Awakening or endarkenment?

Awakening or endarkenment?

The word “awakening” came up twice yesterday, once in a very good article by Michael Needham and Tim Chapman, the second time in a less clear context in the comment section.

Awakening is a concept that’s been on my mind lately, too.

Needham and Chapman say that “a great awakening is sweeping the nation.” I think a great awakening is trying to sweep the nation. But so far (for most people) it’s only reached that early a.m. stage where you know something is strange in your dream but you haven’t yet gotten conscious.

But then, that’s the way awakenings are.

Still, I don’t think you can call the current mass of formless rage against the machine an enlightenment. Not when so much of its discourse is conducted on this level. Not when the Republicans can take the whole Tea Party back into the establishment without a fight. Not when the aims of a protest are so amorphous that both the Nazis and the Communist party can claim kinship with it. (And yes, I know; they’re just two different forms of socialist, but they’re two very different forms in this case. Or at least one likes to imagine they’d be horrified to be in bed with each other.)

It’s clear that the establishment (“The Bigs” as Needham and Chapman astutely name them) will try to bring any would-be awakening back into the dreamland shadow of power. That’s what entrenched power does. That’s what it’s done throughout history.

Sometimes it wins — and the awakening (and sometimes the entire culture) goes dark. Sometimes the would-be awakening succeeds just far enough to throw the old ways into chaos — but offers nothing new to build on. (I fear we’re in danger of that.)

Occasionally the light actually breaks through. A critical mass of people understand what they’re for — and why — and not just what they’re against. At that moment, the potential for hope can arise.

Which do you think it will be? Awakening? Endarkenment? Or some crepuscular in-between state?


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