zenpundit.com » Blog Archive » Of games IV: the apocalyptic touch

Of games IV: the apocalyptic touch

[ by Charles Cameron — some recent game references with seriously playful intent ]

Two things, really.

If you read the Jerusalem Post, you’ll likely have seen that:

Iran, Russia, China and Syria will hold the Middle East’s largest ever war game, Iranian news outlets reported quoting unnamed sources.

According to the report, 90,000 troops, 400 warplanes and 1,000 tanks from the four countries will take part in land and sea exercises. The war games will feature Russian atomic submarines, according to Iranian media, as well as warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers. Semi-official Iranian FARS news agency stated that the exercise was being planned in coordination with Egypt, which recently acceded to grant the passage of 12 Chinese warships through the Suez Canal. The report stated that the Chinese naval convoy is due to dock in Syrian harbors within the next two weeks.

That’s pretty much on the materiel side of things, IMO.


On the other hand, if you read Joel Rosenberg, you’ll have seen all that and more — and then this:

The story is particularly intriguing — and disturbing — in light of Bible prophecies in Ezekiel 38-39 that indicate a Russian-Iranian military alliance will develop in the “last days” to attack the nation of Israel. In my first nonfiction book, Epicenter, and in my novel, The Ezekiel Option, I describe these prophecies in detail. While it remains too early to know for certain if the “War of Gog and Magog” prophecies are going to be fulfilled in the near future, geopolitical trends in recent years and even in recent months have been curiously consistent with the ancient Biblical text. A militaristic Czar — Vladimir Putin — has risen to power in Russia. Putin is the only Russian leader in history to visit Israel (7 years ago), and is preparing to visit again on June 25, trying to make the Israelis feel comfortable with him. Yet Russia has been selling billions of dollars in arms to Iran and other nations described in the prophecies. Russia is currently sending naval ships and forces to Syria. Israelis are living more securely in the land, and are more prosperous, than ever in their modern history, also consistent with the prophecies.

Followed without a paragraph break by:

To learn more about the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39, please click here.

And the headline?

That’s more morale than materiel, I’d say!


So that’s Thing One, as Dr Seuss might put it. But what about Thing Two?

The big, apocalyptic war games are for big fellows like Gog, Magog and Putin, guys who can afford to wear the big-boy pants.

What about the little guys and gals?

That, YNet tells us, is where a spot tourism might come in handy…

Gush Etzion has become a hot destination in recent months for tourists seeking an Israeli experience like no other: The opportunity to pretend-shoot a terror operative. Residents of the nearby settlements, who run the site, offer day-trippers a chance to hear stories from the battleground, watch a simulated assassination of terrorists by guards, and fire weapons at the range.

The fact that the tourist attraction is located beyond the Green Line only intensifies the thrill for the visitors, who often appear disappointed when told by their guides that they are not in any danger.

That strikes me as just a tad messianic, too… in a very post-modern sort of way.

Cute pic from that YNet article, photo credit Alex Kolomoisky:

To judge by the surrounding text, that young lady’s from Miami. She’s five.

9 Responses to “Of games IV: the apocalyptic touch”

  1. Madhu Says:

    Did you see the following essay?:
    “Around the turn of the twenty-first century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun. The former had involved expectation, the hope that the human race would proceed toward some goal. But once the end of history was announced, the Communist enemy vanquished, and, more recently, the War on Terror all but won, the idea of progress lay moribund. What replaced the world’s human future was the future of the world as a material entity. The long list of emblematic victims—Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples—was likewise replaced, little by little, with the Planet, the new paragon of all misery. No longer were we summoned to participate in a particular community; rather, we were invited to identify ourselves with the spatial vessel that carried us, groaning.”
    Also, this movie:
    DNews Review: ‘Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World’
    As strange as it may seem, there’s humor in the end of the world. But there’s also the inevitable depression, panic and mind-numbing chaos that would accompany a 70-mile wide asteroid (with the innocuous name of “Matilda”) aimed right at our planet.
    But the story of Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightly) who “find each other” days before doom is deftly told by director and writer Lorene Scafaria.
    This isn’t a trashy doomsday movie based upon the terribly flawed myth that the ancient Mayans foretold doom, nor is it an action-packed sci-fi movie featuring nukes, conspiracies and spaceships. It’s a charming story about how the majority of us may (or may not) cope after all attempts to save the Earth have failed.”
    Sometimes I want to write a blog post called, “Get a Grip, People.” What is going on with the West (not only the West, I know, but in my examples above?)

