, , , , , , , , ,

I read today’s WSJ article “A Poem for Troubled Times” by Ed Ballard with interest. In this article the author discussed the popularity of W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” in various media for the last few years. Ballard writes: “An analysis of Factiva, a media database, shows that some of Yeats’s most resonant lines have been quoted in news sources more often in the first seven months of 2016 than any other year in the past three decades. References on Twitter have also gradually increased over the past year, according to data from social-analytics firm Sysomons Inc., with spikes after terror attacks in Paris and Brussels and in the wake of the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU.” I found the article interesting because I myself quoted “The Second Coming” in my blog entry dated on Oct. 6, 2015 (though I actually uploaded it on Oct. 5), “The Meaning of Life, According to Major Religions.” However, I did not quote Yeats to reinforce the prevailing feeling that the world was falling apart; but rather to suggest the danger of apocalypse present in the major religions. For some reason, humans are occasionally enchanted by the vision of spectacular annihilation. Maybe, it’s due to Freudian “death instinct” or perhaps due to our misplaced explosion of energy. However, believing in such a violent end of the world can be quite dangerous (could end up to be a case of self-fulfilling prophecy). I think it important for us to fight back against an ideology that pushes such a counter-productive vision no matter how attractive it may be. We can appreciate the artistic merits of Yeats’ poem, such as its brutal beauty and exquisite wording, but should never believe it as true.