Having recently found an old love of poetry, I decided to pick up my book of collected poems by Philip Larkin (one of my all time favourite poets) and in it I found a poem called ‘High Windows’. ‘High Windows’ is a beautiful piece that talks about religion, afterlife, death and the envy of the older generation of the younger generation’s sexual liberation (Philip Larkin wrote poems after WW2).
After reading the poem for the fifth time, I just sat down, stared at the ceiling and suddenly my mind was shouting so many things it was hard to hear and understand them. Having calmed down and sorted all my thoughts I came to a realization. It seems as though each new generation liberates an aspect of the previous generation. For Larkin it was sex and I believe for us its drugs (sexual liberation is also taking place in our generation with so many things on tv about sex like the hit tv series Jersey/Geordie shore to the occasional news of ‘whos sleeping with who’ in respect to celebrities. But some drugs, marijuana to be precise, has already been decriminalised whereas the age requirement for sex is still the same. Sexual liberation in the form of the LGBT movement is also present and there are still many conservative forces that are going against it.
With this thought written down on a piece of paper so I would not forget, my mind went off to another tangent. I thought of the movie ‘Left Behind’ starring Nicholas Cage. The movie is generally about the apocalypse (based on the bible) where all the ‘good’ people all get sucked up to heaven leaving all the bad ones to live out their lives on Earth.
I put two of these thoughts together to try and explain what, perhaps, the bible meant in its specific passage that was portrayed in the movie Left Behind (and put comedically in ‘This Is The End’). Each new generation periodically liberalizes its norms. Marx tells us that religion is a conservative force that prevents change in both people and society and like and therefore it has many rules (just as any other religion).
What if the bible did not really mean the ‘good’ suddenly disappeared leaving the bad. Good and bad is very subjective and what was perceived good and/or bad back then may be deemed differently now. We also know that sometimes holy scripts do not literally mean what they have written but rather it is written in some form of poetry or literature with metaphors. Now what if rather than the sudden dissapearance of these people from the face of the Earth, the bible meant the dissapearance of the morals it deems to be ‘good’. Since every new generation liberalizes the previous one of a certain aspect, it would eventually reach a point where we get rid of these rules and regulations, this notion of bad and good, and perhaps that is what the bible means by the apocalypse. The disintigration of all of its morals, so to speak.