Why Do We Fantasize About The End of the World?

Every day, there seems to be another prediction on when and how the world will end. Maybe it will be destroyed by asteroids, or mankind will release numerous nuclear weapons and initiate the dreaded mutually assured destruction.  A zombie virus might break out, or global warming destroys the planets ability to sustain life.  The blood moon may signal the second coming of Christ. 

Ronald Weinland from the Church of God predicts that the world will end this coming June, by the second coming of Jesus. Although he has predicted this before in 2011, 2012 and 2013. And it never happened. For this reason, he has been called an “a serial doomsday crackpot”, but claims this time that “it will definitely happen on June 9, 2019”.

If that doesn’t destroy the world, Jean Dixon, a self-proclaimed psychic, has predicted that the world will end in the year 2020. But then again, She has previously predicted the worlds end in 1962.

If that fails, there are several predicted asteroid impacts in 2026, and even more, predicted in both 2035 and 2036.

Predictions

100’s, if not thousands of previous predictions of the world’s end have been made throughout history.  And yet, each one has come and gone.  After every prediction, the world has not ended. They were all wrong.

It seems strange that so many people want the world to end. Do they want to fight zombies or alien invaders? Do they want to experience the thrills of driving a heavily armed car around a post-apocalyptic radioactive wasteland? Do they really want the world to end?

The end of the world is a very common idea across many different human cultures going back thousands of years. Entire religions are based around the world’s end.

Capitalizing on Fear

People are even making money out of it. Feeding on people’s belief that the world will end.  A whole industry catering for the so-called “doomsday preppers” has emerged, selling survival kits, survival training, and long-lasting food. Even in New Zealand, wealthy individuals have started buying and building doomsday bunkers.

If you think fantasize about the idea of the world ending is limited to “crackpots” and “psychics”, you’d be wrong. We all do it to some degree. Just think about all the post-apocalyptic movies that have been made. Mad Max for example. The countless asteroids and world destitution scenario movies. And what about all the TV shows with zombies and aliens. Many have all been hits.

I, too, enjoy these movies and TV series too. My favourite being AMC’s the walking dead. “Previously, on AMC’s the Walking Dead”. Love that show!


Now forget everything above.

So, now I am going to ask you to ignore the prelude and only focus on what I have to say next. It’s important that you read the remainder of the post in its entirety! And really read it, don’t just skim.

As long as I have known, I have fantasies about the end of the world. Nearly on a daily basis. I want to experience the thrills that only the end of the world can provide. I’m not a weirdo or whack job. And I’m not the only one either!

Why do we like it so much?

Why do people, like myself, like the idea of the end of the world?

Hear me out.

There are certain aspects of the end of the world that are attractive to many people. There are a lot of good things in the idea of the end of the world.  

It provides certainty

The end of the world is something for us to look forward to. The end of the world provides certainty.  Our future might otherwise be unknowable. And a future that is not certain and unknown is more frightening and scary for us. A future where the end of the world is known and predicted isn’t as scary.

And you can prepare for the end of the world.

It’s much harder to prepare for an unknown future where anything could happen. How can you prepare for something that you don’t know about? It’s easy to prepare for the end of the world. There are many books and people who will go out of their way to prepare you for the end of the world.

Secret knowledge.

Knowing about the end of the world means you are in the position of secret knowledge. You get to be apart of a group of elite people who know about the end of the world. So you won’t be alone when it happens for you. You will make a friend as you prepare.

Only a chosen few, or a select group of people who choose to believe, are privy to this secret knowledge of the end of the world.  The feeling of knowing what others don’t is empowering on many levels.

No Worries

If the end of the world is going to happen, then you have nothing to worry about. Who cares about those upcoming bill. Or going to work. Sitting in traffic. If the end of the world is going to happen, you don’t have to worry about these. Because you know that eventually, you won’t have to deal with them anymore.

The end of the world will release us from many of life’s stresses. It will force us to prioritize spending time on the things we love and enjoy, over spending time on the things we don’t.

