Destruction Theories and Popular Culture

Are we tired of Living?

Judgement Day, The End of the world, Apocalypse, whatever be the nomenclature destruction theories have existed from time immemorial. Religions, cultures and races all embrace the concept with disturbing enthusiasm. Atleast in days of old the destruction of the world was still spoken of something likely to happen far into the future. An End was inevitable, but all those who preached it lived comfortably with the thought that they would be long gone by the time it chanced to occur, by when it would be someone else’s problem.

Now however people, and the youth especially, are over eager to believe in ancient and vague predictions which predict the end of the world as we know it, literally or metaphorically. The morbid fascination of recent generations with large-scale destruction and disintegration of society can be seen through countless highly grossing and often critically acclaimed films such as The Day After Tomorrow, Terminator, Artificial Intelligence, War of the Worlds, Total Recall, On the Beach, Akira, Battle Royale, Ghost in the Shell, Serenity, Twelve Monkeys, The Matrix, and most recently 2012. Dystopian novels, graphic novels and movies are on the rise, which see no future for man save either complete social breakdown or an apocalyptic future. Ridiculously old and arbitrary predictions are taken seriously not because the sources are deemed particularly trustworthy, (indeed countless such destruction theories in the past have proven to be mere hogwash, in the event of the fact that we are still alive today) but rather because people want the predictions to come true. People rather seem to want the day of complete annihilation to arrive and to experience the excitement of it in their own lives, an ironical wish considering there won’t be much of that life left afterwards.

Many Psychologists have argued that the rise of dystopian (as opposed to utopian) theories, i.e. bleak pessimistic theories which see anarchy and destruction as the only future for mankind, is a direct result of the depression felt after witnessing the barbaric uses science and technology, the epitome of human progress, has been put to. The most pessimistic and cynical literature for example came from Japan after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Similarly after the World Wars there was a back lash of dystopian science fiction and after the recent concern over excessive global warming came the movie The Day After Tomorrow, which began with the scenario that there was snow in Delhi due to the warped weather conditions caused by Global Warming and ended with, you guessed it, total destruction. Again after the announcement of the experiment to simulate the Big Bang in 2008 a string of emails, websites and newspaper stories discussed the possible destruction of the world due to a ‘black hole’ the Collider may generate. As it stands the experiment was delayed and is now scheduled for 2012, the very year the famous Mayan Long Count Calendar ends at and which has sparked the latest End of World debates, even going so far as to inspire the latest sci-fi release 2012.

So perhaps it really is us getting wary of science and its consequences. Perhaps we have finally realized that humans are now speeding down a steady path of self destruction from which it would be impossible to turn back, so that a sudden and large scale destruction of the world might indeed be more palatable than a slow but steady decline.

On the other hand one could argue that it is simply a lot of people who are very bored with an increasingly clockwork existence who are forced to indulge in these imminent destruction theories so that atleast the portion of their lives between now and the destruction date seems slightly more worth living. Daily frustrations seem unimportant when we believe that the institutions causing our problems will soon be wiped off the face of the earth. Exams aren’t so irksome when you can imagine your examiner’s face blown into smithereens. Losses don’t matter at a time when everyone’s going to lose their lives in one big gala party!

In other words with the finality of Doomsday around the corner, life, or whatever is left of it, seems to get interesting again. It’s only a greatly messed up generation which needs to look forward to a doomsday to be infused with the enthusiasm to live through daily lackluster life. Worse still the promised apocalypse is probably not even going to happen, leaving our generation even more disillusioned than before.

So it’s best to pull out of this morbid comfort group before you get in too deep. Deal with the thought that the world is not going to end. That terrible though it may sound you shall live through it. Just enjoy the dystopian movies for their special effects, eat a chocolate when depressed and bung yourself out of the window if you can’t stand classes anymore. Whatever you do, for God’s sake (he did put in a lot of effort creating it after all) stop wishing for the world to end. The world has enough problems as it is.



Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *