I was in Sam’s Club recently and saw that the Christmas Decorations and gift baskets are on display and for sale a full month before Halloween. I was reminded of a C.S. Lewis essay.
Xmas and Christmas — A Lost Chapter from Herodotus
By C.S. Lewis
And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to he the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north-western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders. surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.
In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas, and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the marketplace is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.
But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.
They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.
But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchasers become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush. But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.
Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which 1 know but do not repeat.)
But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, It is not lawful, 0 Stranger, for us to change the date of Crissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left. And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, It is, 0 Stranger, a racket; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).
But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and – participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.
What did it mean in the late sixth century BCE for the pagan king Cyrus, ruler of the foreign empire Persia, to be called “my shepherd” (Isa 44.28), and “his messiah” (Isa 45.1)? Is Cyrus also a “servant”? Indeed, while second temple Judaism and early Christianity read eschatological-messianism1 backwards into Isaiah, there is but one image of messiah proper2 within the book. Given the context of Isaiah 40-48, and despite the imagery of Yahweh as potter (45.9) and his creatures as (hopefully) yielding clay, it is odd for this imagery to be applied to a pagan potentate, even one relatively beneficent as Cyrus. While Yahweh’s use of Cyrus is portrayed as something like a force of nature (44.24, 27), nothing need prompt Yahweh to use imagery such as shepherd, messiah, straight paths, and inherent righteousness as well. As part of using his prediction of Cyrus’ coming as proof of Yahweh’s, and Yahweh’s alone, power to effect the future,3 Cyrus could have been declared a mere tool like earlier foreign agents (e.g. 7.20, 8.7, 10.5-26, 13.5).
Isaiah itself, Pre-Isaianic Old Testament backgrounds’, and Ancient Near Eastern parallels, can help clarify the meaning, scope, and original impact of these terms as applied to Cyrus within the context of anti-paganism, servanthood, shepherd, messiah, and Yahweh’s sovereign restoration of Jerusalem and Temple.
“Anointed” is peculiar to Judaism, but other motifs in the Cyrus oracles are not. In fact, one metaphor applied to Cyrus by deutero-Isaiah, being “shepherd” on behalf of god(s), is the paradigm of Mesopotamian kingship from Hammurabi to Nabonidus,4 to Cyrus5 and beyond.6 The kings were dependent upon the gods and touted their piety in tending their flocks.7 Beyond this primary paradigm, Laato’s condensation8 of royal apologia is helpful: 1) The king’s name is called or proclaimed by the gods, 2) The king is loved and favored by the gods, 3) The king is chosen by the gods, 4) The king is a shepherd, 5) The king is servant, 6) The creation and destiny of the king, 7) The divine predestination and election of the king in the womb of the mother, 8) The king is the one to whom the gods stretched out their hands, 9) The king walks safely on treacherous ways with the aid of the deity, and 10) The deity will be with or walk with the king. Knapp adds royal prerogative/affiliation (legitimate or fictive as in the case of Cyrus and Assurbanipal) and popular acclimation to (7) to form his rubric of the “triad of legitimacy” for Mesopotamian kings.9 The correspondences to Laato’s and Knapp’s digests are familiar to any student of scripture. See also Kuhrt for specific comparison to the commemorative cylinder of Merodach-baladan. 10
Kuhrt’s work collecting, translating, and analyzing Achaemenid period source material11 including the Cyrus cylinder is without parallel. And initial attention should be drawn to the fact that the Cyrus cylinder is focused in purpose and audience. It is only concerned with one city, Babylon, that city’s patron deity, Marduk,12 and it should not be taken as indicative of Cyrus’ own devotion any more than Zoroastrianism should be retrojected without evidence.13 A theme frequently noted as shared with Isaiah is: “All their people I collected and brought them back to their home.”14 But, only the well-being of the citizens of Babylon is clearly in view of the cylinder; the propaganda is local and specific.15 While absence of evidence does not disprove a general policy of return of exiles consistent with Scripture, this is not independent conclusive proof either.16 Fitting Fried’s and Flynn’s hypotheses below, Marduk is described as becoming angry at Nabonidus for impiety and injustice (it is the only way he could have lost). Nabonidus is thereby vilified,17 while Cyrus is celebrated for his graciousness and justice to the people and the restoration of the status quo of the cult of Marduk (and his pantheon) in the pattern of Assurbanipal.18 Cyrus invents that he is the descendent of the more venerable Assurbanipal and embodiment of his prototypical ideal kingship.19
The appeal to Assurbanipal is telling, Cyrus, like his Babylonian predecessor, played to the local traditions by mimicking Assyria, rather than Babylon directly, or asserting his own cultural patterns.20 “The main significance of the text lies in the insight it provides into the mechanism used by Cyrus to legitimise his conquest of Babylonia by manipulating local traditions.”21 He restores normalcy (at least to the enemy capital)22 as opposed to Nabonidus’ recent disruptive innovations.
