Social Question

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

What do you think of this hypothesis for the welcoming the apocalypse?

Asked by JeanPaulSartre (5779points) March 13th, 2010

I haven’t totally hashed this out, so bear with me. In this post-post-modern world, it seems that humans have come to welcome the idea of impending doom. The source doesn’t even seem to matter… plague, climate change, the rapture… anything to, not necessarily kill us all, but to dramatically shift our way of life. My thinking is that society has slid itself into a mechanized, factory and lab driven state… We can’t seem to get anywhere without using power of some kind, and can’t imagine life without our mass produced stuff pacification. This in combination with this being a generation that grew up without any specific fear of nuclear annihilation that was suddenly rocked out of its cradle by the ominous terrorism (that may have been little threat to us) but was a real eye opener to the state of the world eye opener. It seems like perhaps somewhere in our unconscious we know something is wrong… perhaps that there is a facade that we can’t abandon because it is supported by the corporate powers that be, that our skeptical generation just can’t accept rejection. I think this leads us all to accept that a major atrocity would be “ideal” if it brings about a new way of living for those that remain viable solution. Thoughts?

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26 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve told you before – you’re just like Linderman!
I don’t think the majority of people consciously want to ‘reboot the system’.

mammal's avatar

Truly profound question, i’ll get back to you on that one muchas <3

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir what about unconsciously?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre how the frak should I know? you’re not my boss, my dick’s too small, piss off, go take your meds

ArtiqueFox's avatar

The world is so twisted, people want a massive (even destructive) change to occur, so there can be a new start. Is this an appropriate summary?

The fear factor is slightly neglected in your hypothesis. People picture the apocalypse as a time of hell on earth, thanks to movies and fiction. People are scared of change and death, and don’t welcome the possibility of either. The fear of unknown (e.g. what happens during and after the apocalypse?) counts as well.

This new generation isn’t tired and ready to call it quits yet. Hope of technology and social progress is firing them on. Society is not 110% reliant on technology thanks to the Green and self reliance movements. Basically, people still have some form of hope. Most people would rather fix the issues from where we are, not from ground zero. That would be “back-progress.”

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@ArtiqueFox Interesting – I think it’s maybe less of a conscious thought – but maybe an unconscious one? We seem to fantasize about these things – hence those movies. Even if consciously it freaks us out, there’s a certain appeal. Also, I think the Green movement is more about less technology, than solar panels and such, but I do see your point about hope.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You don’t need to reformat your hard drive to fix a computer problem. Sometimes it only takes “Clear cache”. You don’t have to destroy the world to cleanse yourself. If someone wants to live in the stone age they are free to do so in the hills of TN or Montan or in caves in Afghanistan. That’s fine but they should not expect others to follow in their footsteps. Personally, I am betting the world will survive 2012 just fine.

kevbo's avatar

dude! first rule of Fight Club?!

ArtiqueFox's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre The movements are reactions to fears. Fear starts in the unconscious but are manifested in the conscience. Some people do participate in the movements for the sheer thrill of it. Others participate because they are genuinely scared of the future, and see the movements as a solution. Some may even take part of it because they believe it will prevent an apocalypse.

If people are scared of climate change, how much more so will they be of a complete and brutal apocalypse? Yes there are a few radicals that might be cheering for such, but the majority of people would want to avoid it – the present comfort is more valuable then a new start to them.

This is the most fascinating question of the day, by the way. ;)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@worriedguy Thanks! I agree about 2012 certainly.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I’m not buying it. There’s always been doomsayers.
The Internet just broadcasts this idea to a broader medium.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@ArtiqueFox Thanks for your thoughts – I’m definitely curious about this, as it seems like a lot of folks are apocalypse crazy of late… but there is a certain appeal, even to reasonable people.

