The Greek words mean “culmination” (synteleia) and “era” (aion) thus suggesting “the end of a point in time” which would embrace both social change or the end of one’s life.
Christianity is often seen as an “apocalyptic” religion, looking forward to “the end of the world,” but Jesus actually never says anything about “the end of the world” as such. In many Gnostic systems (esoteric and mystical knowledge), the various emanations of God, who is also known by such names as the One, the Monad, Aion teleos (“The Broadest Aeon”), Bythos (“depth or profundity”), Proarkhe (“before the beginning”), Arkhe ( “the beginning”), Sophia (“wisdom”), and Christos (“the Anointed One”), are called Aeons.
The Christian church has found a benefit throughout history in preaching that the end of the world is imminent. Their motivation is the same as politicians and scientists today preaching the end of the world through global warming. By magnifying the immediacy of the threat, such organizations justify increasing their power.
However, there is a more certain, more pressing threat to us all individually, our own deaths, the end of our personal worlds. Jesus uses his ability to see the ending of his era, the Judean world as it was then, as an analogy for the end of each individual’s life, a crisis coming to us all, one at a time, in our own places, a crisis more important personally than some future “end of the world” is generally.
© 2023 Gary Gagliardi
Gary Gagliardi, “known primarily as a writer and educator on competitive strategy”, is from what I can gather but another American aligned with the “Art of Money Getting or the Golden Rules for Making Money” by P. T. Barnum paradoxically of circus fame.
While I never cease to be staggered by the rubbish deriving from so-called religious scrutinty and philosophy (and the audacity of these voodoo mystics to attribute to it what is inevitably contradictory scientific insight), there is nonetheless a poetic element which speaks to the broader journey of humanity through the Universe. Amusingly “synteleia” was more recently employed (1600s) to describe the cumulative obligation of citizens to contribute to military protection of the state.
“Smaller proprietors (landed vassals) were joined together in a kind of society, for which our language does not afford a special name, but which an Athenian would have called a Synteleia; and each society was required to furnish, according to its means, a horse soldier or a foot soldier.”
The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 1
Thomas Babington Macaulay
There is no way we can prevent the evolution of change or the end of the world as we presently know it. I will reserve deliberation upon what happens afterwards since honestly I don’t ever address the topic for obvious reasons.
What is currently more critical for me is the question about what I should do given that the end is near. By the oddest deduction it has occurred to me that there is little purpose expanding unduly upon one’s current circumstances. It is the closest I’ve come in my life to date to question the utility of perpetuation. Shamefully perhaps the preoccupation is limited to the material world which I guess is not entirely unreasonable considering the nature of the impending alteration. It is more of a blow to the effervescence of life, that cheerful buoyancy which characteristically underpins, insinuates and animates youth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting the looming prospects or their current machinations; I just find it mildly disruptive to what has traditionally been unfettered fizziness.
On the other hand (and here I may be equipping myself with a logical subterfuge) it is with some application both probable and possible that at this advanced age I am simply lapsing into a convenient perspective; viz., the armchair pedant, the digestible flavour of which is the gentleman who has retired to the country with his book and his bottle. As the vernacular diminishes the object of materialism it enhances the focus of the proceedings. It is no small complement that the enterprise reduces my corporeal appetites and attention.
Meanwhile as I await the end of the world, I shall preserve what I can of my erstwhile partialities.