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Post"Hurrying the Apocalypse": Aum Shinrikyo Doomsday Cult (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA, 07/09/18 3:52 pm)
Gary Moore writes:
Thanks to Noah Rich (9 July) for reminding of Japan's execution July 6 of the 7 leaders of Aum Shinrikyo, the Tokyo subway terrorists far back in 1995.
The 28 people they killed in two separate sarin attacks, plus other murders, should not overshadow the thousands they injured, in cases gravely, and the fact that they hoped to kill and injure tens of thousands or millions. The Aum Shinrikyo "doomsday cult," as the headlines put it, enshrined a persistent riddle in millenarian or lapsarian collectives that turn violent, a riddle sometimes called "hurrying the apocalypse."
The full lapsarian archetype (without the additional hurrying) is that our present moment in history is a corrupted exception (the Lapse, however long), caused by the demonic intervention of overwhelming evil, which has whisked away our former, natural state of peace and plenty--though ahead is the third stage or dialectical synthesis, when good will return with irresistible force, smash evil, and once more bring peace and plenty, this time forever. Sarcastically referenced as this might sound, the riddle is why some groups aren't content to wait for the promised apocalypse, but think they will lend a hand to divine power by jumping the gun, and wreaking the kinds of havoc that divine retribution is going to be doing soon anyway. This would surely seem a veil for hatred or rage in certain kinds of groups (On October 22, 1844. for example, when the Millerites gathered nationwide for The End, they never dreamed of hurting anybody--even when it all fell flat).
By contrast, Charles Manson's followers wrote "Pigs" on a wall above their carnage because they were seeking to look as if they were murderous black radicals, in hopes of starting a global race war that would leave Charlie as default king. Japan's version, Aum Shinrikyo, had similar hopes to consume the world entire in chaos, whereupon leader Shoko Asahara (and thanks to Noah for including his real name) would also be the default survivor-king. The religious component is optional. Many anarchists and nihilists of the Haymarket and bomb-throwing days were consumed with a will to destroy, which they glossed under concern for the working class and promises of return to ancient lost grace, if the corrupt capitalist lapse could just be cleared away. This scarcely meant the capitalists were angels, but that delusion was not likely to provide much alternative.
And as to the final act on July 6, if Jim Jones of Jonestown had been caught after everybody else was dead, would there be discussion about whether he should be hanged?
JE comments: If we speak in purely theological terms, aren't most religions of the "lapsarian" type? Look no further than the foundational narrative of Christianity, The Fall. If so, the Japanese committed a blunder by executing the Aum Shinrikyo clan. Permanent imprisonment doesn't create martyrs. Nor does killing millenarians work as a deterrent.