So, are you? It’s like asking, “are you afraid of genetically re-created dinosaurs? killer bees? monsters?” For most people, the answer is going to be yes to some – or perhaps all – of the above.
The thing is, thinking about the apocalypse is kind of different.
First, because it creates a question of what kind of apocalypse (philosophical? literal? flames and screaming?).
Second, it depends on your opinion of the world we live in and what would be ending. (Do you worry about your family? Do you love your career? Do you love the society and this world and everything just as it is now?)
Third, it depends on your view of the apocalypse – would it be a cathartic release from suffering, or just the beginning of suffering?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and indeed, particularly because it’s 2012. I’m not sure whether I’m someone prone to general panic or jumping from fear to fear; I would like to think not. And no, I don’t believe that the Mayan calender predicts the end of the world. But then again, nor did I believe the guy last year who predicted the end of the world would arrive in May. Still, some tiny part of me, perhaps the little part of me responsible for my being a fiction writer and indeed, possessing a bit of an overactive imagination, that little part of me wondered: what if he’s right? What if it really is the end of the world?
From here, I jump right into the second point, or rather my opinion of the world, which only snowballs the fear. Is our world perfect, or even my tiny part of it? No. But I think my opinion of the apocalypse has shifted now that I have children. Because it’s not so much myself that I worry about, but them. And I guess it’s a bit of a “it’s not fair that I got a normal childhood, I grew up, I had these things, and because of things out of my control, I can’t give them the same.”
Okay, so for 2012, I guess for me, it doesn’t depend on what kind of apocalypse, since I resist change. A lot. In fact, if given my druthers, I might live in an altered version of the 19th century (so in answer, no, I am not an advocate of the latest tech crap, nor a throwaway society). And my world may not be perfect, but better to stay with the known than blast off into the unknown which may be worse. (Nope, not a gambler either – I’d rather keep my $2 than gamble it to possibly win $10 – chances are better that I’ll probably lose and take home nothing). As for the third point, I’m not sure if it matters if the apocalypse is literal suffering, or just much more difficult than life is today. And while I may not embrace all forms of technology and convenience, there are a lot of conveniences of life that I do appreciate, and I’d certainly miss them.
I suppose the final point that I keep forgetting is not just the “what if” method, it’s also the pessimist / optimist outlook. A pessimist is probably going to go for all the worst, or at least not believe things could be better, whether there’s an apocalypse or not. Whereas perhaps an extreme optimist might think we could be lucky: the apocalypse could arrive, and rather than destroy us, it would lead us to a better, more functioning and successful society, more a la Star Trek where wars have ended or like the difference the Industrial Revolution wrought on the world and taking it out of the Dark Ages.
I’m a Gemini; I get to be both cynic and optimist, but lately, I’ve been feeling a bit more the cynic. Too few sunny days and too much time cooped up in the house, probably.
So, what about you? Are you afraid of the apocalypse? Why or why not.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.