Milleniarism

The Recurring Trap of the Utopian Vision

 

Paul Millerd invites your mind on an adventure into utopian thinking and a timely reminder on the circular nature of life.

Millenarianism is defined as “the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed”.

I ran across this concept in a fascinating book by John Gray called “Black Mass” where he explored how humans have consistently been drawn toward millenarianist movements. He goes through the history and characteristics of these movements and also applies it to the then current movement to go to war against Iraq during the GW Bush presidency. He showed how their campaign and the associated propaganda embodied many of the traits of these kind of movements.

If you read the book, you can probably skim the parts about the early 2000s, but the broader perspective on these movements and how they continue to occur throughout history was eye opening. Once you become aware of these tendencies you see them everywhere.

 

He explains the five traits of milleniarism movements:

  • Collective, in that it is enjoyed by the community of the faithful
  • Terrestrial, in that it is realized on earth rather than in heaven or in an after-life
  • Imminent, in that it is bound to come soon and suddenly
  • Total, in that it will not just improve life on earth but transform and perfect it
  • Miraculous, in that its coming is achieved or assisted by divine agency

 

Read the full article, What is your preferred pandemic utopia, on the Boundless website.