I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of an end to the world or, more specifically, an “apocalypse.” As a child, I imagined the apocalypse as a spiritual battle between good and evil. I thought Revelation was one of the most badass books of the Bible. I loved reading about the different crazy visions the prophets had and diving into the symbolism of various numbers and things. Half of my family are committed Lutherans, so through going to church every Sunday and attending youth groups and bible studies, I became closely acquainted with the Biblical version of the apocalypse.
Back then, my fascination with this stuff was purely surface level. I thought angels and demons were cool. I loved the high-concept drama of it all and the pulpy high-stakes storylines. The other half of my family, who wasn’t religious, loved video games. It’s no coincidence that the Diablo series of computer games was a favorite of mine. I found the idea of doing battle against the worst demons in hell as appealing as ever. Angels would battle against demons, Jesus Christ would face off against Satan, and eventually, good would triumph over evil. All the Christians would go to heaven and live forever in bliss. Everyone else would burn in hell. Several video game iterations had you face off against the devil himself, slaying him in dramatic fashion to save the world. Everything turned on a dichotomy: there was a good group and an evil group. You were either one or the other.
As I grew up, I drifted a bit farther from the church, and my video game diet expanded. My politics shifted from a version of the Republican party steeped in religious dogma to a version of the Democratic party steeped in analytics. As I consumed more, I transitioned my thinking on this from a spiritual end to all things to a scientific one. The end of the world as a result of climate change became obvious to me as did an end to the world resulting from nuclear war, a scenario heavily influenced by my playing Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 at the time.
Consequently, I have always used the word “apocalypse” to mean a great end. There’s a finality to it partnered with this idea of a dichotomy: good vs. evil, nature vs. humanity, order vs. anarchy. I had an “Aha!” moment when I read that the word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apokálypsis, which most literally translates to “an uncovering.” I like that, an uncovering of what’s been there the whole time. Some might see it as a cleansing or a washing away, revealing something unseen. There’s a breaking down of what’s been around for a long time and a beginning of something new.
I’m sure I could pay a therapist a lot of money to diagnose why I’m fascinated with the end of the world. These past eight months have been unprecedented in a lot of ways, and it’s easy to feel alarmist about all of it: the pandemic, the election, the state of the world, the economy. All of humanity has seen better days, and as the cloud of Trump passes, it’s worth thinking about where we are headed and what you are mentally and physically ready for should it come.
For me personally, I guess anyone reading this should see this as a public stake in the ground. I’m here to write about the end of the world because it’s calming in a weird way. Maybe it lessens the trauma of real life for me or distracts me from the grievances shown on the news. If any of that resonates with you, I hope you join me on this journey.
Originally published at https://robertpotter.co on November 18, 2020.