Miss Millennium" sachet from the her high school principle and the Governor of Arizona, June Dee Hull. Venessa Bragg was selected as "Miss Millennium" from a nationwide peace letter writing contest. Her 600-word essay appealed to the Prime Minister of Israel to use the approach of the year 2000 to achieve peace. The "Miss Millennium" contest was organized by Club2000.com, a popular millennium web-site. A speaking and singing tour is being organized for schools in 1999 for Venesa Bragg, as Miss Millennium, to present the "ten bonds of love," symbols from millennium alphabet developed by Club 2000. Source: http://www.club2000.com

When the end of the world arrives how will the media report it? Dr. Ted Daniels mpred@pipeline.com of the Millennial Watch Institute forwarded a playful post with these headlines: --USA Today: We're Dead
--The Wall Street Journal: Dow Jones Plummets as World Ends
--National Enquirer: O.J. and Nicole, Together Again
--Playboy: Girls of the Apocalypse
--Microsoft Systems Journal: Apple Loses Market Share
--Victoria's Secret Catalog: Our Final Sale
--Sports Illustrated: Game Over
--Wired: The Last New Thing
--Rolling Stone: The Grateful Dead Reunion Tour
--Readers Digest: 'BYE
--Discover Magazine: How Will The Extinction of All Life As We Know It Affect the Way We View the Cosmos?
--TV Guide: Death and Damnation: Nielson Ratings Soar!
--Lady's Home Journal: Lose 10 Lbs by Judgement Day with Our New "Armageddon" Diet!
--America Online: System Temporarily Down. Try Calling Back in 15 Minutes
--Inc. magazine: Ten Ways You Can Profit from the Apocalypse
--Microsoft's Web Site: If You Didn't Experience the Rapture, Download Software
--Sun: Armageddon Tolerant Software Now Available!

A few more:

--NY Times, p. 1 below the fold: "World to End, Scientists Say" Details p. B36
--Martha Stewart Magazine: "A Simple Sit Down Supper for 144,000 to Honor the Antichrist."
--In-Flight: "New Reduced Fares to Megiddo!"
--Washington Post: "House Deadlocked Over Apocalypse Authorization"
--Washington Times: "Who's Really Behind the Apocalypse?"
--New York Magazine: "The Hamptons' Chicest Bon Voyage Parties"
--Cosmopolitan: "Ten Bed-Time Secrets to Make Your Man Think it's the End of the World"
--Village Voice: "Antichrist to Prohibit Body Piercing. Demonstrations Planned."
--Soldier of Fortune: "This Is It!"
--MTV: Huh?

HERE IS HOW the media is actually covering the turn of the millennium this month:

"Couple go on road trip to generate exhibit portraying U.S. life in 1999," Knight Ridder newspapers, Dec 30, 1998. A south Florida lecturer and his wife set out to travel 50 states by carand collect artifacts for an FIU Library collection, called "Taking the Pulse of America: A Millennium Time Capsule." http://www.intothemillennium.com

"Strategies," Travel & Leisure, Vol. 29, No 1, pp. 78, January 1, 1999. Shares how to outsmart pickpockets and price-gouging on millennium travel packages.

"Y2K: One Year and Counting." Bonny L. Georgia, Home office computing. Vol 17, No 1, pp. 58, January 1, 1999. Terrified that the millennium bug will take a bite out of your business? Here's what's really going to happen.

"Let's not sleep through the millennium. Tom McGrath, U.S. Catholic. Vol 64, No 1 pp. 27, January 01, 1999. Reader offers ideas on how Catholics can make the most of this moment.

"Prognosticator, Special Fin de Siecle Edition" David Rakoff. Outside. Vol 24, No 1, pp. 50, January 1, 1999 Have the nineties saved their best for last? Wouldn't you like to know. Our seer has taken a quick glance at the future, however, and what he's found--The Death of Street Luge! A Brave New Delaware! The All-You-Can-Snort Olympics!--promises one helluva way to end a millennium.

"What it Takes to Lead into the Next Millennium." Will Phillips, History News. Vol 53, No 4, pp. 28, Fall, 1998. State and local history association.

