Last year’s Mayan calendar saga aside, it would seem that we, the people of Earth, are kind of secretly hoping for an apocalypse, or a little bit of “end of the world as we know it”.
It is said that fiction (specifically movies and TV) reflect the psychology and fears of the population at the time – which is why films in the 1950’s and 60’s had so many storylines dealing with disfigured people, nuclear wastelands and alien invasion because at the time, those were the big fears.
Interestingly though, it would appear that things have taken a rather more bizarre turn – is it possible we’ve moved from fear of an apocalypse to a feeling of enjoyment at the idea of one? Even secretly hoping for one?! Did some people not get almost TOO excited at the idea of the Mayan predictions coming to pass?
Proof in the Media
There is currently a slew of TV series with differing but almost identical themes, all running concurrently, and they happen to be some of the (if not THE) most popular series. What does this say about our collective psychology?
It hit me last night as I was watching an episode of “The Walking Dead”. For those that don’t know the series, “The Walking Dead” (currently in its third season) follows a group of unlikely people who have survived the global zombie apocalypse. It’s a story of basic human survival set against a backdrop of the collapsed and crumbling modern day world.
Then there is “Revolution”, a series currently in its first season, which follows an unlikely group of people who’ve survived the aftermath of a mysterious global blackout that has knocked out every single thing that uses electricity to run – from lights to cars, computers, machines, phones and aeroplanes. It is a story of basic human survival set against a backdrop of the collapsed and crumbling modern world (sound familiar?)
“Falling Skies” on the other hand, is set 6 months after a devastating Alien Invasion, and follows the lives of a group of unlikely people who…… bla bla basic human survivial…. bla bla collapsed and crumbling modern world (seeing a thread?)
I have listed only three of the many extremely popular TV series, movies, comics and books dealing with a world where everything we have ever known has been taken away from us and we need to go back to basics.
Why the sudden need for an Apocalypse?
Theory number one is that we all just love melo-drama. Oh, how we love telling people that: “I was actually just down the road when [insert tragic event] happened. I actually saw the[insert visual of tragic event] and actually had to [insert what I did as a result of being so close to tragic event]…” We loooove drama. And wouldn’t a global apocalypse be just the greatest drama? Imagine being a part of THAT?
Bring on the meteors, flesh eating viruses, powercuts, invaders, the undead, the almost dead and Celebrity Big Brother.
Theory number two I think it slightly more interesting. Could it be possible that we have actually become so dependant on our current way of life (a way of life that has only been shoved onto us in the last 20 years of a possible million year evolutionary cycle) that we actually yearn for a simpler time?
In the last 20 years, thanks to technology, the world has changed utterly and completely and it’s happened so quickly that we haven’t even had a chance to stop for a second and take notice. Some of us aren’t old enough to remember a time when photos had to be developed and physically printed out, arrangements were made in advance because there were no cell-phones and when the only screen to look at was your TV with 3 channels which turned off at midnight. And who remembers cursive handwriting….
Would we even survive without our laptops, cell-phones, MP3 players, microwaves, digital cameras, internet, spellchecks and central heating?
When last did you actually stop and think. I mean just think……..
I know that when most of us have even a moment to ourselves, like sitting on a train, waiting at a bus stop, waiting for a friend, walking down the road or even sitting on the frikken toilet, we need to be entertained.
We cannot spend even the smallest amount of time with our own thoughts, we’re bored, we need something to do, to distract us. And the world provides – whip out your phone – send a text, browse the net, play a game, no need to actually “think” for too long about the Birds, or why they are so Angry.
Remember a time when standing at a bus stop meant you actually just had to stand there and do nothing? Think about things…… Who wants to, right?
Maybe we all do. Maybe the idea of an apocalypse is so appealing because it means that we can all give up the technology and go back to basics. None of us would admit it of course, but do we secretly long for a world of real human interaction, spending time outdoors, writing letters, exploring….. and thinking…. ?
Or maybe, theory three, we just love the idea of being one of the last men or woman alive and our sexy co-survivor (VERY sexy, if TV is to be believed) wouldn’t have a choice but to sleep with us.
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