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The apocalyptic fixation of the masses

Why are so many of us fascinated by the though that the world could end? To some, it is an exciting possibility, and to others, it is a fearful, inevitable reality approaching sooner and sooner with each passing day. Films such as "I Am Legend", "The Book of Eli", "The Road" and the "Mad Max" franchise all depict a war-torn, destroyed and desolate landscape in a variety of forms, but with common undertones of insanity, deprivation, ruthlessness, and desperation. Why are we drawn to such themes? And on a side note, could our fascination, on a global scale, bring about that same apocalypse like some sort of self fulfilling prophecy, like the ending of the film "Tomorrowland"?

  • I think part of it is the curiosity and fascination with understanding the world (e.g., how it got to be so bad, how are the survivors coping on a day-to-day basis). Beyond this there's some sort of purpose or mission that is introduced. A common one is there's a child that is immune to the disease that has massacred the world and now the protagonist has to get that child from A to B so that they can be studied for a cure. This serves a glimmer of hope in an otherwise messed up world. On top of this, the barriers that get in the way set up an against-all-odds situation. Maybe they need to traverse a fast flowing river or maybe there are roaming groups of bandits out to rob and kill them. These struggles get you rooting for the characters to succeed. Lastly, there's usually a redemption arc in there. The protagonist has usually lost their family and has become jaded and cynical about life. While they are technically surviving, they have lost a lot of what makes us human. Once purpose is reintroduced into their life they start to become human again, learning to love, care, and hope once again. – CAPSlock 5 years ago
  • Great topic! :) Is it to escape from our own reality? That people seek tragedy to begin to feel and let go of the numbness that many people feel in ther everyday life. People seek a new beginning a fresh start. – rghtin2be 5 years ago
  • This is a very good topic. One potential reason just speaking from my peer groups fascination as young kids with the apocalyptic world was its depictions of near lawlessness, almost a return to primal instinct and its allowance of doing what you want when you want. Maybe that carries on into the modern age with watching movies depict the conversations we'd indulge in as children about "what you'd do in a ____ apocalypse" – RBoileau 5 years ago
  • We live with many apocalyptic threats looming over our heads: resource depletion, environmental and ecological collapse, climate change, nuclear war, pollution, nanotechnology mishaps, the inevitability of a large asteroid or comet impacting the planet, and so on. It's understandable that people find some kind of catharsis in being able to visualize what an apocalypse or post-apocalypse may look like, and what to do in the event that such a thing occurs. – RyanVStewart 5 years ago