Saturday, July 07, 2012
The Doomsday Symphony: Chapter 62
In the previous installment of The Doomsday Symphony, in the confusion following Beethoven's accident, Dr. Kerr and Sebastian debate whether or not to leave Kedaver behind in 1802 or allow him to return to the present. In the meantime, Klavdia Klangfarben has decided to do something she has always dreamed of doing: going back to her childhood so she could save her mother's life. As the final part of the novel begins, we find ourselves caught up in a dialogue concerning various prophecies about the End of Time.
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“Behold, for I shall lift the veil and make known unto you that which shall be the end of the great indignation, that the end of Time shall be the vision, but none shall understand it.”
So what use is it, then, if none shall understand it, as you say? What mysteries can we comprehend if they are incomprehensible?
“God speaks in wondrous mysteries to which the wise receive the power of understanding. They interpret them so that others may understand.”
Considering how many claim wisdom, how many of them will interpret these mysteries differently?
“For I have received a vision, blessed of God who showed me a man, yet unlike any man I have ever seen.”
And what was so different about this man that only you could see him?
“His body was of beryl, his face of lightening; his eyes were lamps afire.”
And none who stood with you could see him?
“Not me, unworthy as I am, but one, a prophet, wiser than all others. He spoke of this, thus it was written. Thus have his words been transmitted through the ages henceforth, from generation unto generation.”
And how did this prophet of whom you speak describe when Time shall end? Is there some plan, some warning we should beware?
“He spoke in myriads of symbols that only those enlightened souls could rightly understand. The mystery is not yielded easily to common comprehension.”
And yet, you, it seems, have found a way to decipher these eternal mysteries?
“Yes. There is a God in Heaven that shall in time reveal these secrets, not to astrologers and priests of mighty kings, but to special anointed souls through dreams of what should come to pass hereafter.”
But why not me, who in all my days and dreams has never had such visions and revelations, except after eating spicy food?
“We know in part and prophesy in part. But when perfection has arrived, that which is in part shall be done away.”
Does the attainment of perfection necessarily imply the destruction of the world we know?
“After a thousand years, Satan shall be loosed from his prison to wreak havoc on the nations of the earth’s four corners.”
Are we talking Vikings around 1000 A.D. or Islamic terrorists in the year 2001?
“Gog and Magog join forces for a great battle till Heaven’s fire devours them.”
God wins but the Earth will become collateral damage?
“In an age when intolerable evil and chaos have been loosed upon the world, the Lord shall manifest himself as an avatar, establishing righteousness upon the Earth so people’s minds again become as pure as crystal.”
If the world becomes spiritually degraded and lives are shortened by violence and greed, does not evil’s extent vary from cycle to cycle?
“A cycle of four ages reflects the decline of civilization between periods of timelessness, regenerating the world’s existence in mind and spirit.”
Thus, time is an endless cycle and the pattern of the ages repeat indefinitely?
“Forgotten, the Buddha’s teachings will be replaced by violence, murder, greed and lust, before a new Buddha rediscovers the path to Nirvana.”
If this cycle results in lawlessness, will its destruction lead to another renewed creation?
“His wholesome teachings will disappear in 5,000 years when people no longer heed them.”
Buddha lived around 500 B.C. – we’re only half-way there?
“The final days will come when earthquakes cause the mountains to crash down, when Gog and Magog will be released, killing everything.”
Didn’t these prophets also tell us ‘when female singers and musical instruments become popular’?
“The rich will prosper; the poor, starve; great distances, traversed in brief time spans.”
Didn’t they also say ‘when men will wear silk’?
“The earth is more barren and a dark cloud makes the whole sky night.”
Is climate change a sign of the End?
“The earth shall be covered by vastly deep waters.”
Let us retire to Valhalla.
“Ever since the 19th Century when Thomas Malthus began warning us that greatly increasing populations would lead to widespread famine and catastrophes, fears of mass starvations and widening inequalities between the rich and poor have increased. Social revolution on a global scale and warfare over water-rights may be as inevitable as impending man-made disasters, nuclear war and climate change.”
Will acid rain, greenhouse gases and biological terrorism kill off all life on earth? Will famine lead to the destruction of mankind? Will society act together to benefit all or collapse into individuals intent on survival?
“Even now, computers and telescopes trained on the skies have detected the presence of several spacecraft big as cities heading towards Earth. It is expected they shall arrive in December, 2012, easily conquering our defenseless planet.”
Can our nuclear warheads not be converted in time to wage war in space? Surely, a weak defense would be better than none?
“Y2K, had it occurred, would have initiated a post-millennial, technology-free age for the survivors, after destroying our economy and initiating nuclear destruction. Advances in Artificial Intelligence may work to our disadvantage, creating superhumans seeking our destruction.”
But complacency and obedience should be programmed into the creation of all future robots. Surely, as Y2K didn’t happen, technology will save itself?
“After cyanogen was discovered in the tail of Halley’s Comet, mankind would die from poisonous gasses when Earth passed through it in 1910.”
