Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Book Review: Youth of the Apocalypse and the last true rebellion by the St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.

Youth of the Apocalypse and the last true rebellion by the St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.

This book is described as “A virtual manifesto for the children of the eleventh hour” and it certainly reads as one. Discussing the world today and the cure. Having read much from Heiromonk Seraphim Rose and his writings on Orthodoxy in the modern world I was eager to get my hands on this book, as someone who entered Orthodoxy from the Metal subculture much like one of the authors, Monk John Marler. This as well as it’s connection to the well known “death to the world” zine, of which I am an avid reader, drew me to borrow it from my local priest.

The book is certainly a blessing, and pulls no punches when discussing how the world today has become a spiritual warzone, where the three Children of Nihilism (Sex, Drugs and Violence) have become encouraged as a norm for those seeking escapism from the world. At first glance it reads much like a slap in the face when you say something stupid to the wrong person, opening with the line “From the mother’s womb the newborn baby cries; and these teardrops continue to fall even unto thiseeration of youth.”

To those who prefer a standard, impersonal account of Orthodoxy, the book will certainly not appeal, but to someone like me, who appreciates the struggle that the Orthodox youth must go through to understand the place of God in today’s world it is a great change from much of the lukewarm “for academic use only” orthodox literature I have encountered. The book is split into three sections; “Our origin”, “our death” and “our resurrection”, each of these dealing with a specific topic.

“Our Origin” discusses the rise of Apathy and Nihilism through History, and the change from the peace of our beginnings with God, to the war we see around us on both the physical and metaphysical battlefields of the modern world. It is only a short section, and serves as a second introduction, covering the historical background of the war between the world and God.

This leads the writers to look at specific philosophies and “new order” which led to this tragedy in humankind, from the actions of the Emperor Nero in Rome to the works of later Philosophers which sought to end religion, calling it outdated. The development of these new moral traditions based on mankind’s lust for new meaning and experience were harmful to mankind, and eventually would lead to the escapist Philosophy which the book focuses on for the next section. The book them looks into the writings of Nietzsche, seen as the father of insanity, and how they again influenced the zeitgeist, opening the path to a humankind with the notion of the living God effectively killed by mankind who now seek nothing as they have lost their only comfort. This, according to the Youth of the Apocalypse gave rise to Generation X, the lost generation.

“Our Death” looks specifically at the world of today, where, as previously mentioned, escapism rules and the devil provides many tools for those looking for it. It looks at how people today seem to be fighting a war against God. They have decided to push far away from God, seeking to escape the world which mankind has created by losing themselves in the mind bending realities of modern culture From Drugs to Fashion to the outright grotesque. I myself am a big video game fan, but have seen many people lose themselves to this need for an escape, spending hundreds of pounds a month on the newest games, as they have no reason to associate with the world.

The book deals with the sad realities of the world. It asks why there is a necessity in the modern world to “feed the need.” It looks at how people’s lives are changed as the passions they have lived for have led them to apathy, as they cannot feel pleasure from these things now, and of course this can lead to suicide. Again, through the war against God man’s ultimate destination is death.

In the Third section the book looks at “Our Resurrection”. How is man saved? How can we know this? And what can we do to save ourselves? This is by far the largest section of the book, taking  three quarters of the page count and an in depth, but simply worded explanation of salvation and the person of Christ and the trinity. One part of this section I find extremely beautiful is its detailed summaries the lives of some of the Saints that have inspired the writers, from St. Antony of the desert, who gave up the passions of the world to become a monk in the desert, to Moses the Black, the feared thief who became a peaceful monk. It also looks at some of the modern Martyrs who have died at the hands of those influenced by the “anti-faith” mindset of the modern world such as Priest-monk Nestor, who suffered greatly at the hands of hooligans because of his faith, and was eventually murdered. These inspirational lives are sure to remind any reader that you can find the greatest of pleasures through serving your creator, rather than through giving your body to mankind.

The book ends in a fashion which I could only liken to a medical manual for medication, or even instructions for the human soul, explaining the training of the body and soul to be healthy, and reminding of what is best avoided in this minefield we live in. Finishing with Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, to remind us that those that do not seek personal greatness, or rely on the suffering of others, or person hate to get by in life will inherit pleasure far beyond any worldly suffering when we leave the world.  

All in all, I feel that this book is to be highly recommended for any struggling with the world. It is mainly written for those coming from a punk or metal background in which the concept of nihilism has prevailed, but is easily understood and read by any who wish to read it.

1 comment:

  1. You have a digital version of the book? I cant find it.