THE APOCALYPSE: BREAKING OF THE SIXTH SEAL

BY ALBRECHT DÜRER, 1496-98
This image made by Albrecht Dürer in 1496-98 depicts a scene from the Apocalypse or Book of Revelations (the last section of the New Testament of the Christian Bible), which Saint John the Divine wrote after obtaining a vision whilst held prisoner in a cave on the Greek island of Patmos. Describing his vision, the Saint mentions an end of time, a resurrection of the souls of the dead, a divine last judgement, followed by a grand entry of the souls of the blessed into Paradise.
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The word Apocalypse is interesting. Its English meaning is assumed to be "the end of the world", and the event described by the saint is widely misunderstood to be a prophecy of world destruction that awaits us a the end of history.  But as the psychiatrist R.D. Laing pointed out, if you scrutinise the text, you will not find a single indication that St. John was talking about an external phenomenon! The word itself, in Greek, simply means "revelation," or more precisely, the uncovering of something that was hidden.
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For related information about the metaphorical meaning of Apocalypse, see our conversation with the psychiatrist Dr. John Weir Perry.