Following on from my last couple of Apocalyptic posts I started to ask myself whether our obsession with the end of the world goes even further than the fact that it highlights and personifies dangers in the world around us.
I found myself coming to the conclusion that it is just possible that part of our fascination is tied up with a secret desire for it to happen. Yes, this kind of sounds crazy – who wants to be thrown back to a pre-Industrialised age, overrun with zombies, triffids, aliens, disease, etc. but there are definitely some points to be made.
End to World Problems
Checking out the news can make you want to check out of reality. There often seems no end to the things out there we could, and possibly should, be worrying about. Things going on in other countries and global issues play on our collective minds no matter how little we can do to contribute to any kind of change.
Many of these issues will cease to exist, or at the very least, we will no longer know about them. You never see post-apocalyptic movies where people are wondering about the fate of other countries, because the problems of the world have now been reduced to the problems of your world, your immediate situation and area. We can hope however, that war will grind to a halt as infrastructures on both sides collapse, and though pockets of fighting might still continue – the level of destruction will eventually decline, especially once rearmament becomes impossible. Lack of ammo, and for the vast majority of us, a huge lack of any kind of survival/military/defensive training will bring a whole other set of problems. But what doesn’t kill us…
End to Your Problems
We already play our own little survival game – work, earn money, buy food, pay rent. We all, in our own ways struggle to survive life, maybe not in the same raw and life protecting way we might should zombies be around. But even so, life can be hard work, and doing something that seems as simple as earning money and paying rent is actually far from it. We all moan about life – having to work, not being able to work doing what we love, not having enough money, the disparity of the classes, crap politicians, deceptive media. The list can go on forever.
We spend so much time worrying about and being effected by things we are not in a position to have a massive effect on (wages, rent, tax, to name a few), but in the post-apocalyptic world nourishment and safety will be the prime concerns.
After the apocalypse the chances are you will still have the same basic tasks – staying alive by eating and having somewhere safe to live – but you will no longer have to do this by working in a cubicle with a phone-headset strapped to your head, trying to make quota. For those in crappy employment the thought of using kitchen implements to kill zombies rather than flip burgers might be appealing. Even those in comfortable jobs have days they would rather be scavenging for food amongst bombed out supermarkets or learning how to raise chickens, than having to put in 9 – 5 in a big grey building. No bills, no peer pressure, no conformity, no putting on a bloody happy face, no politicians, no tax. An effective end to everything in your life you ever worried about – which will of course be replaced by a whole new set of worries, but at least they might feel a bit more under your control, more immediate.
Correcting Your Lifestyle
Few of us have the kind of healthy life balance that our bodies are built for. Whether that be poor diet, lack of exercise, or even straining our bodies with over exercise. The problem with the human body is that it has not evolved as fast as we have culturally, so whilst we may sit at our computers and enjoy our book learning, our bodies struggle with carpal tunnel and tennis elbow. It also struggles with the manufactured foods that it hasn’t really evolved to cope with. Even foods we would consider healthy often give our digestive systems a battering, because although we are in the technological age, our bodies are still struggling out of the Stone Age. Being forced back into a hunter-gatherer diet, with perhaps minimal agriculture depending on the exact apocalypse, will force us back into the best diet for our bodies – including most likely cutting out overeating – though this may depend on whether you end up zombified.
Is it really worth it?
Perhaps we can allow that a return to a more basic way of life could be better for our bodies, our mental health and perhaps society as a whole, but is it worth the pay off. If the trade for this change in life style is to constantly be on the run from zombies, aliens or irradiated mutant neighbours, would you still be up for it?
The chances are, yes. If the apocalypse happened tomorrow and it involved no immediate foe as a result, some people might even feel robbed. Because along with the sensible reasons above, there are also the not so sensible. Having a foe around or some kind of visceral daily grind allows for many things from guilt-free violence and looting to simply giving a previously meaningless life meaning – much like Gary King at the end of The World’s End.