Thank you!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Well, I’m not saying its going to happen, but more interested in people’s interest… I’m meta-interested. lol.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I think it’s a romantic oblivion fantasy. The idea of everyone perishing in a massive cataclysm is a more appealing way to go out than dying in a hostpital bed due to a clerical error that gives you a lethal dose of painkillers. Just my theory there. That’s not to say the world doesn’t have problems. It’s clearly got plenty of problems and our fascination and reliance upon technology isn’t curing our spiritual ills.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Thanks @Captain_Fantasy. It’s interesting to me, as it’s not a new phenomenon, but it seems to be really present right now… I think more and more people are feeling an unconscious upheaval – and that’s manifesting itself in many ways. Interesting to think about.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

At least if we see it coming, there’ll be one hell of a party before annilhilation.

liminal's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Do you have a sense of this being global or particular to american thinking?

Berserker's avatar

The Apocalypse, or the end of the world, has always been an underlined concept with humans everywhere, and is included in many different cultures and mythologies.
I think someone predicts the end of the world every three years, and this started long, long ago.
I’m not sure what the reasoning behind it may be, but I do agree with the basis of this hypothesis; the “Apocalypse” has always had for its word the pillar of rebirth, renewal and what have you. Just like the death card in Tarot cards it never necessarily means the end.
I think the idea spawns from every age and every culture wishing to appease the suffering or banality of life, which, of course, every current generation seems to think they have it worse than anyone else. (I note that you relate your example to technology and material possession, but not the whole world lives like that.)
I don’t think though, that it’s anymore prominent today than it ever was before.

Personally I perceive the end of humanity through famine and disease after we deplete our resources, and I could totally be wrong, but I do think indeed that we’ll adopt the seagull going out to sea to die scheme when this happens, if it does.

It’s hard to say, but since the concept of the end seems to adhere to renewal and desire rather than an actual conclusion, when the end truly does come, (Which will be gradual I’m sure.) I don’t think we’ll adopt the same mindframe as this Apocalypse one which may be currently present in our subconscious, and is nearly as ancient as man himself.

liminal's avatar

I am enjoying pondering along with you on this.

When you say this: “a facade that we can’t abandon”... I wonder if it is more like a barrier we can’t get past. That being surrounded by so many of things you mentioned there are literally barriers to being connected one to another and the planet. The desire for an eradication of boundaries and to have connectedness leads one to think (consciously or unconsciously) that a clean slate “ideal” won’t only “bring about a new way of living” but a better way of living.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@liminal Yes, lots of interesting thoughts! I think it’s probably global, although it may be for different reasons all over… but I wonder if it is, at its core, the same basic idea – maybe not technology, but some other barrier.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Symbeline Thank you for your thoughtful answer – yes, I’d have to agree, that our demise would likely be something else all together. It’s interesting that, as you said, these things come up all the time…

liminal's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre agreed.

I keep thinking about those who are drawn to the apocalyptic story and unconscious upheaval. One of the strong threads of dooms-day tales is the role of redemption. Humanity has failed and gets a ’second chance’ to redeem themselves, and generally speaking, the tales speak of heroic redemption saving the day. People love their second chances and I wonder if, ultimately, that is what they are welcoming. Of course, as you say, this is facade: whose to say that people will move with redemption if given a new start. How popular would the welcoming of apocalypse be if the end result sucked? This leads me to wonder if there is more than one group of apocalypse fans: those who want a new beginning, those who want the chances to end and all things to stop, those who want to practice genocide, those who want power, etc…

I think ArtiqueFox points out how others are responding to the sense of knowing something is wrong. @ArtiqueFox “Most people would rather fix the issues from where we are, not from ground zero. That would be “back-progress.” That gives me hope :)

Thanks for the question, I like it.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@liminal Yep and people love the idea of a fate that’s been handed down so to speak – that is, 2012 appeals to people because it gives us a sense of destiny too – this is the end of time because it was declared so long ago, implies an outside force, and people love that, be it God and/or aliens.

Glad you like the question… it’s something I’ve been rolling around amongst other things. I appreciate the responses everyone is giving me – new thoughts to add to the mire!

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