[The Millennium]

Beware, you who enter here. For you are asking to know the secrets of God.

That the work of Creation might never cease, out of Death arises new Life, forever and ever. Amen.

There is a new world coming. It is closer than you might think. We are building it ourselves. And we shall enjoy its fruits for the next one hundred years.

Then it shall end. It has always been thus. No world civilisation has ever clung to its dominance forever. Every empire is overthrown by outsiders with the knowledge of its fatal weaknesses. The Sun shall set on the West in the late 21st century and its last rays of light shall be obscured by smoke.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth!

Power will be held by a small group of highly intellectual and effete idealists -- prodigies one and all, whose ideas will mould the new age at the dawn of the 22nd century. Men will dominate once more, though women will be in evidence among them. Hordes of people will simply pull up stakes from their homelands and walk to new areas in the once wealthy North and the chaos that these migrations produce will plunge the world into something of a Dark Age. Many of the northern cities will be depopulated smouldering ruins, but those ruins will still be better than conditions in lands left behind. The chasm of wealth in our world lies between developed areas and undeveloped areas; it is horizontal. The chasm of wealth in that world will lie between the overclass and the underclass; it will be vertical. Local power will be concentrated in feudal lords, but their authority will not come from local holdings of property but from the seat of empire, who shall both appoint and dismiss these regional tyrants at will. As the century wears on, this overclass will become increasingly estranged from its subject peoples and their welfare will fade from its plans.

Something approximating religious faith will re-emerge, perhaps for the last time, centred on an ideal of creativity. Humanity will worship what is most like God in themselves -- the power to create. Genetic engineering will become a cottage industry and the distinction between natural life, artificial life and engineered life will be blurred.

This sets the stage for one of the most miserable of all human centuries: the twenty-third. The previous century will have seen a steady level of technological knowledge, but infrastructural deterioration as the comfort and care of the majority fades in importance. Now the underclass becomes fodder for planetary social experiments rooted in ideological imperatives and essential knowledge will be lost and forgotten in the chaos these experiments create. Genetics will become a weapon in these plans as undesirable traits are extirpated from the human genome. These conflicts will bring our species closer to extinction than at any time in the past or future.

Among the most ancient fears of this world is that of being noticed. It is the fear all prey has of predators. It is the fear all things small have of all things big. In humans, this is most often expressed as fear of the government. It is the fear of the pretty girl who lives a little too close to her lord's castle -- her beauty might be her curse. It is the fear of the wealthy man with untaxed treasures -- he should not look too prosperous. Our century is rolling back the sources of such fear, but it will return to the world in those days.

By 2300, the world will be at rest once more. The precise configuration of this world is not yet clear. But the population will be steady and at a low level. Technology will have fallen back from its current pervading dominance. Subsistence will be more important than advancement and we will have redefined the notion of progress. We may or may not still have a planetary government. Communities of people will increase their local self-sufficiency and become less and less interested in whatever is happening in faraway places. We may be colonising other worlds, but their goings-on will not concern us. Consentience will continue, but the links will be subconscious parallelisms. These conditions will persist for a full seven centuries. There will be disturbances, but the underlying matrix of this civilisation will survive.

In the year 2994, something wonderful will happen, something akin to divine intervention. Our species will be elevated to a new plane of achievement and a new cycle of creation and destruction will open up before us.

Evolution is not so gradual as we might imagine. Great leaps can be made in the twinkling of an eye, followed by eons of stability. Someday, there will be a generation of women on this planet, whose wombs shall bring forth children as superior to us as we once were to the Neanderthals. There will be a chasm between us and them: there is nothing in all our knowledge that we might teach them and there will be nothing in their minds that we could comprehend. All our thoughts, through all our centuries, they will know as instinct. And their thoughts will be beyond our strength to grasp. Our kind will be finished and shall fade from memory. Their kind shall inherit the earth and go on forever. Until they, too, are replaced. Let us hope that we will have the graciousness to welcome them in our midst and the wisdom to know when to let go. After all, they will be our children.

That the work of Creation might never cease, out of Death arises new Life, forever and ever. Amen.


[Home] Created: August 1996. Last updated: 12 Jan 1997.
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