While the similarities and possible allusions to the Cyrus Cylinder by 44-45 are commonly noted,23 the Prophet and the Marduk Priests of the Cyrus Cylinder are both likely indebted to Mesopotamian tradition without any direct literary dependence. 24
The message of the cylinder is so emphatically pro-Marduk cult that it is difficult to imagine pious Judeans would have respected it. Further, as it is a foundation stone, it is unlikely its specific message would have circulated widely enough to be allusive. However, some scholars do see Second-Isaiah as much an imperial collaborator as any other cult leaders of the time, writing 40-48 in part for the consumption of the Persians to ingratiate Yehud to their new rulers.25
Apart from the absence of “anointing” the royal ideologies of the empires of exile and return are much like Israel’s.26 Shepherd, regent, piety, selection, justice, etc. are all hallmarks, it is theology where the differences lie.
The Prophet has to build his case slowly,27 with many appeals to Yahwistic monotheism and denunciations of idolatry as a rhetorical strategy, for his audience to accept Cyrus as the scion of David and Moses redivivus,28 that is, raised to accomplish a second exodus, restore Zion, and rebuild the temple.29 Monotheistic propaganda and apology are found throughout Isa 40-48: 41.1-530, 41.25-42.931, 43.3, 44.28-45.1432, 46.9-11, 48.14-16, 20. Isa 40-48 can be generalized as a defense of Yahweh’s right to be creative in how he keeps his promises and how he reapplies titles.
“With one exception all these occurrences refer to the contemporary Israelite king, and the use of the term seems intended to underscore the very close relationship between Yahweh and the king whom he has chosen and installed.”35
In view of the gestalt, the exception, the core of the Cyrus oracles, 45.1, is not an exception.36
The title Yahweh’s anointed is the core of Israelite royal ideology.37 The anointing of the king of Israel was a cultic act designating the king as the divine agent set apart as Yahweh’s chosen intermediary.38 It is through anointing that the king was enthused with Yahweh’s spirit (1 Sam 10; 16).39 Afterword “[t]he king stands in a closer relation to Yahweh than anyone else.”40 This relationship creates the responsibility to maintain and expand the peace and justice of Yahweh “in every respect, both within the community and in the outside world.”41
Designating Cyrus as Yahweh’s Anointed was thus an inflammatory claim that the Prophet carefully notes comes from the mouth of Yahweh himself, for it is “an affirmation that we suspect not all of the prophet’s audience would have agreed with.”42 In fact, this claim is the most probable cause of the persecution and likely martyrdom of the prophet,43 nothing else we know of is as incendiary. Without the Davidic referent, in hope of whom Israel had been waiting, Cyrus Anointed would not be scandalous, he would be another Hazael. Yet it is Cyrus who would recognize Yahweh and foment the recognition of the one true God from the East to the West (45.6).
