Bring on the Apocalypse

23 June 2015

Zombies, aliens, nuclear fallout, cultish dystopias…


We’re obsessed with the apocalypse. Our obsession may be nothing more than a fad in the entertainment industry and byproducts a marketing scheme, but it’s still worthy of questioning. Perhaps we’re growing concerned for our dependent state in the first world? The disconnection from our food and resources makes us uncomfortable with our reliance on advanced systems. Perhaps it’s our lack of knowledge or skills in survival? AP Psychology has replaced woodshop in high schools. Our computerized cars are becoming less capable of DIY repairs. Or maybe we just like gory zombies?


Whatever the root for our obsession, I think we’re ready for the apocalypse. Our imaginations have worked to develop many possible scenarios for the world’s end. We’ve fantasized for countless hours about how we’d overcome them. Such a mental project could not leave us helpless.


Awareness implies safety.


This statement has obvious holes. Simply being aware of danger will not prevent it from happening. But awareness is the first step toward safety. Being aware of bears in a forest will help you take precautionary measures—stringing your food in trees, carrying bear spray, not walking alone at dusk—and could help mitigate the risk and increase your chances of survival. This implies safety.


In regards to the apocalypse, imagining how we’d interact with alien invasions helps us form strategies for if it came to fruition. Of course, implementation is more difficult than the plan in many cases, but the mental prep work is important. The ubiquitousness of apocalyptic media has more-or-less forced itself upon society’s mind. The influence of the media is a discussion for a separate field of study, but the mind work imposed upon society is useful. It is the hero’s mentality.


Heroes are often characterized by their imaginations. Their ability to mentally depict crises and how they’d act within them. By society depicting various apocalypses, we are preparing for one and imagining how we’d act within one. This pre-mortem technique is suggestive of positive future outcomes.


So keep fantasizing about dystopias—where you’d build a bunker, which weapons you’d construct, and how you’d help others—because being prepared is the basis for heroic behavior. When the situation arises, we’ll be ready to take action.


Enough with the zombie movies, bring on the real deal.