Okay, I’ll admit, the title of the article sounds a bit facetious. But in fact, I propose that the “end of the world as we know it” may not, in fact, actually be the end of the world, but merely a new beginning.
I’m sure we’ve all read or seen at least one book or one movie that offers some vision of the future – Back the Future, Terminator, The Road, — and all you have to do is turn on the TV to hear how horrible things are, how much worse they continue to get, how we’re creating the end of the world as we speak. It’s depressing, and possibly true.
A few years back, this got me thinking: are things really as bad as we think they are, and are we really nearing the end of the world? (I mean, obviously this would impact just what I wanted to plan for near or long term life plans, right? J)
Anyway, I started doing a bit of research. Along with some really depressing books, I came across two:
Both authors got me thinking[i]. They reminded me that essentially every civilization has had some kind of end-time vision / idea, whether you’re looking at ancient Mayans and Egyptians to Christian and biblical theory. They also reminded me — Dark in particular – that there are very different ideas about what, precisely, an apocalypse is. Perhaps an apocalypse could be an idea, or the revelation of a truth, and in this matter destroy the world. Perhaps we experience the “end of the world as we know it” all the time, and it doesn’t particularly bother us.
Think of it this way: I just had a baby, and before I did, I feared that having a child would destroy life as I know it. Did the baby do so? Yes. The baby is (as much as I love her) an apocalypse. It doesn’t mean my life is over, but merely forever altered and requiring a new beginning, a new understanding. As a broader example, consider what a shift in ideas and thought it required when it was confirmed the world really was round, not flat as had been previously assumed. This too was apocalyptic.
This brings us back to the apocalyptic visions in movies and books, and as I watched and considered these, the truth still works even if you look at the world as you know it literally coming to an end: it requires a shift in understanding, in action, but life itself continues (well, in most cases at any rate).
I’m not sure I’d consider myself an optimist, but it’s too depressing to consider a world completely devoid of hope. Therefore, even in the darkest visions of the future (provided more than cockroaches have survived) hope must still exist. Where does the hope lie if most of humanity has been wiped out by war, disease, environmental disaster or all of the above? It lies in the humans themselves, in the fight for a future – why bother fighting if you don’t hope things will or can get better? And if you’re still alive, isn’t that something worth fighting for? Isn’t that hope for the continued existence of humanity all together? Even in the darkest future visions, the ending only brings about a new beginning.
Hope I didn’t lose you along the way, but that’s my explanation of why the end of the world might not be so bad. I could, of course, be wrong, and I’m one of the first gone come the apocalypse. Maybe humanity will be completely wiped out. However, even in such a case I stubbornly insist there’s still hope: for the earth recovering once we’re gone, or perhaps for the cockroaches if they’re all that survived – they finally rule the world. Either way, I hope this blog provides a new idea to you: perhaps you just survived an apocalypse of your own, and you’re still here, so no matter how bad the news is on TV, you might just survive the next one, too. An ending brings about a new beginning.
Have you just survived your own apocalypse? Do you think the end of the world might not be so bad, or am I completely wrong? Please, leave your comments and get thinking!
[i] Please note, I have no affiliation with these authors or books other than happening upon them at the library and being intrigued by the ideas therein. I have provided links merely to allow you to likewise check them out in more detail if you’re interested.