  2. Madhu Says:

    My above comment (currently awaiting moderation) is why I think we need to invest in space travel and why human beings need some sene of progress and movement or they “stall” emotionally and psychologically. I am serious. I mean, psychologically, we may need it as a species. Still not kidding, although, you are all going to think I am weirder than you already do….

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    In what I take to be a longer variant on your first comment above, which you posted on Chicago Boyz, you quoted from one of Pundita’s posts from 2005, “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold“:

    Those who talk about saving humanity from disaster are referencing opportunity that is long gone. The ship left the pier decades ago. Given the combination of factors, there is no way humanity can avoid crashing into the metaphorical iceberg. However, the Titanic passengers who were killed did not die because of the impact of the ship’s crash. They died because the ship maker and the shipping company didn’t build in margins of error. They assumed the ship was unsinkable so–not enough lifeboats, no disaster drills, no backup SOS system, etc.
    We can’t avert all coming disasters but we can widen our margin of error–minimize our exposure to disasters and maximize our responses to them. There’s plenty enough human brainpower for the task, thanks to our mega-population. The challenge is to get more of the brainpower involved with governing decisions and oversight.
    That’s where democratic government comes in. Democracy is no longer just about the choice between freedom and slavery. It’s about transferring decision-making from small numbers (an ‘elite’) to large numbers with their vast diversity of experience and education. It’s about the human race making it through this century in one piece.


    I love the Yeats, of course — but Pundita’s post is also spectacular, and I thank you for bringing it to our attention. 

  4. Charles Cameron Says:

    So what happens to Joel Rosenberg’s”Echoes of Bible Prophecy” — specifically including “a Russian-Iranian military alliance” scheduled for the lead up to the end times — if the Reuters / Chicago Tribune report from June 19th

    Russia and Syria on Tuesday denied an Iranian media report that Syria would host Russian, Chinese and Iranian military forces for joint exercises

    turns out to be true?
    In Rosenberg’s newest (nonfiction) book, Implosion, he criticizes Hal Lindsey, the author of The Late, Great Planet Earth (1970) whose prophetic career is still going strong with his latest, The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad (2011):

    For example, Lindsey wrote that since Israel was reborn in 1948 and since a generation — in his view — was forty years, the rapture would likely take place by 1988. He began by citing Matthew 24:34, where Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.’ Lindsey asked, ‘What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs — chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so.’

    Doesn’t there come a time when people simply live their lives with a generous spirit, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and so forth?
    I know, I’m going all Augustinian…

  5. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Madhu has some interesting comments above.
    I once placed the Armageddon-mongering in the psyche:  we desire something to break up the cognitive ice, so we desire the Armageddon.  It is a stand-in, or the manifestation of a dimly understood (if at all!) interior need.  Armageddon in this case is a kind of revolution.  Or as the Joker might say, “Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos.”  Or to look at it yet one more way:  when everything becomes so ordered, or appears to have become ordered, all of life becomes terribly predictable.  A giant meteor or destructive demi-god suddenly appearing in the sky would break up that order, make things no longer predictable.  A singularity.  Interestingly, there is another case to be made for the requirement of having an outside force making contact with an established order, for creating “progress” or something “new”, if we approach that case a) using chaos theory and b) mixing chaos theory w/ how the mind might work—but this is only a teaser; I don’t want to go there just now.
    However, since forming my original hypothesis about the reason behind the existence of Armageddon-mongering, I’ve read a lot of Nietzsche.   His theory of nihilism as the end-result of having had all established orders upset….might put a spin on my original hypothesis.  Plus his other ideas.   For instance, “the herd” that has lost all dependable shepherds, or masters, or whatnot, might end up desiring some unavoidable and world-shattering event in order to have an irrefutable guide as to how they should orient themselves: a focal point, as it were, or a Truth around which orientation might form.
    Dunno.  Just thoughts. 

  6. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    “The falcon cannot hear the falconer” —ah yes, followed the link you provided. This is line with my second long para above. The second stanza though would be in line w/my first, I think.
    I have also to add, in case you (or others) have read any of my ideas re: performativity, that we might have an innate orientation to participate in performativity.  A result or lucky happenstance of evolution.  That we individuals might, as Nietzsche proposed, have created a social fabric called consciousness.  In short and crude terms:  We look to other persons to find out how we should orient (in addition to looking at the materiel reality for guides to orientation.) We have had to orient to the exterior for. so. long. now.
    It would not so much be that performativity exists or occurs, as that we have become dependent on it, while hardly knowing that we have.  It is habitual—and the root of so much that makes us human (as we understand that word.)  We look out, and what do we see?  Perhaps excessive order flooding our view (which seems utterly inadequate to the interior, or self-consciousness—or else too demanding, too various or contradictory in itself) or excessive lack of order in our view (nihilism?)….may either one lead to Armageddon-mongering? 

