Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
In a way, the Cancel Culture Crowd is right: when you want your ideology, politics, interpretation of history, and influence to reign supreme, and you want perfect compliance, you’d better cancel others’, deconstructing them on the way.
This is not a new concept, however, as historians tell us. It’s been quite popular among totalitarian regimes.
The idea used to be known as establishing Year Zero (as the starting point of a new regime). So I suppose today’s followers should really be called “Year Zero Crowd” based on that politically-inspired “Year Zero” notion.
The idea behind Year Zero was that all culture and traditions within a society must be completely destroyed or discarded, and a new revolutionary culture must replace it, starting from scratch. All of the history of a nation or people before Year Zero would be largely deemed irrelevant, because it would ideally be purged and replaced from the ground up. (source)
But I often wonder: what is it that makes us think such destruction will really work–in the long run?
I mean, when the inevitable push-back stops the destruction, the smoke and fires abate, the rubble is cleared, bodies are buried, people emerge into the light of freedom once again, and the hydra of evil finally goes down for the count (but watch her wounds), that which really powers the universe (see below) rises again and things settle.
However, it is usually only a matter of time until…
…we go at it again: light versus dark, truth versus deception; good versus evil. And if evil is in the ascendancy, it becomes destroy, destroy, destroy, as the newest despots seize control.
For as long as they can, that is.
So what with this tragic pattern being so apparent throughout history, why don’t we all finally “get it”?
One might also add hard hearts and blind eyes, but those are for other discussions.
You see, new generations with a totalitarian bent (and a short or no view of real history) and who manage to gather enough beauty, bucks, and brains to get some of their own power, might choose to let loose the same old weapons of totalitarianism on the often unsuspecting, trusting masses, because, well, they can (with a lot of help from their friends–and a few fiends).
The vast array of lands, natural resources, money, and power on the world’s banqueting table meant to help all of us is there, they believe, to help themselves.
So they do. Whatever they can get away with.
For one thing about this wild powerful free will mankind finds itself in possession of–at quite a young age, I would add–it’s infused with a hunger for many things including the always-elusive self-satisfaction.
Which is at the core of every quest.
If you think about it.
Trouble is, however, when totalitarians run out of their own means to attempt to grab what they think are the components of self-satisfaction it often alludes them, or the means simply run out. As former Prime Minister of the U.K. Margaret Thatcher said regarding the form of totalitarianism she was referencing: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money [to spend] “. That goes, of course, for land and goods, too.
Today, it seems like they’re going after the entire globe.
Fortunately, however, there is One Who is even greater than the globe and all those who dwell on it and think they can control and operate it better than Him.
In fact, He made the globe, its creatures, and myriad other globes and well-lit creations that are so far off in space the astronomers tells us that even when we spot one with our highest-powered telescopes, as fast as light travels (very fast) what we are really viewing is past history.
Pause and ponder that!
And if you also think about it, if it WERE possible to cancel cultures and begin another Year Zero, that is to say, if there were enough power, might, smarts, and things that blow other things up, or pull them down, while attempting to wipe away all memory of anything prior, we’d have all crumbled back to dust millennia ago…
…but that dust…oh, that dust…
And with the power of some microscopes we have nowadays, it would continue to “speak”
to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
DUST: NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT
(Unless, of course, you are allergic to it.)
Like apps on iGadgets for various topics of interest, there is a dust particle, rather trillions, to enable us to tap into physical history.
Not only that, those tiniest of the artifacts of life tell us a lot about past cultures, too.
The history of dust reveals clues not only about prior climate changes, geologic upheavals, floods, what people ate and how they prepared their meals, how and why they died, and how they managed their land and possessions, but also by their dust we can learn about the less tangible influences on people far more subtle than geology and day to day life but equally as impacting in changes and upheavals of a different kind.
Examining their dust gives us clues about their strengths, challenges, belief systems and practices along with their political philosophies played out in real world consequences.
In some areas, for example, there is evidence of walls around villages and towns not due to popular garden designs but due to warfare or fear of same. In others, there is evidence that a people group was nomadic, moving from place to place in search of food or a milder climate–or perhaps, again, due to war-mongering neighbors.
On the tragic side, dust mounds reveal that a particular culture participated in human sacrifice while other mounds prove artifacts of faith in kinder, gentler gods.
Or the One God.
