According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of an apocalypse is- a great disaster : a sudden and very bad event that causes much fear, loss, or destruction.
Just gives you the warm, radioactive fuzzies doesn’t it?
The apocalyptic/disaster concept is one of the most popular themes that you can find on both the small and big screen. When it comes to what type of disaster, there is a huge list to choose from. Whether you tune in to shows like The Walking Dead, see Alice kick ass in the Resident Evil franchise, or watch the world fall to a natural disaster like in The Day After Tomorrow, many of us love to watch the end of civilization as we know it.
So, why is that?
For me, I love the terror of the situation. We are not talking JUST a bad storm, or JUST an isolated virus. It’s the idea that everything we knew, everything that allowed us to feel “safe”, is gone. It’s an adrenaline rush, much the same way that a good horror can scare you out of your seat. To be honest though, it’s easy for me to say this from the comfort of my living room or a movie theatre. Chances are if there was a real apocalypse, I would probably be one of the first to go. 😉
Yeah, I’d be the red shirt.
These stories typically play on the idea that humanity can survive anything; zombies, nuclear holocaust, the T-virus, you name it. We watch because we want to believe that if the world went sideways, we could still come out of it. We would as a species, survive and adapt.
They don’t really give us a “happy ending” though. Some do paint a picture where the heroes survive this new world (such as in the movie Deep Impact). Others end on more of a somber note (such as The Walking Dead, a world where it becomes every man for himself and the walkers are the least of your worries). Then you have ones like the movie Melancholia (not a “typical” apocalyptic movie), and well….it was nice to know ya.
So is the view that we would survive a sign of optimism? While many of these disaster scenarios are due to our own making (playing God with science, global warming and so on), don’t we ultimately learn our lesson, the chosen few survive, and we continue on in this brave, new world?
OR is it actually narcissism? After all, we humans do see ourselves as the top of the food chain. OF COURSE we would survive.
I would like to think that I am an optimist. If tomorrow was “the end”, mankind would somehow survive, we would carry on and eventually rebuild something resembling a society. That said, the cynic in me believes that humans are narcissistic and that the Earth would be just fine without us. If an event, natural or man-made, wipes the planet clean of us, oh well. Ever watch the show Life After People? While there is some concern about how the planet would adjust without us in it (who knew that leaving a nuclear plant unattended could be bad), life here would eventually move on.
So which side of me ultimately wins out in this debate? Well, it depends on my mood. Right now, the cynic seems to be holding favour, though that may come from watching The Walking Dead, which is doing nothing to maintain my hope for humanity . 😉
What about you my dear reader? Do you like the apocalyptic theme in shows and movies? Would you have what it takes to survive? Am I curious to know.
Until next time…..
…..if there is a next time……
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