We cannot sit forever by the fire we have made Shall we have a new Observer? 1 As readers and writers of The Texas Observer we share many, or most, of the same values, fears, and hopes, but I write you in no narrow focus. As “the future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens,” we are the future. Although many or most of us are living now in Texas, we are members, presumably and so far in fairly good standing, of the generation that probably will win or lose the future of our race. For I agree, you see, with scientist George Wald when he said in Boston about ten years ago that this is the first generation that cannot be sure it has a future. I asked W. H. “Ping” Ferry for permission to run his short letter in this issue on the future because his was the only statement we had of the unqualified conviction that civilization will not last this is a very strong possibility, and something the late Albert Einstein said suggests that Ferry is probably right. As Einstein foresaw the future, nuclear proliferation \(then called “the nth-nation ly, as a matter of scientific probabilities, that civilization will be consumed in a nuclear holocaustalthough, he added, even these terrible odds do not reduce one whit our duty to fight against this happening with all our strength. 2 If our species survives for the next 25 years, those of us still alive in the year 2000 will help to usher in the third millennium of the Christian calendar. We are all millenarians, concerned now with the end of one millennium and the opening of another. John’s transported prophecies of Revelation, read in three of the translations during this, our genuine millennial crisis, may help us seedid help me seethe question before us. Just before the end for Babylon \(John have royal authority only for a single hour,” and “these have one mind, and shall give their power , and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the lamb, and the lamb shall overcome them.” An angel of great power came to cry mightily, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird,” for “the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies,” “her sins have reached unto heaven,” and “she is to be paid in her own coin. She must be paid double the amount she exacted. She is to have a doubly strong cup of her own mixture. Every one of her own shows and orgies is to be matched by a torture or a grief. . . . Within a single day, the plagues will fall on her: disease and mourning and famine. She will be burned right up.” And “there will be mourning and weeping for her by the kings of the earth who have fornicated with her and lived with her in luxury.” “There will be weeping and distress over her among all the traders of the earth when there is nobody left to buy their cargoes of goods; their stocks of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, linen and purple and silks and scarlet,” and they will be told, “All the fruits you had set your hearts on have failed you; gone for ever, never to return, is your life of magnificence and ease.” “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints. and of all that were slain upon the earth.” “And now I saw heaven open, and a white horse appear; its rider was called Faithful and True; he is a judge with integrity, a warrior for justice.” “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun,” and the beast and the false prophet “were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. All ate rest were killed by the sword of the rider, which came out of his mouth, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain. He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years. . . . Then I saw some thrones, and I saw those who are given the power to be judges take their seats on them,” “and I saw the souls of them that were be headed for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” “I saw the dead; both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of life was opened, and other books opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged.” “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” “for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” “Then I heard a loud call from the throne: You see this city. Here God lives among men. . . . The world of the past has gone.’ ” And “The wall was built of diamond, and the city of pure gold, like polished glass.” “Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city.” “On either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Was Truman the first of ten kings for an hour, will we burn up in a day? Will we be Babylon or a branch on the tree of life? Will I be soldier slaying the lamb or merchant of magnificence and ease, will you be citizen of the city of the river of life? Millenarians we are, but what kind, what for, remains to be told in these our own lifetimes. 3 The rest of my letter to you concerns how to make the Observer more on the foundation of what we have already made, how to turn it into an instrument more adequate to our difficulty. Although I wish to cherish what we have, I have no mild continued thing in mind, for when there is no economic justice, there is no justice at all, and when there is starvation and grief throughout the THE TEXAS OBSERVER 55
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