Side note: you might also say that dust, when gathered layer upon layer, century upon century, through heat and freeze–and what geologists call “mass wasting“–until enough solidifies into clods, pebbles, and rocks, becomes that which “cries out” in praise of God when humans might not, or might refuse. See the last post for a related take on this both natural and supernatural phenomenon, both literal and figurative.
Dust is a fascinating study, really. Here’s an interesting article, “The History of Dust,” by GinaRae LaCerva who at the time of writing was a graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
So it is virtually impossible to eradicate all prior history and culture from everybody who is willing to take a closer look at the past. The real past.
Physical artifacts, even that sometimes annoying dust that makes our eyes itch and our furniture filmy, help a great deal, especially under a microscope–with eyes, mind, and heart open.
But of course for the dedicated YZ Crowd, et al, at least the bigger artifacts can always be pulled down, chopped up, and deposited in the dustbin of the history they don’t like.
But that’s the way of all stuff-thirsty people. They try and try again to make it seem that they and only they have the true understanding of history and totalitarianism which they may advertise as having been given a bad rep (so they will change the name to Democratic Socialism, or something less telling).
And they will fail again. At length.
Then the real existential crisis, at least for the Zero Culture Crowd, starts/will start all over just like, come to think of it, what happened in the movie Groundhog Day, as seen in theaters and television re-runs every February 2nd and later on in the U.S. and Canada.
Only in contrast to the behavior of those who would rule the world, the main character in Groundhog, who starts out as a jerk, eventually becomes a mature, compassionate, and thoughtful human being instead of continuing his bad behavior. He eventually chooses to learn from his multiple mistakes and their consequences–on “the same day”.
SPOILER ALERT: But if you haven’t seen the movie yet, the slow-learner, after much destruction to himself and other things, finally gets the girl.
This analogy reminds me of the old tune: “You Always Hurt the One You Love ” But in the case of totalitarians who refuse to learn and change their ways, who choose the destructive path, millions more are hurt.
And even for the New “improved” revolutionaries (using old and predictable tactics) isn’t that the core quest anyway? Love? Acceptance? A tribe to belong to? Along with the money and the goods?
Of course there is another god whose jealousy and destructive bent won’t stop until he’s stopped. You know who. Constantly stoking the fires of hate and rage and destruction…he and his minions.
But back to the Year Zero Crowd.
The thing is, God laughs at them.
GOD LAUGHS AT THEM?
Below is the long version regarding why He does that–with a little reminder and some encouragement for those who trust Him, that is, trust in Him Who is eternally outside of the grasp of the YZC–and every other crowd.
We trust Him, for one thing (other things, below), because He is the Maker of all, all who, incidentally–no matter crowd, creed, or tongue–are invited to switch allegiance to Him at any time* while they yet may.
So here’s the long version:
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. and so on… (Psalm 37)
But will individuals ginning up destruction today stop? Your guess is as good as mine, but the daily “news” gives plenty of hints and clues as to the unlikelihood of that. Here is a take on why from another verse in a book of the same anthology:
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8)
So we can expect more trouble makers.
Thus, it will never end (unless “ended” by the Dust Maker).
So this gets me to thinking about God’s blank slate, His tabula rasa, on which He designed, built, and placed us (with our own zillions of very tiny particles) and everything else of clay and of significance, which is to say everything eye can see, ear can hear, mind can comprehend, and soul want.
It gets me to thinking way back to the “particle” that powered and powers the dust, itself.
And the question everybody asks at one point or another: Is it an It, or a They, Them, She, X, You, or God? Correct answer: “G”.
You might think of it this way.
THE DUST MAKER
From my experience, research, and point of view, it’s definitely the God Who, knowing how we tend to repeat ourselves, especially our mistakes, sent His Son, Jesus, who put on a flesh and blood suit, lived here for awhile to fulfill prophecy and teach us better ways, and then became the flesh and blood coin that paid the price of our bad choices.
And He’s coming back soon, so say the prophecy experts. Check this out.
Many turn to Him for the first time once they have examined His designs, His craftsmanship and intelligence, and others by the evidence thereof, not to mention the evidence of how we tend to repeat ourselves.
Still others turn to faith in God when they finally come to understand the old truism, “absolute power (as in ruling power) corrupts absolutely”. Unfortunately, however, that’s usually after they and everybody else start to lose stuff and freedom under the new regime and the pain begins.
This happens even if the stuff-seekers, many caught up at first by starry-eyed idealism (propped up by propaganda) think they are really better or better-off than their (loser) predecessors whose monuments are, as I write this and you read it, slowly degrading to dust in the sands of time.
