Welcoming the Apocalypse

by Matthew Wardour (November 2019)

The Horseman of the Apocalypse, Salvador Dali, 1970



. . . what had seemed at times a rather empty existence turned out now to be lucky. My mother and father were dead, my one attempt to marry had miscarried some years before, and there was no particular person dependent on me. And, curiously, what I found that I did feel—with a consciousness that it was against what I ought to be feeling—was release . . .


All the old problems, the stale ones, both personal and general, had been solved by one mighty slash. Heaven alone knew what might arise—and it looked as though there would be plenty of them—but they would be new. I was emerging as my own master, and no longer a cog. It might well be a world full of horrors and dangers that I should have to face, but I could take my own steps to deal with it—would no longer be shoved hither and thither by forces and interests that I neither understood nor cared about.


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I fear this is the direction of most Western countries today. Freedom of conscience has less appeal to people than freedom of expression, and so if someone’s beliefs conflict with someone else’s freedom of expression, it is freedom of belief that is suppressed. This is why we as a society increasingly treat religion as merely a system of practices, not beliefs. Modern British society’s ready endorsement of Islam, for example, is contradicted by its abhorrence of many mainstream Muslim beliefs. Expression and identity are more important than speech and thought.


The triffids were plants which people grew in their garden, which society thought they could tame in spite of the obvious and fatal dangers, and which industries thought they could profit on because a great deal of oil could be extracted from them. In other words, society let it happen. Our society will go the same way. We have already planted the seeds of our destruction in our gardens.



Read more in New English Review:
Welcoming the Apocalypse
Rouhani, Erdogan, and Putin: Masters of Geopolitics
Past and Future Gulags, Pt 2


Future generations, for whom our technological civilisation will be but a point in history, will wonder, resentfully, why we had so much and yet did so little with it. The answer may be that we simply have too much, and in the same way that a man with too much on his plate can no longer stomach his life, our civilisation is overburdened and will therefore collapse. We have more debt than we can sustain, more people than we can support, far more goods than we can and should consume, and most of all, far more desires than can ever be satisfied, yet desires we are told we have a moral and psychological obligation to satisfy.


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Matthew Wardour is an English musician and occasional writer. He blogs on culture, politics and other things which catch his fancy at smelfungus.blogspot.com

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