martes, julio 21, 2009

The End of Time

In the beginning, there was only Infinite Time.

In it, the Creator Ahura Mazda and his twin Angra Mainyu were both infinite, with no boundaries to their domains, but also finite, because the Void limited their domain in one side.

Ahura Mazda was wise, good-natured, and had the power of omniscience, with the knowledge of the past, the present and the future. For that reason, Ahura Mazda knew the existence of his evil twin and how to overcome him even before actually meeting.

But Angra Mainyu was not omniscient, but ignorant, arrogant and coward. Fear and malice were his weapons.

In the Infinite Time, when there was a perfect balance in the universe, Angra Mainyu crossed the Void, saw God by the first time, and attempted to attack Him, but God offered a covenant, knowing that the time to contain the evil was yet to come.According to this covenant, God offered Angra Mainyu a truce that would last for 9000 years, confining his evil in a finite time, until the Judgment Day would come.

But living in a finite time, Evil renders the things in our world susceptible to decay, death and disintegration. Mountains are formed when the evil pierces through the otherwise plain earth, causing earthquakes deep inside. He is also responsible of droughts, deserts and the stench that comes sometimes from the earth. Smoke and black soot is formed when evil overtakes the fire, making air noxious, polluting water, making plants, men and animals susceptible to fever and sickness and the sun and the moon to eclipses. Human minds can also succumb to the influence of evil, falling prey to evil thoughts and temptations. All this until the end of time comes.

For most religions, like it was for Zoroastrianism, having a complete cosmogony model is a must. Everything must be known in advance.

For monotheist religions, which await the arrival of a messiah, like Saoshyant, time is something that just pushes us against the inevitable decay that can only be overcome by the new kingdom to come. Time is bad. Time is, then, our enemy, so we must fight to freeze it, sticking to our traditional values, until the announced salvation arrives.

Jewish, Muslims and Christians have all taught about the traditional values that must be preserved, claiming, in fact, the need to deny progress.

In this quest, no other religion has proven more successful than Islam in providing comfort to their adherents. Meanwhile, Christianism failure started back in the industrial revolution, and the wealth fare state just made it worse by making the big familiar and clan structures, that usually helped keeping traditions alive, unnecessary. The fall of the family meant the fall of religion.

Now, free from many morale restrains, western societies could devote themselves to material progress. A progress that, in turn, speeded up the pace at which developments were made, creating a new paradigm: Time is good. Time gets us closer to those achievements that will save our lives, or at least make them easier. Religious societies are, by no means, impermeable to material progress. Advances in the medical field are not overlooked by believers, no matter what their belief in after-death is.

Technological gadgets, particularly if they serve to tighten familiar ties, like the Internet or mobile telephony, are quickly adopted, but they make almost no change in the core traditions.

That is the ultimate drama: two societies evolving in different directions, but whose ultimate destiny is tied together in a common, globalised, world.

Until the End of Time.