"100 Things To Do Before the Millennium." Melina Gerosa. The Ladies' home Journal. Vol 116, No 1, pp. 114. January 01, 1999. Don't let the twentieth century slip away without squeezing in more fun and adventure!

"A Spaced-Out Odyssey." Gayle Hanson. Insight. Vol 14, No 43, pp. 16, Nov 23, 1998. The Third Millennium promises celestial and spiritual fireworks.

"Airports try to head off millennium bug specter," by Suzanne Perry, Reuters news service, December 21, 1998. Summary: The air sector is scrambling to head off Y2K problems, to help airports share solutions and to insure safety or eliminate incoveniences.

"Y2K: Worse Than Anyone Thought.: Business week. No 3608, pp. 38, December 14, 1998. The final reckoning for the millennium bug could hit $1 trillion.

"No Y2k Worries for Social Security Recipients," PCWEEK, Dec 3, 1998. Older Americans who depend on Social Security can feel secure about receiving their retirement benefits because the Y2K bug has been solved for the system, says President Clinton.

"Wine: champagne for the millennium." (buying fine wine for Year 2000 celebration--column) by Barbara EnsrudThe Wall Street Journal, Dec 17, 1998 pA20(E)

"Apocalypse Soon?" Wes Howard-Brook, Sojourners, Vol 28, No 1, pp. 36, January 1, 1999 As the new millennium approaches, there's a growing ferment about the imminence of the end times. What mix of scripture interpretation and social reality underlies this trend? Part one of a look at the roots of apocalyptic thought.

"Last Word For A Century (experiencing the new millennium)" Kurt Vonnegut. Playboy, Jan 1999 p82(1).

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

Talk 2000 contributor and scholar, John J. Reilly VBDS39A@prodigy.com, has recently published a book on-line, entitled, The Perennial Apocalypse: How the End of the World Shapes History. Reilly describes in his own words his new book:

The Perennial Apocalypse is a comparative study of myths and stories about the end of the world, including some formal theories of history. The book has two major conclusions:

(1) There are surprisingly common structural similarities among these ideas about the end of the world; and

(2) The image of the end of the world has had a great deal of influence on how societies act. The effects can be very different, however, ranging from apocalyptic cults to the idea of progress.

Most subjects relevant to universal eschatology (the study of the last things) are at least touched on in "The Perennial Apocalypse." The book covers such familiar items as the truth about the year 1000 and the origin of the doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture. There is also what I believe to be some wholly original treatment of the "eschatology" of H.P. Lovecraft and the role of apocalyptic thinking in the evolution of nuclear strategic doctrine. People interested in either general history or millennialism in particular should find something to like in this book.

"The Perennial Apocalypse" is being published in PDF format by Online Originals http://www.onlineoriginals.com. See that site for cost and download instructions. (You can also get a free chapter.)

If you would like to just find out more about the book, please go to the Abstract at http://pages.prodigy.net/aesir/perap.htm. There you can also find a link to my Eschatology page, which has a great deal of material on this subject, http://pages.prodigy.com/VBDS39A/index.htm

Jerry Glenn jglenn@igc.apc.org director of the American Council for the United Nations University offers this report of their joint planning with the Millennium Society to conduct a multi-media event and syposium at the Great Pyramids of Egypt:

From 29 Dec - 8 January, I will be in Cairo, Egypt with Ed McNally, the Chairman of the Millennium Society to further expore the proposed New Year's Eve 1999 event at the Great Pyramids followed by the Millennium Symposium. Here's a brief overview of the concept:

The Mind's Embrace of Time: The Millennium Project proposes to coordinate with the entertainers who will perform at the Pyramids - as to content and form - to create a scientific and artistic fusion of the millennium message of celebration of human achievement and understanding of the challenges we face in common.

The Millennium Project proposes to create the content for a 20 minute show of the sweep of history, celebration of human achievement, and prospects for the future via many images rapidly displayed and voice, culminating in the spectacular lighting of the "Eye in the Sun" or "Ain Shams" on top of the Pyramids.

