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Meditation 616
James Joyce: A Prophet For Our Times

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I have been struggling for the past few months through James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. I have been covering a couple of pages each day seeking the meaning, and with little success. Finally last night on page 212[1] I was struck by the following:

"Ay, and don't forget the reckitts I lohaned you."

If we read "reckitts" as wrecks or wrecked, does this not constitute a clear prophecy of the multiple car accidents the actress Lindsay Lohan has been involved in? Or perhaps, the wreck this talented actress is making of her personal life? And remember, James Joyce wrote this book in the period 1922 - 1939, before the young woman's parents were even born.

Attuned to the possibility that Finnegan's Wake is a book of prophecy, I continued, and on the very next page:

"And my cold cher's gone ashley."

Interpreted in the light of prophecy, Joyce is predicting that Ashlee Simpson will sing just like a dead Cher, an obvious reference to the infamous lip-synching incident on Saturday Night Live. Another prophecy which has proven true.

But does Finnegan's Wake only deal with trivial forecasts of celebrity gossip? The answer came quickly on the next page, page 214.

"What is it but a blackburry growth or the dwyergray ass them four old codgers owns."

Yes, way back in 1939, Joyce foresaw the growth in popularity of the BlackBerry, and that even the old fogies on corporate Boards of Directors would come to rely upon them. If only I had recognized this years ago and invested in RIM, the makers of the device.

It is now apparent that Finnegan's Wake is one of the great books of prophecy,[2] and we are now living in the times foretold. I'm sure there are hundreds if not thousands of other prophecies in the text, some fulfilled, others yet to be so.[3] Perhaps one is coming true at the very moment you read these words.

The next time someone claims that the supposedly fulfilled prophecies in the Bible prove that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, the reply will be "Then, so is Finnegan's Wake. The same logic makes Finnegan's Wake the inerrant word of God "

Footnotes:

  1. The 1976 Penguin books edition
  2. Not as an original concept as I had thought. There is an 1992 academic paper suggesting that Finnegan's Wake in its entirety predicts cyberspace: Beyond The Orality/Literacy Dichotomy: James Joyce and the Pre-history of Cyberspace by Donald F Theal
  3. Further examples of fulfilled prophecy in either Finnegan's Wake or Ulysses are welcome. Provider's of three good examples may be granted a PhD in Joycean Studies by IUN.