The popular apocalypse, ctd.

The apocalypse is among the most powerful of modern myths. But we hedge our bets on its severity. We never envision the complete annihilation of the human race. We imagine a dramatic reduction of our numbers, but paint a personal narrative of survival amongst the noble and capable few who entrust themselves with carrying forward the best humanity has to offer. In our perfect apocalypse we see not death and the end of the human era, but an opportunity for rebirth wherein like the phoenix we rise to new life and new potential. In our wildest fantasies, the apocalypse never means the end of times, it means a new beginning. Struck with denial about the consequences of human behavior since the industrial revolution, we choose to romanticize the end of life as we know it. Rather than behave differently to mitigate catastrophe, we persuade ourselves that we’re prepared to deal with the worst possible outcome. The reality, however, will not be anything of the sort. That the apocalypse could mean anything good for humanity, personally or collectively, is no less a fantasy than the myth of progress from which popular apocalypticism originally stems.