Art After the End of the World

Cave men painted pictures on cave walls. Oral tradition was the primary form of history for many cultures before development of written languages. The creation of art seems to be such an integral part of being human, that I don’t think even the apocalypse could change that.

What about art makes it so necessary? What forms would it survive in?

I’ve spent a lot of blogs contemplating things like basic survival, some family dynamics, zombies, and causes of the apocalypse, so art may seem like kind of a strange thing to consider. Then again, perhaps it could make survival more bearable, or indeed mark and create a new history for mankind.

What is art good for? It’s expression of the inner human in exterior form that may then be shared, whether through song, dance, story, painting, you name it. I think too it’s an important way to sort of say “I was here,” to establish a kind of immortality or legacy. It can help connect us with one another through the shared experience of it, either in creation or enjoyment thereof. Perhaps because I’m a writer, I believe it’s a way for us to connect with an eternal human story, through whatever our actions and history bring us.

Dogon Cave Painting, Source:

I started thinking about the idea more as I read a fellow blog where the idea of the storyteller as character was significant. I thought more about it as I considered all the things we take for granted that could be wiped out with the rest of the world, like our ability to access things like art in its many forms.

The way I see it is thus: after the initial cause of the world, in the immediate aftermath, basic survival will, of course, be paramount. This may include a lot of fleeing, searching for food, shelter, or fighting off hoards of bad guys / those after world power / whatever caused the apocalypse in the first place. But then, eventually things have to settle down a bit, and beyond the basics, isn’t something more for survival to be worth it? Art is a way to improve the quality of life, even if just whistling a tune to make work pass, or for those with artistic natures, express those natures through color, movement, words, whatever form they choose.

Then, too, art can create connections between people, which will likewise become even more vital in an end of the world scenario when who you know isn’t just going to get you ahead in your career, but may mean the difference between subsistence living or starvation. By sharing a story or song around the campfire, painting pictures and the story of apocalyptic survival in stick-men on the stone walls, we share in the experience and can likewise pass it down to our progeny (likewise necessary if humanity stands a chance).

And to create art, I don’t think you have to be Van Gogh or Beethoven. Certainly, some are better at it than others, but what’s really required is the desire to create, something which I think all humans share in, to lesser or greater extent.

So, hum that tune, put a bit of dance in your step, even if you are foraging for berries or putting the finishing touches on your anti-zombie fence. Perhaps it will help ensure the chances of survival for us all. Don’t you think?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.


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