The eschatology as future-present

Sarah Dayens

in Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780719076213
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702116 | DOI:
The eschatology as future-present

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The messianic character of the Rastafari movement, and especially its apocalyptic representation of the future, deeply influences the daily life as well as worldview of the rastas. In reggae music, the eschatology is everywhere: it defines both practices and representations that belong to the present, contaminating them, as it were, by charging them with meaning. The future provides the present with an intensity that the past lacks: the effervescence of collective redemption, the fulfillment of a long-awaited justice, the final coming of the myth into human time. In the Book of Revelation, Babylon becomes the archetype of Evil. For the rastas, history offers a long list of Western wrongdoings, whose apogee was slavery and colonialism. Mental slavery is exerted through the whole social structure, from the education system to religious institutions to the media to the government, which are all viewed as actively participating in a vast enterprise of exploitation. The description of Babylon is made by using images of war and symbols from the Bible.

Keywords: Rastafari movement; future; reggae; eschatology; Bible; slavery; Babylon; symbols; time; present

Chapter.  5670 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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