You want to know why I enjoy apocalyptic fiction?
I’m sure you do.
It’s because petty bullshit goes away when faced with the apocalypse. When trying to survive the destruction of humankind, there is less room for people to be obsessed with things.
Should we eat bacon!?
Sure. Because we’ll probably be dead by tomorrow anyway!
Should we eat sugar?
See answer above.
What about breastfeeding?
Oh, well that is a cheap way to feed your baby… but why the hell are you having babies anyway?! We’re all going to die!
Seriously. The amount of time, angst, judgement, and other mostly negative interactions that people have with one another would entirely disappear if the apocalypse faced us.
Maybe that’s why people like to read, write, and discuss the end of humankind. There is an awful lot of that, and it has been around for quite some time. Top of my head, the oldest reference I know of is Revelations, though I am sure there are earlier references. Just taking it from the New Testament, that is a good couple of centuries.
Now, it is all about zombies. Zombies, zombies everywhere. And the killing of zombies. And the surviving from being killed by zombies.
The eventual doom of humans.
Why the fascination?
I really do think it has to do with the exploration of stripping away all the excess and taking a good look at the bare bones.
Sometimes those bare bones are pretty stark indeed. I am thinking of Cormac McCarthy’s Road. That book is the epitome of bleak… but no one is talking about breast is best or whether or not bacon will kill you.
I don’t really care about the bacon thing. I am one of the few people in the world that doesn’t like bacon. The breastfeeding thing is a particular point for me, but that is probably best left for another post. Those really are just two examples in a huge amount of examples that show off our privileged lives; lives that allow us the room and ability to care so much and be so vehement about views that have nothing to do with making it through the day.
I am not advocating the end of the world, at least not today, but it is an interesting thought exercises.
What would you care about if faced with the end of humankind?