The first five minutes show historic overviews of how humanity arrived to the year 2000: Evolution of cognition from phototropic algae to foresight via the human brain; Growth of human conscious-ness from survival to cosmic compassion; Technological growth from control of fire to the space age; Social organization from small groups of hunter-gather tribes to six billion people with governments harmonizing international standards and millions of data banks linked via the Internet.

The second five minutes will illustrate the issues we face at the millennium such as the increasing scarcity of fresh water, population growth where people can least afford the necessities of life, rich-poor gap, threats of new, re-emerging, and immune micro-organisms, diminishing capacity to decide, the nature of work is changing, etc.

The third five minutes will highlight the opportunities we have such as the expanding potential of scientific and technological breakthroughs, emerging strategies for world peace, security, and sustainable development, etc.

The last five minutes will underscore the decisions we face such as cost effective global education, partnerships between rich and poor, scientific collaboration, and respect for future generations. Then the explosion of light radiating in all directions from the top of the Pyramids to dramatically bring in the Dawn of the Year 2000 - an image of the pyramids never scene before on the real pyramids, yet seen for millennia as the mystical drawings of enlightenment.

The Millennium Symposium: The content of the 20 minute show is proposed to expand into a five-day symposium that begins at the Great Pyramids of Giza, travels north to the Alexandria Library and Light House, then south to the Valley of the Kings, and east to St. Katharine's Monastery in the Sinai, and then returning west to Cairo at the Mohamed Ali Mosque and ending at the Pyramids at Giza.

A book, CD-ROM, and video tapes are anticipated products of this symposium for world distribution. The Egyptian Minister of Media has offered television coverage of both the event and the entire symposium and global television satellite feeds.

On December 14th, Dr. Ted Daniels mpred@pipeline.com director of Millennium Watch Institute responded to a post, which pleaded:
> Please, folks the millennium has no inherent value or meaning. Its just a date...

Unfortunately we're dealing with the mythic realm of desire here. The millennium combines certain attributes that make it into a black hole of the imagination, so that, despite the fact that the date is entirely arbitrary, some and perhaps a lot of people will invest it with the most portentous of meanings, despite all argument to the contrary.

I say it's a black hole for these reasons: it will happen. It's perfectly predictable, and it will happen for everyone close enough to at once to make no difference. Accordingly it attracts everyone's attention to some degree. On the other hand it gives absolutely nothing back. It's absolutely obscure, like a real black hole. It has to mean something, though, because of its properties as a strange attractor, so we have no choice but to invest it with meanings we invent: myths.

It's an aesthetic event, and to that extent perfectly real. But the most powerful aesthetic events don't stay comfortably in that realm. Star Trek didn't, and we had Heaven's Gate. The TV show thus was an authentic myth, and the millennium will, for numbers of people, far outweigh its power. It has no intrinsic meaning, to be sure. It's like what my homey Claude Levi-Strauss called magic: a semantic zero with no intrinsic import that yet holds a real place. So we fill it in from the stock of myths we already know: Christianity, UFO belief, New Age, Islam, Judaism, Zorastrianism and even (gasp) science. Yes, there is scientific apocalypticism, and always has been.

So I'm afraid it's futile to expect people to abandon apocalyptic speculation now or ever.

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

MILLENNIUM BUREAU OF CANADA: "Sharing the memory, shaping the dream"
The millennium site of the government of Canada. Excellent description of programs and links to Canadian and int'l programs.

MILLENNIUM PARTY REGISTRY: "Promote your event worldwide"
Offers promoters an event registery to reach those "who are now looking in earnest for somewhere to go on the biggest night out ever." Produced by Jenkins Electronic Publishing Associates, averaging 300 hits a day.

PC WEEK'S Y2K WATCH: "e-mail newsletter for IT professionals"
Read news, reviews, case studies and resources for conquering the Year 2000 computer problem. Each biweekly mailing includes links to the updates and resources.

Contact Information:
"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
author, The Star of 2000
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Publication keywords: millennium, media, events, usenet
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