Less surprising to modern readers is Cyrus as shepherd. Like in broader Ancient Near Eastern usage “Shepherd” in the Hebrew Bible is primarily used of royal leaders.44 The usage in Ezekiel 34 is especially important for our inquiry given the time and place of composition. It has an extended metaphor of kings of Israel, good and (mostly) bad, as shepherds. Most notably Isaiah’s audience was waiting on the hope of gathering, return, and just rule promised in 34.23-34:45 “I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, Yahweh will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I Yahweh have spoken.” Ezekiel’s use may have primed Deutero-Isaiah’s audience for the stunning reveal of Cyrus as Shepherd and Yahweh’s Anointed. Compare to another contemporaneous passage, Jer 23.1-8, where: the prior evil shepherds/kings destroyed and scattered the flock/Israel; so Yahweh will gather the remnant, raise up a new shepherd—i.e. a Branch of David—who shall rule justly, enact a new exodus, and repopulate the land of promise. This concords with Isaiah 9, 11, and 40-48.46 Shepherd would thus have been seen just as Davidic as Yahweh’s Anointed.
Cyrus’ next title is the most contentious to scholars. Cyrus is clearly a (unwitting) servant of Yahweh. In fact, discourses about the servant and about Cyrus are hardly separable in 41-45. The disagreement among scholars47 and among traditions regarding the referent of ‘servant’ (42.1-5 esp.) being the Prophet, People, Cyrus or someone(s) else highlights the degree of overlap in the imagery and motifs applied to the servant and to Cyrus. This bolsters the theory that at least some of the servant oracles may have originally referred to Cyrus and have been reworked48 after the post-exilic disappointment.49 Mowinckel (189) is explicit50 that the first servant song 42.1-7 “was originally addressed to Cyrus.” and the text was later adapted as Cyrus ended up not living up to the promise of the oracles in their entirety. This use fits the general use of the term servant for rulers in pre-Isaiah biblical texts.51
Further, doing justice for the nations, (42.1, 4), giving mercy to the oppressed (42.2-3), being taken by the hand (42.6), being a covenant to the people, and a light to the nations (42.16),52 opening the eyes of the blind (42.7a), bringing out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness (42.7b), and new things Yahweh declares before they spring forth (42.9) are all things fitting Cyrus’ actual actions,53 and are generally royal,54 rather than democratic. 42.1-9 is also bracketed by Cyrus’ stirring in 41.25 and monotheistic paean in 42.8-17ff. But, this application of the title servant to Cyrus should be seen as less innovative than Yahweh’s Anointed, cf. “Nebuchadnezzar my servant,” Jer 25.9, 27.6, 43.10. 55
In prophetic preview and in historic review, Cyrus shares another trait with David and his line, he is the temple builder (44.28b).56 The first use of Cyrus’ name is immediately followed by Yahweh declaring that as shepherd his purpose is to rebuild David’s city and Solomon’s temple.57 The restoration of Zion and rebuilding of the temple is the primary reason Yahweh calls Cyrus. 45.1ff. is the “therefore” of that purpose statement. Cyrus military success is only the mechanism that Yahweh uses to enable the return of his people, which in turn is only to restore Zion, and rebuild the temple.58 If that was not the goal then Yahweh could have caused his people to flourish wherever they were.
Psalm 89 and 132 epitomize the background motifs Isaiah worked with when setting up his stunning revelation. They connect David, Servant, and Yahweh’s Anointed, Chosen, Called, and Temple building. Exilic hymns would have been among the most readily recalled “scriptures” for the original audience. These psalms’ vocabulary for Davidic theology adds force to the argument that Second Isaiah’s audience would have heard Isaiah similarly.
