December 16, 2012

Another mountain, this one in Serbia and called Mount Rtanj, apparently conceals a pyramid built by aliens thousands of years ago which on the 21st will emit a special alien energy field that will protect people inside it as the world ends outside. Hotels within striking distance are fully booked.

In Italy, the only place to be on the 21st is a narrow strip of land around the town of Cisternino, hitherto noted only for its strange cone-shaped houses called trulli, in the hills between the cities of Taranto and Brindisi on the peninsula’s heel. I am unable to find an explanation for its safe-haven status. It has something to do with an Indian guru’s followers, who have been there since 1979.

None of this has anything to do with the real Apocalypse”€”the one my wife and the Catholics anticipate. As far as Catholics are concerned, all this Mayan stuff is the work of Satan.

The details of the real Apocalypse have already been passed on in the form of 10 secrets by the Virgin Mary to six Catholic peasants in the small town of Medjugorge in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. These six visionaries, who have been in daily contact with the Virgin Mary since 1981 when they were teenagers, will reveal the contents of the 10 secrets to a designated priest just three days before the Apocalypse. The 10 secrets are said to contain details of what form the Apocalypse will take and who will be saved and who doomed. They will be revealed, if we are to believe sources close to Medjugorge such as Padre Livio”€”the exalted and raucous editor of Radio Maria“€”while the visionaries are still alive, and they are now well into middle age. So while the world is likely to make it into 2013, from then on it’s anyone’s guess.

Carla says that unless I convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism immediatamente, I am doomed even if we continue to live in pianura (on the plains) along with all non-Catholics and all bad Catholics.

I keep trying to tell her that the problem is not conversion: It is faith. I do not disbelieve the existence of a God but nor do I believe it. To convert without faith would be dishonest.

For some months now, Carla has been monitoring Italian earthquake activity on my computer daily. She tells me the Apocalypse will involve earthquakes and fire, not floods or plagues of frogs. So I say: “€œBut there are earthquakes in pianura, not just in collina (in the hills), you know.”€ And she looks at me as if I am insane. 

I am therefore doomed to contemplate not the imminent Apocalypse, but the only existential question that matters. It is the question posed by Albert Camus in Le Mythe de Sisyphe (1942):

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

Does realizing life’s meaninglessness and absurdity require suicide? Camus’s answer is surprisingly optimistic:

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

But I remain condemned to continue living down here”€”in pianura“€”not able even to begin like Sisyphus to scale those soaring heights with my boulder”€”unless I can conjure a miracle.

Image of apocalypse courtesy of Shutterstock


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