Haven’t comets been harbingers of Earth’s destruction one way or another since ancient times?
“In the 1500s, Nostradamus wrote that in the 7th month of 1999, a ‘great king of terror will come from the sky.’ Perhaps he was only two years and two months off from September 11th, 2001.”
The fact there are many prophecies and predictions that have not come to pass must surely mean not every one will come true?
“As the dinosaurs were no doubt wiped out by Earth’s collision with an asteroid, another such collision would inevitably destroy all mankind.”
Wouldn’t one passing near enough wreak havoc on our weather patterns and gravitational axis?
“The Mayan Calendar comes to an abrupt halt in 2012, indicating alignment with a black hole that will initiate a profound change.”
Will this mark a deep spiritual transformation or the complete destruction of the universe?
“All this proves is that the world will end. We just don’t know when.”
How can one be prepared when it finally does?
It had been very unexpected, Sebastian grabbing my arm and telling me, “We have to get back – I know where Xaq is.”
We decided to finish up in Heiligenstadt very quickly, which meant dealing with Kedaver.
Sebastian pointed to his head and said “I’ll explain later, but let’s settle this, first. I say he stays – teach him a lesson.”
Earlier, that almost imperceptible glint in his lawyerly eye, which brought the word “sleazy” to mind, made me reconsider taking him along. But now the fear visible on his face was not some well-practiced courtroom trick.
Perhaps he’d thought he found our weakness, playing on our humanity to his advantage. Since he would return the same time we would, presumably, what was to keep him from creating more trouble on his own? With or without Klangfarben, what reason did we possibly have to trust him now? We decided it was safer to leave him here.
Another variable we had to consider was what Klangfarben might be doing next, herself. Most likely, she’d be there, waiting for us. When would she figure out that Beethoven wasn’t dead? So far, she failed miserably. What was to keep her from starting over again, going back to find Bach? She could just keep on trying until she won.
Or she could “take us out” first, making sure we didn’t get in her way again. Clearly, she hadn’t counted on having interference. She would definitely need to eliminate us, but she’d need Kedaver to assist her.
Since we’d get back to the library almost as soon as we’d left it, there hadn’t been any real need to hurry. Why not hang out and lift a few glasses with Beethoven and his neighbors? We would be back in the library’s Time-Device Room before they’d realized we’ve gone, just as easily picking up where we’d left off.
But something was bothering Sebastian and, even though time was somehow different than what we knew, he sensed we were wasting it. Besides, Xaq clearly was in trouble, so the sooner we got back, the better.
And we didn’t know how stable Sauerbraten’s device was. Without his help, we’d be stuck if we were unaware the battery died. Would he know how to find us, rescuing us if we failed to return?
So we decided to leave Kedaver behind, promising to come back for him in an hour, a few days, or maybe just seconds.
A look of desperation distorting his face, Kedaver screamed and made a mad lunge at me, knocking me quickly to the ground. The Time-Device flew out of my hand, hitting the ground a few yards away.
Beethoven, turning toward the commotion, almost stepped on it. Kedaver’s look of horror was almost matched by Binder’s when the thing began beeping.
Everybody stood back, like it was some kind of grenade about to go off. But Beethoven picked it up, regarding it quizzically. He realized he could hear it but he had no idea what it was.
Meanwhile, the bartender and the old farmer had managed to pull Kedaver off of me and Sebastian helped me to my feet, when Beethoven, in a single, fluid gesture, held the contraption up to his ear.
He said “Hello? Hello?” then holding it out to me, added, “it’s for you.”
He winked as everybody else, not sure why, laughed.
Kedaver groaned and thrashed about, trying to access his own Time-Device, but they held him fast, leading him away with good-natured cajolery. I took out Sauerbraten’s unit, figured it was time and pressed the iHome app.
With everybody else heading back into the tavern, Beethoven turned to beckon to us, surprised to discover we were no longer standing there.
But instead of the library, Sebastian and I found ourselves in a strange room. Where had we ended up? Ah, of course! The iHome app was naturally programmed for Sauerbraten’s house!
And now, to get going.
Mayans didn’t view Time as a static flow, an unchanging absolute ticking away second by second from the past to the future, but as a cyclical out-pouring of energy that was breathed in and breathed out. Time to them was “relative,” considering the different celestial bodies’ movements they could measure, a fluidity inconceivable to Western science before Albert Einstein. Rather than simply mark the passing of time, their calendar reflected these cosmic cycles, keeping the body in balance with the universe through an energy they called k’ul connecting man to Earth below and Heaven above.
While initially lunar, the Julian Calendar (36 BC), inaccurate according to the solar year and eventually corrected by the Gregorian Calendar (1582), the origins of the Mayan calendar dated back to the ancient Olmecs (c.1200 BC), based on a complex system of interrelated sub-calendars following both lunar and solar cycles whose separate measurements converge, reflecting larger spans of time.
