The writing is on the wall

There are so many writings, so many walls, so many signs, so many hands, and too little time to understand all of it. By the time we notice the writing is on the wall, time’s up, the wall gets washed white clean, and we’re back to square one. Only we’re never really back to square one.

Omens used to be read in everything, in heaven and on earth, in eclipses as well as in the entrails of sacrificed animals. Signs used to be seen everywhere, and they are everywhere. Behaviour prediction is the new divination at Google and Facebook, and tech-driven clairvoyance blurs the lines between the known and the knowable.

Yet, there is prophecy in the simple act of writing, vaticination in drawing the letters together into words and phrases.

IMG_4489.jpg
The invisible hand of the divine during Belshazzar’s feast (in the Book of Daniel, chapter 5), a pavement tile from the Church of St Nicaise of Reims, preserved in the Basilica of St Rémy.

 

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