Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Just a bit on prophecy, symbols and interpretation

It is very easy to write expertly on matters of opinion, when we are expert on our opinions and the reasons that we have them. Some opinions are valued, others not, depending on the subject matter and the depth of understanding the holder of the opinion has in that subject matter. To be really valuable, a demonstration of the depth of understanding of the opinion holder is required, through some manner of a record of accomplishments in the subject in question.

Incidentally, if you have an opinion and are not expert on the reasons you have it, then it is (in my opinion) a matter of some self-inquiry as to the basis for it, but that is tangential to my reason for posting...

My reason for posting does relate to opinions, though, and in particular the opinion as to whether or not various prophecy is valid at all.

The Revelations of John in the Bible are a very oft quoted and much interpreted set of prophecies. There is one section, that talks about kingdoms and kings in a symbolic way, where the symbols have been expertly "mapped" onto certain kingdoms of the day, both prior to the time of the prophecy and after, making it interesting.

Now, it is always the case that this mapping of symbols from abstract things to real ones is a matter of opinion.

An example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augury in the time of the Romans, a significant amount of emphasis was placed on this practice, which was as important to large scale planning as data analysis would be today, and the opinion of a skilled practioner was an absolute requirement before any undertaking. So, an augerer would observe the mechanism of the prophecy (e.g. movement of a flight of birds) in a certain situation (e.g. within an especially contrived viewing area) and would report on the indications, on the "auspices", derived from the observation.

So there were characteristics to this mechanism of prophecy that had been cataloged by the practitioners thereof, and the presence or absence of certain of these characteristics helped shape the determination. These things were extremely important, in many early civilizations. In "The Art of War", among the components of the first step is to gauge the auspices.

That the institutions that enshrined these prophecies flourished and endured for as long as they did is kind of amazing. But these are more kind of "practical" prophecies: prophecies with a purpose, and very likely often tainted by some knowledge of what the requestor of the "forecast" really wanted, like the modern fictional premise of the fortune teller being retained as long as the right fortunes were dispensed.

Lately, it seems like the more "abstract" prophecies, like the Revelations, or like the Hopi Prophecy of the Blue Star Kachina, that are made for purely for prophecy's sake are all the rage because of the Mayan calendar thing. Really, a prophecy about the end of the world is not particularly useful, because if it's true, there is not a lot one can do about it other than change personally, which of course these prophecies exhort.

But the reason I'm writing this is to state an opinion about these things, and the opinion is that people who try to interpret them seriously need to be more considerate. They need to be considerate of the people who they are affecting with these interpretations, and also more considerate of the content they are interpreting.

For example: the Comet Lovejoy is clearly a prominently visible (in the Southern Hemisphere) blue "star". The Blue Star Kachina "dances in the plaza and removes his mask" is readily extrapolated from "flies through the center of the Solar System and loses it's outer mantle". Wow, ok. So if this Comet is the Blue Star, then what should happen next? Well, next two brothers appear, the nephews of the Blue Star.

And here is the other aspect of consideration: how soon is next?

When you read Revelations, things happen rapidly, one after the other: angels pouring vials and trumpets sounding. But there is no specific indication of how quickly, only that there is a sequence.

So even if one absolutely nails any of the indicators in any of these prophecies to a certain thing in a certain time, Even if the Comet Lovejoy is the Blue Star Kachina, these two brothers, who appear in the Northwest, may not come for some time. Or, they may come very soon. Then, after these, the Red Star, which is really the horrible part, analogous to the star that falls to Earth in Revelations.

Again, when each "next" is in relation to the before, there is no indication.

But here is the final thing, the thing that is sure: both the prophecy of the Revelations and the Blue Star Kachina indicate that the primary reason for these awful tribulations is a spiritual transformation. This transformation, one can undertake at any time.

So, logically: rather than worrying about when the end happens, cut to the chase and (if you have not already) begin your transformation, and you'll be ok. Or, as ok as one can be given these things.

And there is maybe some irony that the ones most likely to be destroyed by the foretold calamaties are the ones least likely to pay attention to prophecies.


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