Each calendar resembled a disc relating to other calendar-discs like a cosmic clock-work mechanism (not that they viewed Time as a machine), one reflecting the center of the galaxy, creating a spiritual calendar of 260 days, while another reflected a solar, secular year of 365 days (360 plus 5 leftovers), taking 52 years to complete a combined cyclic “rotation.”
These five left-over days of each Solar Year comprised an uncertain period marking the end of the old in preparation for the new. However, the end of each 52-year-cycle was a celebration marking a new cycle’s beginning.
According to the Mayans, there are five world ages. In the first, the gods created the earth, its mountains, trees and animals. After creating Man from clay, beginning the second age, they decided to destroy it. The third, recreating Man from wood, also failed and that world they also destroyed, failing to find substantive forms with mind and soul.
“True people,” created out of corn dough, marked the beginning of the fourth age, the union of spirit and soul with matter. The fifth age offers Man harmony and higher consciousness.
There is no sixth age.
The length of these cycles – calculated on the magic numbers 13 and 20 – is reflected in Mayan step-pyramids which, with these calendars, bring their physical and spiritual worlds into universal resonance with heaven, earth and man.
Approaching the end of each cycle, the world requires purification in order to rebuild. Transitions become dangerous, unstable: everything is out of balance.
Aligned with the center of the Milky Way, sunrise on the Winter Solstice, 2012, eclipses what Mayans called “The Womb of Stars,” a black hole they regarded as the home of their supreme god, Hunab K’u. This opens the great “Underworld Road” on which Mayan wizard-kings traveled to other dimensions, gaining sacred knowledge from energy pulsing through the galaxy.
Since the sun and the star cluster, the Pleiades, had already been in conjunction during a solar eclipse on May 20th, 2012, Mayans believed this literally “opens the door” for the return of the god, Kukulkan.
Recently, scientists have discovered the existence of gravity waves, “ripples in the time-space fabric,” possibly created by the collision of black holes. Passing through matter, they create vibrations which may trigger earthquakes and tsunamis on Earth.
Release of such energy will suffuse the earth, raising mankind to a higher level.
Or it could be powerful enough to destroy everything.
Kukulkan’s return – the Aztec’s Quetzalcoatl – will become a significant spiritual event in Mayan mythology, comparable to the Second Coming of the Messiah. Walking among the Mayan people, Kukulkan promised he would return in the “Final Days.” But this return will initiate the higher level of consciousness Man will then attain, Kukulkan having told them, “you will become as gods.”
Pacal, a legendary king living in the 7th Century, ruling for almost seventy years, brought to his people great wisdom and enlightenment. Following his descent into the Underworld, he was then transformed into the sky-god, Votán.
“Like the Norse god in Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung?”
Incredulous, Rogers Kent-Clarke, staring into the semi-darkness, was fascinated by such conjunctions. It was another of those mental leaps that helped turn misconceptions into popular facts.
He and Schweinwerfer, carrying Xaq over his shoulder, had been trudging along behind the Old Man of the Mines, listening to his tales.
“Our current concept of consciousness began with the Greeks,” Schweinwerfer explained, “reaching full flowering during the Renaissance with the discovery of perspective. Following the Industrial Revolution and technology’s advance, the world has fallen into steep decline.”
“Society has become mechanized,” the Old Man picked up, “as art has become alienated by technology.” He noticed Schweinwerfer nodding his agreement. “Ever since, history has been nothing but chaotic manifestations of a crisis of Time.”
“And since the 19th Century,” Schweinwerfer added, “industrialists and financiers have replaced the aristocracy, instead creating a culture based on popularity and commercialism.”
“Does alienation via time and space lead to chaotic and degenerate cultures which, failing to control time, thus create nothing truly timeless?”
This raised questions about the validity of art sponsored by corporations seeking tax write-offs.
“The essence of anything was not in its content but how successfully it resonated: sensing a response was so important to perceiving it. Art perceived on a spiritual or sensual level regardless of technical comprehension can be more valuable than understanding it through detailed analytical study.”
“Comprehension is not imagining figures in the light but through making the darkness conscious.”
“If time is cyclical rather than linear, then matter, space, time and consciousness are interconnected: everything once observed separately becomes thoroughly related. This incredible Dance of Time,” Schweinwerfer said, “permeates every aspect of the Mayan world.”
“For instance,” the Old Man continued, glancing back, “how the Mayans built their step-pyramids: each ascending step reflects the gradual acceleration of Time. It starts with a broad base equaling a hablatun of 1.26 billion years’ duration, topped off with a uinal of twenty days. These proportions in space paralleled the calendars’ reflections of time, creating cycles within cycles.”
“Are we in the Fourth or Fifth Age? Will the cycles continue to continue,” he asked, “or is there no Sixth Age?”
The latter, of course, was Schweinwerfer’s preference, after generations of having advocated “Apocalypse Now!”
He could think of nothing more satisfying than turning over the last page of the calendar only to discover there was nothing there.
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To be continued…
- Dick Strawser
The novel, "The Doomsday Symphony," a music appreciation thriller written between 2010 and 2011, is the sole supposedly intellectual property of its author, Richard Alan Strawser.