Mark of the Beast Musings; Sympathy For the Devil


Public transportation continues to be a never exhausting source of entertainment and insight to me. Drama to watch, empathy to experience; you can engage in conversation with total strangers or simply sit back and let them feed you food for thought. Three people got on board the bus a few stops after I had already sat down for my evening commute. First to sit down was this girl in a denim jacket sporting a Michael Jackson fedora. She was followed by another young woman who had her ear buds in, focused on her Iphone. The last to get on was this elderly black gentleman that wore a coat of hard dust and a ballcap that read Leave Me Alone; advise I’m sure he would be the last to take. The girl with the phone was chatting to a friend, bragging how she could purchase tickets for some show right off her phone. “lemme call you back” she said and started tapping away at the screen – I assume to buy tickets-maybe she was texting, I wasn’t sure. The older man engaged her immediately by speaking up.
“You know what you got there….the mark of the Beast!”
“What are you talking about, crazy old man” – but she didn’t call him ‘old man’. What she called him rhymed with ‘bigger’.
“That phone you got there. All that technology is what the Devil will use to control us all.”
“Now how’s the Devil gonna control me on my phone?”
He gave up and shook his head and said ‘mark of the beast’ one more time…and that was all he would say on the matter.

That small exchange of words got me thinking back to recent online material regarding the boogyman tales evangelists and doomsday theorists thrive on; 666, the mark of the Beast. I’ve heard some rare beauties when it comes the conspired tales of those trying to warn me about how the Devil/AntiChrist plans to suck my soul down his tunnel of  eternal damnation. Those stories have died off though, just like theories on the Kennedy assassination or the Roswell Incident. The lack of any new evidence leaves those discussions collecting dust in the corner…what has popped up more and more to take their place is talk on the Singularity. The point where human and machine converge with one another seems increasingly more believable and certainly holds closer semblance to what doomsdayers predict than the old mark of the Beast tales. We let the ease of technology lead us around by the nose and gently tug toward having us assimilate to an easier way of communicating our thoughts and actions. This has me wondering whether we should be blaming the Devil or ourselves for the path we seem to be following toward a new realm of existence. It’s a wonderful new world, and a frightening one as well, but knowing we can no longer go back, how will we advance into the New World Order….kicking and screaming or merely punching in our dislikes on a tablet? We haven’t lost all our qualities of humanity, not yet. Even though that girl continued tapping away on her phone, the girl with the Michael Jackson hat sat behind me writing in a notebook of paper with a pen; old schooling it. I poked my head over and politely asked her what she was writing.
“Just my thoughts” she said and that made me smile.


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