The Magic of Turning Zeroes

    I’ve been long fascinated by fin de siècles — and even more by fin de milia –: many of us, if we live long enough, will get to see hundred-year turns (as when 1899 turned to 1900), but precious mortals in our planet’s history have been lucky enough to be alive when both occur at once (1999 turning to 2000).  I’m guessing many of you share this fascination with me.

    As an historian of ideas, I’ve long been aware that century-turns prove to be seismic — not because they are, but because they are perceived to be.  That’s why fin de siecles are well worthy of study.  Why is it that the last decade of each century is so destabilizing?  Why is it that all the old established beliefs and assumptions of that time period are put under the microscope and questioned, with more fierce intensity, as each year in that decade arrives and passes?  And why is it that the last year is the most unsettling of all? Indeed, it sometimes seems that society, on that memorable New Year’s Eve, heaves into the sky all its beliefs in one idiotic Hail Mary Pass, under the assumption that nothing is ever going to be the same on the other side of those 9s.

    But hundred-year turns pale into a mere shadow in comparison with millennial turns — both of which we experienced ten years ago.  On the basis of previous millennial and 500-year turns, I have long predicted that our generation will experience societal change and upheaval on a scale that will stagger the mind.  What those changes are likely to be, we can only speculate at this time.

    And speculate we will, beginning with Blog #2, and continuing until it is time to explore other venues.  I promise no definitive answers — only a discussion that ought to interest all those who exercise their brains on a daily basis.

    Welcome aboard!

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 2:03 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I don’t want to miss a single one, Joe. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. Thank you.

    • Dear Margie,
      So good to hear from you. Appreciate your kind words re my earliest blogs. I’m sure you’re exhausted after all the Christmas company. We celebrated in Santa Fe. Happy New Year!

  2. Mr. Wheeler, welcome to the blog world! You are ahead of some of the rest of us. It is a pleasure to see you writing more books and putting together more collections. We are a family of readers and have enjoyed your stories on our own and as read-alouds with our children. The values that they convey have been a blessing and provided opportunities for instruction and discussion. We have shared them with friends and used them as illustrations in my messages to our church here in Japan.
    We will look forward to reading more of your work here as well as on the printed page. May the Lord bless you and your family this day! Please enjoy the lovely aspen for us, too.

    • Dear Mr. Hutton,
      Thanks so much for your much appreciated comments about our books–71 and counting–and the blogs. It is an experiment: dabbling in this Brave New World of cyberspace. May the Lord bless your ministry in Japan.

  3. Hi Joe! I will certainly follow your blog. Your dear, true spirit comes through in person, on paper, and online.

    I have been blogging for less than a year and I love it. You get immediate feedback from readers, catch up with old friends, and express your thoughts in a more informal way.

    By the way, I am the redhead who took your clas about “Perfecting the Art of the Book Signing” at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference this year. If you can deliver a simple book signing with grace and magic, there is no telling what you can do with a blog.

    Emily Osburne

  4. Dear Emily,
    So good to hear from you. Of course I remember you. That was a special writing conference we shared. I trust all is going well with you in both writing and life. Wishing you a blessed 2010!

  5. Hi, Joe! Thanks for letting us know about your new adventure. The unemployment articles were especially timely and comforting for those who are struggling at this point.

    When I was Christmas shopping before the holidays, I was surprised to find your Christmas collection volume 2 at the local Garden Ridge. I bought two copies–one for me and one for my dissertation advisor and his wife. I was filling a “Christmas comfort” basket for them (book, cocoa, candle, ornaments, table placemats, etc.) It was special to be able to say “The Christmas book is by a friend of mine from the Zane Grey West Society!”

    All best. Keep ’em coming!

    • Dear Rosanne,
      Good to hear from you. Appreciate your responses to my initial attempts at blogging. Where I’m concerned, it’s uncharted waters. Look forward to seeing you at Gold Beach.

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