Aladdin Insane

The day I understood that the world was ending was January 10, 2016.

Other prophets might point to a different date, one year and ten days later: January 20, 2017: the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Many people will point to this moment as a turning point in Western history, and one that — it’s easy to imagine — might result in its actual demise.

But, truly, by that date, so much of Western civilization was dead already. If the ideals of the Enlightenment had been alive, then Trump would not have been elected in the first place. And signs of this slow, gradual death were already apparent, everywhere.

What I’m talking about was a single sudden moment when my understanding of things changed, my first indication that something truly apocalyptic was afoot: the day that Bowie died.

I can’t eulogize David Bowie without leaning on platitudes: he was a star like no other, and it’s no surprise that his exit from Earth would feel like a supernova, and send powerful gravity waves rippling through so many people. But as more time goes by, it seems to me “supernova” isn’t the right analogy. What he left behind was a black hole.

The death of David Bowie is the first moment I believed in the Rapture. In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rapid departures of so many of our wisest and most beautiful souls. I have the undeniable sense we’re being evacuated, and God is bringing his chosen ones home.

What can be said of those of us who have been left behind?

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand.