American Apocalypses Galore

In Daemonomania, the second installment of his magisterial and yet largely unrecognized Aegypt tetralogy, John Crowley writes: “when the world ends, it ends somewhat differently for each soul then alive to see it; the end doesn’t come all at once but passes and repasses over the world like the shivers that pass over a horse’s skin” (17). Elsewhere, Jacques Derrida saw apocalypses happening around us all the time and yet masking themselves from our view and ongoing—endings without ends. There is something truthful about these perspectives, different as they may be, and their intimate optic rings very true for many people as they struggle with cathartic events: personal tragedies, decline of communities, environmental degradation, loss of values and spiritualities, and economic precarity. Many of these world-endings seem to be connected—somewhat paradoxically, perhaps—to the knowledge and perception of the increasing complexity of the world. Over a quarter of a century ago, writing about the connections between spirituality and digital technologies, Eric Davis poetically described this condition as follows: “as global flows of information, products, peoples, and simulacra gush into our immediate lifeworlds, they chip away at our sense of standing on solid ground, of being rooted in a particular time and place” (278). The fact that such personal apocalypses do not necessarily result in absolute physical annihilation and often spell out the arrival of something else is, needless to say, more than appropriate given the original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse.’

Read all of this Article in aspeers's Free Full Text Mode