Humans seem to have a paranoid fascination with our own demise. Aside from the doomsday predictions like that for today, there’s numerous movies. They show our fears and sometimes the realisation of the most destructive elements embodied by our species: social, environmental, behavioural, political. Some of them are propaganda for some form of dictatorial political dominance.
Some of the causes come from out of space – though often these are a metaphor for the war within the planet: cold war (alien invasion movies for and against the cold war or McCarthyism), justifications for US imperialism (Independence Day). Some are the result of human created viruses: creating rampant rage, zombies, and other monstrous things. Some are the results of human created machines or computers taking over (Terminator films). And some are the result of climate change, with the world reaching a tipping point followed by a collapse of the natural world (The Day After Tomorrow).
Climate collapse as the result of climate change is more likely to be a long descent than sudden collapse of the eco-system. But this is too political progressive for many, and involves preparing now by changing our lifestyles. Too many apocalyptic moves put the blame on others: beyond individual, political or state control. In contrast, Bill’s post from yesterday gives some more realistic tips on how to adapt to and prepare for the impact of climate change.
One of my favourite apocalyptic movies is Children oi Men. There is a commentary by Zizek on the DVD, explaining the movie as portraying the collapse of capitalism. In the movie human society collapses because women are no longer able to conceive children. You need to adjust yourself to Zizek’s odd shlishing style of speech to watch the video where he explains the poltiical meanings in the background of the movie.
Naming today as the end of the world, is based on predictions related to the Mayan calender. Some say it is going to be the end of the world, others that it is the beginning of a new era. Apocalypse tourism is enabling tourists are flocking to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. But in Guatemala, Mayans themselves are not panicking. Al Jazeera has a video report providing a thumbnail sketch of the survivors of a once highly advanced civilisation: now living nearer to subsistence level, sensitive to their relationship with nature, and planning hopefully for the future.