The end of the world will be the solution to many of our problems and release us from our worries.  It will make you a happier and more rounded person.

The end of the world is Nigh

But the end of the world won’t happen on its own.

It may feel near for some people thought. But if it is to happen for you, you will need to prepare for it. If you don’t prepare, it will never happen.

And if you don’t believe, you can always count on the world still being here. Everything will continue as it always has. You can spend hours in traffic. Spend all your money in the weekend to try to escape reality, while returning to your job on Monday.

But, as long as there are still people on this planet, there will always be someone predicting their own “the end of the world”. You may think that they are crazy and that it will never happen for them. They could’ve predicted it several times, and it never comes to fruition.

This is another good thing about predicting when the end of the world will happen for you. That is, if it doesn’t happen when you predict it to, then you always get another shot at predicting it.

Am I crazy?

By this point, you might think I am crazy. And that is by design. Predicting the end of the world. Fantasizing about the end of the world. Telling you that you need to prepare for the end of the world.

But I suggest you go back and replace “the end of the world” with “Financial Independence and Retiring early”. (Forget the prelude, those people are actually predicting the end of the world)

Now, am I that crazy?

There are many similarities between the end of the world and financial independence. And that is possibly one of the reasons why people resonate with either of them. They both give us a future to look forward to. Filled with certainty and less stress. Giving us something to work towards.

I don’t think the world will end anytime soon, but I do think that eventually I will be financially independent and retire early.


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12 thoughts on “Why Do We Fantasize About The End of the World?”

  1. I have been sitting in the middle of this Venn diagram (FIRE and PREPPING) for a long time, waiting for others to join. I do not understand the reluctance to notice the similarities between these two concepts. I embrace them both whole heartedly. Really liked your post.

    Reply
  2. I do love the Walking Dead and most all novels and movies that are apocalyptic! I think in part because there are no rules, survival is all that matters and so you can imagine being that Rick or Daryl who holds off impossible odds and judges others’ usefulness by “how many have you killed?”. At least until your number is up!

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  3. When the world ends, for example by asteroids crashing into Earth as you suggested, or by a worldwide infectious disease, some people will survive. These people will move forward with life, figuring out how to survive and thrive as they go.

    A couple of my favorite books include “Station 11” by Emily St. John Mandel; and an oldie (written in 1949, but real enough for today), “The Earth Abides” by George R. Stewart.

    Like the characters in post-apocalyptic stories who learn that life goes on after the end of the world, those in the FIRE movement learn to move on with their lives, finding meaning and purpose once they have reached their FIRE number. Life continues – figure out what you will do the day after.

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  4. One day, I am going to die. That is true for everyone. What difference does it make if we all die on the same day? We will all be dead and it won’t be headline news. That has always been my opinion about the topic.

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  5. Hah, great post Rohan. Wondered where you were going and boom – that ending was perfect. One way I like to look at things is that there are pearls of wisdom in all philosophy, you don’t have to agree with any one philosophy, but discounting it entirely is silly.

    Preppers(end of the world survivalist types) prepare for their worst fantasy. From this we can at least observe the ambition behind preparedness for any situation, and drive to put means in place to minimize the harm it will do to you and yours. Same can be said of preparing financially. We do this financially, and have canned food and barrels of water(just in case there’s a need for it, and there has been once!). Doesn’t hurt to have it there, just in case.

    On the same note regarding philosophy(without hijacking this comments section). Stoicism teaches us how to act in the face of challenge & difficulty, but should we also observe stoicism in the case of loss and tragedy? If we did we’d be callous as a people. This can also be applied to finances -ignoring our health, and quality of life can impact ourselves and loved ones, but overreacting in the face of a tribulation or not reacting enough to a market swing will also have a negative impacts.

    Whew – sorry for the tangent, just on a walk and been thinking about this stuff. Had to sit down to pump that comment out. Thanks for the great article.

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