Readers – the end is nigh. Any day of the week there always seems to be some terminal apocalypse just around the corner, poised to finally bring ruin to us all – and severe distress to the gullible. This is true not only in relation to the 2012 Mayan prediction, but regularly throughout human history – going right back to pre-Roman times.
Why our fixation? Writing strictly on a not-for-prophet basis, here are the Top 10 reasons for our obsession…
• 10 – An inflated sense of self-importance
Much stems from our difficulty in grasping the tiny walk-on part we all have amid the sprawling enormity of deep time. The human brain just can’t compute the vastness of it. For many, the world doesn’t only revolve around us – it stops around us too. 1 in 7 people in the world right now believe it will all end during their lifetime.
• 9 – It provides a sense of meaning
The idea of an apocalypse pushes all the right buttons at a psychological level because the idea of ‘there’s no meaning’ is a little freaky. It represents the fundamental struggle between order and chaos.
Human societies have always tried to create some kind of framework of meaning to give history and our own personal lives some kind of significance.
• 8 – It’s about a basic human need: power
Apocalyptic predictions are a way for people to try to control the way their (and others’) world works.
The one thing we can never predict is the time and manner of our own deaths. What you get during times of particular discontent – war, famine or general bad times – is a rise in apocalyptic preaching and ideas. And at those times we seem to lap it up like there’s no tomorrow.
• 7 – It’s a collective death wish
Immanuel Velikovsky, writer on ancient catastrophes, had an unsettling theory that mankind blocks its memory of the failure of civilizations of the past, while simultaneously desiring those catastrophes – much like a collective death wish.
Considering war, global warming, financial collapse and other ways we might collectively destroy ourselves – this is a little worrying. But we need to distinguish between the end of our species (far more likely) and the end of the planet (highly unlikely).
• 6 – We’re all bored
Life can seem grindingly dull sometimes. Same job, groundhog day – yawn, as the hipsters say.
Wouldn’t a little injection of chaos alleviate all that crap? After all, aren’t depictions of apocalyptic events from the movies downright sexy? We’re sure we’d have Milla Jovovich or Megan Fox running around in tight leather pants saving the world. Might spice up a dull Wednesday morning, non?
MORE . . .
- Top 10 Reasons Humans Are Obsessed With the Apocalypse (listverse.com)
- The Top 10 Signs The Apocalypse Will Definitely Happen Tomorrow (queerty.com)
- No apocalypse now (so it must be next week) (thetimes.co.uk)
- Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Survive the Apocalypse (tinystepsmommy.com)
- British zombie plan reveals that England is ready for any apocalypse (examiner.com)