Russell Brand on Notre Dame: Apocalypse!


The fiery images of Notre Dame burning were terrible to see. Russell Brand sees them as being as jarring as the World Trade Center towers falling on 9/11, or the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London. In short, these images look like an Apocalypse.

The British thinker and comedian goes on to discuss the fact that the image of a building on fire has deep psychological significance, and may exist in our collective unconscious. This was demonstrated by Adam Curtis, by showing how many images of buildings being destroyed were shown in movies prior to 9/11/2001.

Apocalypse is an Old Idea

The image of an important building being destroyed in a moment draws from the idea of a terrible, abrupt ending. The Tower card that appears in the Rider-Waite tarot deck illustrates this idea perfectly, and the meaning of the card is in-line with the psychological effects that Brand describes.

Image via

Unlike some of the illustrations in the Rider Waite tarot deck, the Tower card is more or less the same as the Tower card in the Marseille tarot deck, which may have been the first one to use the image of an important building destroyed by a calamitous fire in this way.

Hitting the ‘Real’ Question

The real question is whether or not the symbolism of an important building going up in flames will have a powerful effect on the ‘real’ world. Brand points out that 9/11 was used to wage wars in nations which had noting to do with the event.

On the other hand, the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have helped to blast the US debt higher by trillions of US dollars.

Much in the same way that the war that the US instigated in Vietnam (the Gulf of Tonkin incident was provoked by the US) caused the US to abandon the gold standard, the post 9/11 wars may be what ultimately causes the outright demise of the US dollar as the world’s de-facto reserve currency.

France has Been on Fire

There is a strangeness in the timing of the destruction of Notre Dame.

France has been divided of late, with nationwide protests by the ‘yellow vests‘ causing huge amounts of chaos and destruction. The demonstrations began because of taxes, which is an age-old dynamic between the haves-and the have nots.

Image via

Perhaps the images of Notre Dame burning will help to shore up a nation that could be closer to the brink of destruction than we realize. Or, the recent tragedy could be a herald of terrible things to come.

If France descends into civil war and becomes yet another flashpoint in the EU’s menagerie of woes, we can point to the burning images of Notre Dame as the point when the dreams of a French Republic died, and a new era began.