  7. larrydunbar Says:

    “We look to other persons to find out how we should orient ”

    Pretty close to what I need in my Tweeter “flux” link. Every movement of energy creates a potential by just moving. In this case “looking” is “moving”, so when you orient towards an advantage in the environmental you observe, you create flux, a push in the same direction except at a different tempo. This leads to a harmonization of loops, as the revolutions of an electric motor reaches max speed (horsepower). 

    So “flux”, as a means of entering a OODA loop, starts in Observation. Not much flux, when you penetrate the environment but pickups as you start Isolating the advantages, because Isolation is almost all explicit, except all advantages are not explicit.

    Of course to “Isolate” means to kill, but that is not all it means as there is an implicit meaning for Isolation, i.e., to Isolate connections (PISRR). As connections become more Isolated there is an increase of flux (entropy?), if one can “feel” a connection that one can’t Observe.

  8. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Larry:  Thumbs up! Damn, where’s my FB hand….?
    I tend to see Twitter and FB and YT…etc., as this writ large; and have wondered if the advent of these in the history of our species might be a kind of sudden acceleration.  I think I once referred to social media as a mirror.  Remember, if we look to other persons to find out how we should orient, they are often looking back, doing the same.  This opens up so much opportunity for loops of influence.  But also, we each may look at our own performances in the mirror, step back, and get a niggling of the processes that are occurring, what we are doing.

  9. Charles Cameron Says:

    Is hindsight what you couldn’t see with foresight?
    I ask, because prophecy is mostly associated with foresight, but the people like Joel Rosenberg who write about current affairs seem to use hindsight to make sense of prophecy.
    Putin is visiting Israel, and today, for instance, Joel Rosenberg blogged: 

    Tomorrow I hope to post analysis of Day One and some insights both into why Putin might have chosen to visit Israel again, and how it all might relate to the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 concerning the prophetic “last days” alliance between Russia and Iran against Israel.

    Speculating about what the visit of one head of state to another state may portend is a bit different from wondering how it relates to prophecy, and until Putin paid his surprise visit, as far as I know Rosenberg wasn’t guessing “Putin will go to Jerusalem any day now” — so he’s tuning news specifics to fit prophecies in ways he himself couldn’t have (or didn’t) predict, even though those events may fit his existing prophetic model of what’s goin on in a more general sense.
    I’m reminded of something I wrote more than a decade ago, and will repost here — not because it offers an answer, but because it raises the questions I think are important for thinking about prophecy with critical awareness…
    Just as nature and scripture can be “read against” one another, each perhaps illuminating the other at times, so in the case of one particular scripture — the Revelation — the book is “read against” history: there’s a long history of interpreters attempting to “translate” the book into contemporary political terms.
    Luther is one who tried his hand at this:

    Since it is meant as a revelation of what is to come, and especially of coming tribulations and disasters for the Church, we can consider that the first and surest step toward finding its interpretation is to take from history the events and disasters that have happened to the Church before now and to hold them up alongside these pictures and so compare them with the words. If, then, the two fit and agree with each other, we can build on that as a sure, or at least an unobjectionable, interpretation.

    But Bernard McGinn makes a shrewd comment on Luther’s process, in his article on Revelation in Robert Alter and Frank Kermode’s Literary Guide to the Bible

    Earlier interpreters, such as Joachim (but not Augustine), had also claimed to find a consonance between Revelation’s prophecies and the events of Church history, but they had begun with Scripture and used it as a key to unlock history. Paradoxically, Luther, the great champion of the biblical word, claimed that history enabled him to make sense of Revelation…

    So: which direction should theologians “read” the analogy between Revelation and history in?
    Should they, like Luther, start with history and try to “shoe-horn” the Book of Revelation to fit it, or vice versa? There are two very different processes here, and the results may be correspondingly different — but when people today read accounts of Revelation which propose that the “end times” are nigh, they seldom even ask the question: which came first in the interpreter’s mind?

Switch to our mobile site