again and again and again

January 6, 2022
I had a dream last night about a language that had a verb tense especially for apocalyptic things, but the culture believed in endless recurring cycles, so it meant "this will happen, and/but has already happened".

Probably it comes from thinking about this quote, about Epic of Gilgamesh:
i just love the concept of a narrative foil and by narrative foil I mean a soul mate and by soul mate I mean a mirror image, a photographic negative of your insides, whole in ways you are broken, broken in ways you are whole and by that I mean your fate and by that I mean the immovable object to your unstoppable force and by that I mean a star with which you are locked in fatal orbit, doomed to meet in cataclysmic fire with open arms. the person that makes you say I could love you everywhere in all the dark places that needed love, and I could love you so perfectly we would both be annihilated. the person that is your downfall because they're your perfect shadow and you are the hero of this story but, hero, this was always going to happen, not because it's written in the stars, but because you would choose it, again and again and again
(That "again and again and again" construction and concept of choosing the other, always, is also used in the Arcade Fire "The Suburbs (Continued)"- I did a deep reading of that haunting 1m30s of music last fall.)

It makes me think of how the other day I replied to a post quoting falsely attributed to noted theologian Tim Tebow about how, like, the rise of a cashless society was a predicted by the Book of Revelation, and, you know, the endtimes are probably gonna be in our lifetime, etc.

I'm not a person of faith but I try to be mature and sympathetic and reasonably gentle about other people's. Still, I'm really bothered by how apocalyptic thinking is basically incompatible with good stewardship of what we got. So I started my reply with Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." but then also pointed out that every generation seems to think that the end might be right around the corner, that even 2 verses before that Jesus was saying "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

Like, I guess you really have to stretch the meaning of "this generation" to still see Revelations as a guide to upcoming events. (Honestly I kind of like "preterism" that says these events have already somewhat happened, and we're living in a post-apocalyptic world already.)

But why does it bug me so much? Why do I feel compelled to chime in?

I am now fundamentally not a big swings planner and dreamer, and so I wonder, if I hadn't grown up with the idea that eternal life was possible IF you didn't screw this one up (and endless punishment for you if you did), followed by lessons outlining upcoming Christian persecution and general world-ending, and then more secular concerns like nuclear war, climate collapse, and in between those years I was really worried about Y2K computer implosions... would I have been better at shaping my career or maybe even aimed at a family life? (You can even make a narrative of my first main partner pivoting in her head to thinking in family terms, and me having not given indication I was joining her, and that drove her to look elsewhere.)

But, of course, there's a contradiction here. I mean which one is the driving theme, immortality or finality - that my soul is eternal, so I better be uptight and act right? Or almost the opposite, that everything is coming to an end, so don't bother to build?

Something I've got to ask, again and again and again.