Apr 14, 2012

M is for ... Morality Evolution & the Apocalypse

I cannot testify to the ridiculousness of this subject, but it's been on my mind and times well with A to Z letter M, so I'm tossing it out there. As a life-long weirdo, I feel qualified to babble about it.

It used to be a lot harder to be unabashedly weird in small-town USA.  It's not exactly easy now, but it's a lot easier to be yourself when you can find like-minded support online.

The internet has also expanded what Average Joe is exposed to--like a small-scale version of mind-broadening you get from world-travel. Even if it's simply exposure to different cultures, if it hasn't made people more accepting, it's at least made them aware of/more used to exposure to cultural differences.

Morality is always evolving, I know that, but I think this mind-broadening influence is speeding up the process.

Which brings me to the Apocalypse. Or actually the fascination with an Apocalyptic future. I feel like the two are related. Like all this doomydoom we're drawn to in movies and fiction is an unintentional metaphor. That it isn't really about melting ice caps, pollution or the super volcano under Yellowstone... it's about the evolution(or death) of the traditional Judeo-Christian culture.

That's what I like about the apocalyptic theme, at least--the complete upending of society and pole-shift in ethics after disaster. Zombie movies, for instance: Sure, there are mobile, possibly supernatural, diseased dead-cannibals roaming about eating people, but that's not the best part of movies like Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead(tv).

I think the theory holds true for other types of apocalyptic entertainment: The Terminator, The Book of Eli, The Stand, The Matrix Trilogy... It's like six in the a.m. and my brain is still a bit sleep-fuzzy, so I'm not coming up with lots of examples.

Anyway, thoughts? Disagree? Think I must have had a weird dream to prompt this? :D

10 comments:

  1. Umm... you know that the Apocalypse IS connected to Christianity because the concept (end of the world, ethics shift) comes directly from the book of Revelations, right? LOL. It's never been supposed to be about melting ice caps, etc. -- that's just extra stuff Hollywood has thrown in to make the concept of the end of the world interesting to the general public. The actual Apocalypse, what it means for humanity, and the shifts taking place, are all directly taken from Revelations. :)

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    1. I think I wasn't being clear at 6am when I wrote this :) I know about the Christian concept of Apocalypse, and I have read Revelations, but that's not what I'm talking about. Not everyone believes in the biblical concept of Apocalypse, though I guess you could argue that we're culturally wired to fixate on apocalyptic themea, regardless of religious inclination or current society.

      Mostly, my thinking is tied to the times historically when apocalyptic cults have surged. These tend to get big/popular during times of upheaval and change. Currently, I'm wondering if fear and anger stemming from a rapidly shifting moral baseline is leading to fascination with Apocalyptic themes(change can sometimes feel like the end of the world). If, where in the past it might have lead people to apocalyptic religious teachings, now leads them to exploring the concept through alternate narratives.

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  2. I think you're right - we as a culture tend to act out our biggest fears through literature and film. Wasn't it during the cold war period that all the old sci-fi B movies and comics were so popular? Fear of nuclear science = Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Today, increasing political upheaval and a world that is more connected and yet more divided than ever = dystopian worlds, evil governments, and the literal end of the world.

    Nice insight Amalie! (And way to make me think on a Saturday morning...) :P

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    1. Oh political climate definitely has a lot to do with it too. I've never actually watched the 50 Foot Woman, or very many old movies. At least, outside of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 mindset. Robinson Crusoe on Mars? That is chock full of MST3K awesomeness, so I watched that!

      Now I want to watch old 50s movies to see how they rolled, if any of them got into the devolution of humanity or collapse of society like they do in the current eras of fiction.

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  3. Hello, Amalie! Humans are obsessed with mortality and catastrophes and disasters of all kinds probably because it often can't be explained conclusively. So it makes total sense that what's going on in our world would influence the books we're writing and reading and movies we're making and watching.

    Hope you're having a great weekend and happy A to Z!!

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    1. That's true, but now that Jessica brought it up, I'm wondering... did any of the other catastrophe-themed entertainment focus on the after effects or were they all the lead up to end of world.

      it's all very interesting to me :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. As long as there is still a Target and a Starbucks on every corner after the Apocalypse, I think I will be okay with it. :o)

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    1. The wonders of the civilized world! :D

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  5. Hey there, Good post today. I like this thoughtul side of you too just as much as I like the silly side. I remember back in the 80's something was going on, or maybe Nostradamous predictd it, and my sister thought that the world was gonna end. She whole heartedly believed it and as end day came closer, she turned into this big gushy, apologetic ball of love, instead of the "I could give a shit" 18 year old she actually was. PS absolutely loved the book the Stand. Just as much about character and morality as the end of the world.
    -Debbie

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    1. I'd like to say I like to keep people guessing, but really I can't keep to any schedule :)

      I remember when there was some kind of doomy thing in the 80s! Gotta love temporarily awesome sisters! I have no idea what it was about or when... but I do remember when the New Madrid fault was supposed to have a big earthquake and DIDN'T. Mostly, I remember because my mom had bought a truckload of long-necked glass gallon-jugs somewhere... and we had to fill them all with water and stash in the cellar . . . JUST INCASE!

      I never read The Stand, but I watched the miniseries a couple times! It really is a fantastic story, love how he explored both sides of that character/morality coin.

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