Even after all these allusions to David (and Moses) applied to Cyrus, deutero-Isaiah believes that he needs to antagonize his audience again before closing the section59 thus he finishes with one last baiting. He uses the same verb of Yahweh’s love for Abraham in 41.8b, Israel in 43.4, and Cyrus in 48.14.60
Modern readers may be as uncomfortable with the idea that Cyrus is the Davidic king as those who martyred Deutero-Isaiah;61 objecting that the exile terminated the Davidic covenant and no heir should be expected or accepted. But compare to the Mosaic covenant that is expressly conditional, Yahweh exercised the option to have the land vomit them up, and yet scholars don’t construe it to have been terminated at the Babylonian exile. 62
Finally, regarding the monotheistic propaganda, the Prophet seems to be encouraging a change in Israel’s understanding of Yahweh’s kingship as a response to the humiliation of invasion, defeat, exile, and vassaldom at the hands of the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. Flynn maintains that in a process like the psychological concept of ressentiment, the Israelites reimagined Yahweh not as a geographically limited warrior god (the original conception behind the Zion motifs, wilderness mobility, etc.), but as a “universal-creator” king and God of the cosmos.63 This is a novel understanding of Yahweh or any deity. Contrary to pagan deities, Yahweh does not have an origin. While Marduk may create, there was a time when he was not.64 The new Yahwistic conception was of an origin-less deity creating all from nothing without any true competitors. All other so-called gods where his creatures or illusions. This allows the Judeans to understand all events on the world stage as still orchestrated by Yahweh65 even though their defeat and exile would have otherwise indicated Yahweh’s impotence or non-existence under the previous conception.
Thus, Isaiah’s anti-Idolatry polemics and assertions of high monotheism are definite political statements.66 Statements the empires would not have believed, they were still devoted to gods of the old conception. Their military success was sufficient proof Aššur (or Marduk, etc.) was the god of all, just as they were the rulers of all.67 These vast empires had military success on such a scale that only a God of the cosmos could be outside of the competition.68 All the stylistic similarities to Assyro-Babylo-Median propaganda in 40-48 had therefore already been assimilated before Cyrus’ arrival (as we have seen) or were intentional subversions.
The course that Cyrus follows highlights the contingent nature of prophecy. After the failure of the Davidic heir(s) and exile, 40-48 transfers hope in him from Isa 9.7, and 11.4 qua 1-39 to Cyrus, until Cyrus also fails; then after Cyrus’ post-exilic failure, 49.7-13 transfers hope in Cyrus from 40-48 to the suffering servant of 49-55, until the servant also fails; then after the servant’s martyrdom, 55.3-13 transfers hope in him to the (faithful) people, his disciples.69
The message of the book of Isaiah is clear, Yahweh can do whatever he wills, he can accomplish his purpose despite the failures of his chosen one(s), even raise up Cyrus as the penultimate Davidic king.70 Cyrus doesn’t have to be faithful to be Davidic king, nor even be aware that he is the Davidic king. And we should consider that Cyrus wasn’t even the most disappointing Davidic king, but he is the most provocative.71 Reconceiving Yahweh’s Anointed gets people killed; the prophet of Second Isaiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Isaiah 40-55. Anchor Bible 19A. New Haven: Yale University, 2002.
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. ‘The Servant and the Servants in Isaiah and the Formation of the Book.’In Writing and Reading the Scroll of Isaiah, edited by Craig C. Broyles and Craig A. Evans, 155-176. New York: Brill, 1997.
Briant, Pierre. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Translated by Peter T. Daniels. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbruans, 2002.
Brooke, George J. “Kingship and Messianism in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 434-455. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Broyles, Craig C. ‘The Citations of Yahweh in Isaiah 44.26-28.’In Writing and Reading the Scroll of Isaiah, edited by Craig C. Broyles and Craig A. Evans, 399-422. New York: Brill, 1997.
Childs, Brevard S. The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
Collins, John J. The Scepter and the Star: Messianism in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.
