Apocalyptic Fears

There has always been a fascination with the idea of the apocalypse and what that will look like. Today, we see a movies and stories on how a Zombie apocalypse will happen, that is the undead walk the earth looking for live humans to infect. So, the idea is a virus, or disease, had infected a human who infect other humans, resulting in a worldwide epidemic to a survival of the human race. This is not the only apocalyptic view that people have wondered about. Throughout this blog I will illustrate the different ways in which people have imagined how the apocalypse will occur and the fear that takes hold to these ideas.

One view of the apocalypse that was popular during the mid-to-late 1900s was that a nuclear warfare would take place, resulting in the destruction of the earth. People were terribly frightened that the world was going to end because of the creation of Atomic Bombs. Cities were destroyed and many lives were devastated because of these acts of horror, and because it was so real, fear took hold of the minds of many. Thus, books and films were made to capitalize on this fear, to create an imaginary world after a chemical warfare. An example is the film, Book of Eli, in which the earth was scorched and in desolation because of a world war. The characters live in what looks to be a desert ruin, scarce food and minimal water cause many to resort to robbery and murder.[1] This film shows the imaginative world in a post-war setting. While some might not think this is a valid outcome, this work of fiction can trigger fear in the lives of many just by the mere thought of it.

Another view to examine is the fear of an extra terrestrial invasion. During the eve of Halloween October 30, 1938, Orson Welles, famous theatre director and radio actor, broadcasted a drama of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds in what seemed like a serious news broadcast. The whole radio broadcast was only a dramatization, but the fear and panic of what could be a real Martian invasion caused thousands to tremble and some to end their own life.[2] People were enraged by this fake news broadcast. This is a real life example of how fear can impact the irrationality of emotion. The mind is able to play a role in manipulation of what is real or not. This example shows how one can take a simple act of trickery and impact the lives of many into believing something that is clearly fiction.

Throughout history, we see how people can plant the seed of manipulation and let the mind come up with its own agenda through fear. Is a Zombie apocalypse possible? No. However, it links closely with real life issues. For example diseases have always been a threat to populations. The Black Death was a disease in the 1300s that killed nearly one-third of Europe’s population.[3] Disease is nature’s way of reducing the population, and as a Zombie apocalypse is fictional, the idea of diseases is not.

It is scary to think how far our minds will go into believing certain things, but we must keep our thoughts at bay as to what is true and false. People can play a manipulation game with our minds, but it’s our job to straighten it out into right and wrong. It’s hard to say what kind of apocalypse is more possible than others, if any is possible, but fear is the major tool in capturing attention to these ideas. If someone has the power of manipulation and force fear on others, then it’s hard to say what kind of world epidemic could come of such power. One reason why these people are attracted to these fictional ideas, is not only because it’s based off of something slightly true (like disease is to Zombie), but also because some people want to feel the fear and excitement of a need for survival, to prove that they have what it takes to survive. For example, people don’t watch scary movies because people die, but because they want to feel the fear and live vicariously through the characters. Keeping straight what is real and fiction is key to not being manipulated into letting fear take control.

[1] The Book of Eli. Dir. Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes. Prod. Joel Silver and Denzel Washington. By Gary Whitta. Perf. Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and Mila Kunis. Warner Bros., 2010. DVD.

[2] War of the Worlds. Orson Welles. American Experience. PBS, Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

[3] “Black Death.” History.com. A+E Networks, Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

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