But many, many more come to a saving knowledge of God through something else the Year Zero Crowd cannot get their erasers and propaganda and policies and sledge hammers and bombs to completely destroy.
It’s one of those intangible things that artifacts point to, symbolize, and that every culture includes, one way or another: faith in something or Someone higher, like God.
The Crowd, all crowds, want that because it’s powerful.
THE TRUE POWER
What I am talking about is the power true believers have that is out of the reach of mere humans. Comes from a deeper place that even the most powerful microscopes will never be able to focus in on. What scientists can only describe as the “God Spot” where humans perceive God and all things related.
What believers know it to be is the Holy Spirit, the same given every believer at their choice to put faith in God. The same Spirit that leads, directs, teaches, and guides us.
The same that also draws unbelievers to Christ.
Even the Spirit, Who, at length or immediately, provides wisdom and a sound mind that enables the most effective resistance to the destructive forces in the world–and in ourselves.
If only in one person at a time who can then influence others.
It is that that the Year Zero Crowd can’t quite get their heads around but if they are honest, they know deep down whatever it is seems to satisfy the quest at the core of not only curious minds and ambition, but also hurting hearts, confused minds, and yearning souls when it is apparent history not only repeats itself but also doesn’t offer the ultimate peace we all really long for–and leaves much evidence of broken lands and broken hearts in its dusty wake.
That is, if YZ Crowd think about such things at all in their mad, noisy, dangerous rush to rule the world.
But perhaps what is most frustrating for them is that those who seem to have such power may have little of what the world looks to for answers (beauty, bucks, and brains), little of what they have been led to believe they need for success.
How can this be? they might wonder.
After all, isn’t it the beautiful, smart, rich ones who rule? Not some old lady praying at her kitchen table, or some little kid “talking to God” in a Sunday School class, or guy in a wheelchair in the back of church with his head bowed.
And those believing, praying Christians don’t even have to risk their lives on the streets doing the bidding of those at the top who never get their hands dirty or suffer the blame, shame, and harm.
Here is the beginning of understanding, what even the lowliest, humblest of believers know, revealed when the light of the Holy Sprit is switched on:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
We know that Jesus took the blame, shame, and harm, not just risking His life but giving it for our cause, that is, to pay the price for our sins, and because, well, re-read the above verse.
It’s the same knowledge that for two-thousand years has saved the lost, made the weak strong, healed the sick, cleared the mind, settled the emotions, and offered hope–without the need to sell one’s soul for a piece of bread, a bowl of soup, or a fundamentally transformed world benefitting few–and likely not you.
No amount of canceling that culture, meaning the believers’ culture, ever seems to work, nor has it ever worked.
Indeed, religion, as some call it (I prefer a relationship with Jesus Christ, see footnote for into) seems to thrive in times of persecution and disaster.
Others, of course, firming their grip on free will (see above and here for more on that) still put their faith and trust in some magic primordial goo that somehow suddenly appeared on the ancient scene, aka the Theory of Evolution, and they continue to follow after its basic tenet: survival of the fittest.
So if they have to break a few lesser eggs to make their omelet, as the saying goes, so be it.
For whatever reasons, perhaps God alone knows, they want what they want (as much as they can get) here on terra firma.
And that’s that.
But by settling for that which will eventually be dust, including themselves, they void the power of the Dust Maker in their lives from whence comes the satisfaction of not just material goods and lands, but much more importantly, the satisfaction of comfort for the lonely, balm for the hurting, clarity for the confused, rescue for the exploited, and salvation for the lost.
And this goes for everyone–the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly–should they choose to learn the lesson of some Groundhog Day of their own.
In other words, the really powerful know that just like there’s dust, dust everywhere, there is a Designer of same Who knows both the outside and inside, macro and micro, material and spiritual solutions for us when our best laid plans go awry, as the saying goes.
And He helps us, by His Spirit, when we ask.
To the curious today, He says,
Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)
If you haven’t taken Him up on the offer of the eternal satisfaction there is in believing and trusting Him, I suggest you take Him up on it now.
Those end times prophecy scholars could be right.
And the way mankind tends to repeat its bad mistakes and how that turns out, things may well get a lot worse before they get better and Year Zero comes to its inevitable end.
*Here’s some info on the why and how of obtaining salvation through Jesus Christ.