What amazes me is the *speed* of the moral descent.
Yup. Bingo! Yes!! Exactly…
That’s why I think it’s so important to track undertows as well as tides – the archaic rituals and myths, the archetypal dreams and nightmares of people like AQ, or La Familia, or even Harold Camping.
They’re below the surface, beneath our radar – until they “show”. And then they blow our minds.
That’s why I think apocalyptic movements are so significant.
By the time the Chinese Government found ten thousand or so qi gong practitioners protesting at Zhongnanhai in 1999, there were arguably as many practitioners (70 m) across China as there were members of the CPC (60+ m) – and any number of them might be listening to Li Hongzhi‘s Falun Dafa tapes while cultivating themselves in the park… The recognition that the Party might have a movement on its hands to compare with the Taiping rebellion (20 m lives lost) was what drove the fierce repression that followed…
It was as though Falun Gong came out of nowhere.
And who knew that Harold Camping’s prophecies broadcast out of a radio station in Oakland, CA could move “several thousand Hmong followers of a sub-Christian messianic cult” to gather for the end in Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien Province, Vietnam – conflating the prophecies of their own messiah figure, “a 25-year-old man named Zhong Ka Chang, now renamed Tu Jeng Cheng, meaning ‘the important one’” with Camping’s returning Christ, and expecting him to “appear and establish a pan-Hmong kingdom” (quotes from Compass Direct).
We laugh at Camping. But he touched a nerve.
Pretty much by definition, societies are and choose to remain unconscious of their unconscious contents until it’s too late, so they always surprise us.
They’re in our blind-spot, by definition.