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)
by Andres Trujillo via listverse.com
That we’re not alone in the universe is something no one knows but most suspect – not only because it is highly probable that there is another advanced form of life somewhere out there, but also because it is a highly fascinating subject that does a beautiful job at spurring our imagination. However, in imagining what such form of life could look like or behave like, we readily make a number of anthropocentric assumptions (that is, we assume they are like us to an unnecessary degree), some of which we are not even aware of. Our common idea of what an extraterrestrial being should look like has been largely shaped by depictions in arts and entertainment that were, in one way or another, created to be relatable and convenient for storytelling purposes, while compromising verisimilitude. If we live in a multiverse, then practically any kind of being we could possibly conceive has existed or will exist at some point. But let’s pretend that humanity is on the verge of making first contact with a single species, a civilization that dwells on a planet close to ours. What can and what can we not assume about them? What do we have to wonder about them? Let us explore, in the spirit of speculation, a number of factors that merit some thought – and how they are related to both science fiction and real science.
It’s not just that we imagine them to be humanoid (standing on two legs, two limbs coming out of the sides of the upper torso, a head with a nose, a mouth, ears, and eyes); it’s that we imagine them to appear earthling-like at all. Even when we try to diverge most from the typical humanoid appearance that science fiction gives to extraterrestrials, we can’t help but envision them as sharing a general morphology with Earth’s fauna: reptiles, crustaceans, or, at best, insects – only of human size or slightly bigger. The rationale behind this is actually not as faulty as it may seem. If we build our imagined extraterrestrial from the ground up, we make anthropocentric assumptions about their morphology out of necessity. After all, we are the only intelligent species that we know of, and therefore the only instance that we can study of evolution reaching such a state. First, we assume that any intelligent species had to arise from some sort of biochemistry similar to ours. Then the resulting life form had to achieve a multicellular state, so as to develop a dedicated brain. It had to develop a skeleton of sorts to cope with gravity, and its body had to grow up to a minimum size such that its brain developed the level of cognition that we enjoy. It had to grow at least a pair of limbs to move around with and a pair to use tools. It also has to have a set of senses to interact with its world and a body big and strong enough to thrive in its ecosystem. In the end, it’s just simpler to not think outside the box.
Read the remaining Top 10 Interesting Questions About Aliens.
by Josh Fox via listverse
Next time you are walking on the beach, there is a possibility, albeit a small one, that you may come across a hideous, stinking mass of life coughed up from the grimiest depths of the ocean floor: in other words, a globster. For those who don’t know, a globster is an unidentified organic mass that is washed up on the shoreline of a body of water. Many fascinating, albeit slimy, globster (and other sea carcass) cases have been documented over the years, all united by the stimulating sense of mystery surrounding them. Science has explained away many historical cases; however some remain enigmatic to this day. Listed below are some of most notable recorded discoveries of both globsters and other interesting sea carcasses.
Keep Reading: Top 10 Fascinating Globsters and Sea Carcasses.
In 1966, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, one amorous young couple encountered something they’ll never forget, something that was literally burned into their retinas (klieg conjunctivitis, medically speaking). What they saw was a a terrifying man-bird hybrid of sorts with glowing red eyes. From there, subsequent reports and all sorts of wild speculation ensued. And with that a need to explain it all. Here are ten common explanations for this otherworldly entity dubbed simply the “Mothman.”
Read the Top 10 Explanations for the Mothman.
- December 15. Mothman and MIBs! #dsxp #darkshadows #mothman (collinsfoundation.net)
There are lots of things we don’t know. But there is a difference between things we don’t know and things that can’t be known. For example, no-one knows when Shakespeare was born (although we do know when he was baptized). However, it’s not impossible that in the future we could find out – a long lost document might be found that mentions his birth, so Shakespeare’s true date of birth is not unknowable, just unknown. This list contains 10 things that are unknowable in principle. Not only are they unknown now, they can never be known.
Keep Reading: Top 10 Unknowable Things.
- Top 10 Unknowable Things (listverse.com)
- Guitar Hero clone used to teach unknowable, subconscious passwords (joystiq.com)