Flagellants in Ingman Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957)
There is something residing deep in human nature which believes that mankind is not entitled to comfort or prosperity and that the jealous gods of Nature are even now preparing to punish our insolence in illuminating our cities and heating our homes. The same impulse which actuated the medieval penitents who flagellated themselves to turn aside the wrath of God remains active and alive in today’s secular age.
Displays of piety, of course, are not necessarily entirely penitential or propitiatory. When cult membership is associated with social rank, religious behavior can function as a status marker. Thus, in today’s Western community of fashion, penitence no longer pertains to sin, and society’s elect proudly displays possession of the visible signs of grace by publicly repenting for consumption.
Cthulhu must be so pleased.
Twenty-six major cities around the world are expected to turn off the lights on major landmarks, plunging millions of people into darkness to raise awareness about global warming, organisers said.
‘Earth Hour’ founder Andy Ridley said 371 cities, towns or local governments from Australia to Canada and even Fiji had signed up for the 60-minute shutdown at 0900 GMT on March 29.
“There are definitely 26 (cities) that we think, if it all goes to plan, we are going to see a major event of lights going off,” he told AFP.
Cities officially signed on include Chicago and San Francisco, Dublin, Manila, Bangkok, Copenhagen and Toronto, all of which will switch off lights on major landmarks and encourage businesses and homeowners to follow suit.
Ridley said it was also likely that other major European cities such as Rome and London, and the South Korean capital Seoul, although not officially taking part, would turn off lights on some attractions or landmarks.
The initiative began in Sydney last year and has become a global event, sweeping across 35 countries this year.
From 8:00 pm local time in Sydney, the energy-saving campaign will see harbourside icons such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House bathed only in moonlight, restaurant diners eat by candlelight and city skyscrapers turn off their neon signs.
Organisers hope the initiative will encourage people to be more aware of their energy usage, knowing that producing electricity pollutes the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels which are contributing to global warming.
But they are also aware that it will be just a small step in solving the problem of rising temperatures around the globe.
Nuremburg Chronicle, 1493