Not that we have ever been one to impinge upon the embodied piety of those who carry our Books, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise. But today we feel it appropriate to reflect on the meaning of the End of Days, the Tribulation and the event sometimes referred to as the Rapture.
From a Tailorite perspective, any attempt to guess the day and hour of these events is impermissible.
This ought to be accord with mainstream Islam and Christianity — see, for example,
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (Mark 24:36)
With Allah is the Knowledge of the Hour and he sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no nafs knows what it will earn tomorrow nor the land in which it will perish. (Qur’an 31:34)
But we will go further, deviating from the mainstream in our reading of these passages. Because we see a difference between the unknowable and unguessable in relation to the Hour.
It’s not like the time of the Hour is the world’s best kept secret, one that we might be let in on, but aren’t. One that we could guess and be right or wrong, with only Allah actually knowing if we got it correct. That would mean that prediction of the Hour is at least an ontological possibility. But prediction of the Hour in any form is not possible: it is an impossibility by virtue of what the Hour itself.
Because knowledge of the Hour is a different kind of Knowledge to regular kinds of knowing. Your head can’t contain it: it never can. It is a different kind of Timing, only accessible to the Father. The train timetable for Shenfield to London might be concealed from you — but it is always possible you might learn it. But the timetable for the Hour is simply inexpressible, not even thinkable for a human being.
And so you see, in reading the passages quoted above, the mainstream sheikhs and priests of the religions are closer than you might think to the smaller groups who say “It’s happening May 21, for certain”. For example, I can recall hutbas given by Muslim sheikhs in which the signs of the Hour were enumerated and “ticked off” as already happening: that there will be false prophets (certainly a few), women will be walking about in the streets without many clothes (definitely), that people will hop between earth and clouds and what is far will become near (airplanes), a man will leave his house and his thigh will tell him what is in his house (beepers/mobile phones), people will dance with instruments upon their heads (headphones) and so on. The effect of these kinds of hutbas (and their Christian equivalent — found more in the American charismatic tradition than the more placid European modes of practice) is to instill in the listener a state of fear and reverence with respect to the immediacy and seriousness of impending day of Judgement, when their good deeds will be weighed against their bad.
They have produced an assemblage: fusing the machine of social, clockwork time to the Divine time machine of the Bible. This allows them to say either: “It will happen on the 21st of May 2011″ or “It is unguessable, but it could well happen on the 21st of May, given most of the signs seem to have been realised”.
But in doing so they relegate God’s Knowledge of the Hour to something if not human (the minority sects), then at least angelic (the majority/mainstream). Angels comprehend the logical entirety of what is possible and what is not possible: for they are beings occupying the space of forms, just as we occupy forms of space. Christ informs us that “not even the angels of heaven” know the hour: and so the Knowledge cannot even be contingency, cannot be a guessable possibility, because the space of forms is a logical space.
But regarding these sects: that’s their practice, and their particular treatment of the signs of the end is intrinsic to their habitus: we respect the sects’ cultural right to exist and continue.
We are not imperial colonists. We have no wish to colonially attack the embodied piety of the minority sects whose practice involves prediction of the Hour nor to damage the belief eco-system of the majority sects’ more common treatment of an unguessable “train timetable” Hour. We’re not out to get either group, with their shared consequent implication of a habitus of reverence/fear revolving around such reconstituted socio-divine temporality.
All the same, reciting outward from Tailorite position, any such attempt at prediction constitutes a literalist folly.
Or, more correctly, it is folly because it fails to literalise in a literary manner: a fusion of two time machines that fails to reference the situated textuality of that fusion. A failure to recognize the Impossible Father, the Impossible Father who alone possesses Impossible Knowledge of the Hour. Because to reference situated textuality is to reference the Impossible Father’s Wisdom.