Davies, P. ‘God of Cyrus, God of Israel: Some Religio-historical Reflections on Isaiah 40–55.’ In Words Remembered, Texts Renewed: Essays in Honour of John F. A. Sawyer, :207–25. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 195. New York: Sheffield Academic press, 1995.
Day, John. “The Canaanite Inheritance of the Israelite Monarchy.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 72-90. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
De Jonge, Marinus. “Christ.” In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 1:914-923. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
_______________. “Messiah.” In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 4:777-788. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Flynn, Shawn W. YHWH is King: The Development of Divine Kingship in Ancient Israel. Boston: Brill, 2014.
Fried, Lisbeth S. “Cyrus the Messiah? The Historical Background to Isaiah 45:1.” Harvard Theological Review 95, no. 4 (2002): 373–393.
Goldingay, John and David Payne. Isaiah 40-55. 2 Vols. ICC. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
Goldingay, John. The Theology of the Book of Isaiah. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014.
Green, William S. “Introduction: Messiah in Judaism: Rethinking the Question.” In Judaisms and Their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era, edited by Jacob Neusner, 1-14. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Hays, Christopher B. “The Book of Isaiah in Contemporary Research.” Religion Compass 5, no. 10 (2011): 549-566.
Horbury, William. “Messianism in the Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 402-433. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Joyce, Paul M. “King and Messiah in Ezekiel.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 323-337. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Knoppers, Gary N. “David’s Relation to Moses: The Contexts, Content and Conditions of the Davidic Promises.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 91-118. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Kuhrt, Amélie. The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period. New York: Routledge, 2007.
____________. “Ancient Near Eastern History: The Case of Cyrus the Great of Persia.” In Understanding the History of Ancient Israel, edited by H.G.M. Williamson, 107-127. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
____________. “The Cyrus Cylinder and Achaemenid imperial policy.” Journal For The Study Of The Old Testament 8, no. 25 (February 1983): 83-97.
Laato, Antti. The Servant of YHWH and Cyrus: A Reinterpretation of the Exilic Messianic Programme in Isaiah 40–55. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1992.
_________. A Star is Rising: The Historical Development of the Old Testament Royal Theology and the Rise of the Jewish Messianic Expectations. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997.
Lambert, W.G. “Kingship in Ancient Mesopotamia.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 54-71. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Lucass, Shirley. The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. New York: T&T Clark, 2011.
Mowinckel, Sigmund. He That Cometh: The Messiah Concept in the Old Testament and Later Judaism. Translated by G. W. Anderson. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
Roberts, J.J.M. “The Old Testament’s Contribution to Messianic Expectations.” In The Messiah: Developments in Earliest Judaism and Christianity, edited by James H. Charlesworth, 39-51. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992.
Rooke, Deborah W. “Kingship as Priesthood: The Relationship between the High Priesthood and the Monarchy.” In King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar, edited by John Day, 187-208. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Stromberg, Jacob. An Introduction to the Study of Isaiah. T & T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies. New York: T & T Clark, 2011.
Tiemeyer, Lena-Sofia. For the Comfort of Zion: The Geographical and Theological Location of Isaiah 40-55. Boston: Brill, 2011.
Wanke, Gunther, Prophecy and Psalms in the Persian Period. In The Cambridge History of Jerusalem: Volume One: Introduction; The Persian Period, edited by W.D. Davies and Louis Finkelstein. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
- 24-45.7 ↩
Red Pill || Woke
Woke || Red Pill
The central metaphor for the inculcation of esoteric gnosis is that of arousal from slumber. Mystery religions are perennial. Critical Race Theory, Progressivism, Far Leftism; and Neo-Reaction, Q Anon, Far Rightism.
We’ll remember how much to believe you in the future:
Universal Paperclips; You might be the villain.
This War of Mine; You are at least not a glorious hero.
These are particularly great video games for thoughtful people who don’t actually like video games.
1968 was 3 times more deadly. 1957 was 5 times more deadly. No one noticed.
We flattened the curve back in mid April…