Monthly Archives: May 2012

Zen and the Apocalypse

The multitude of movies and books about the apocalypse indicates that the idea of a societal collapse has a strong pull on us. What is so attractive about widespread destruction? A first thought might be that the idea of death and mayhem offers an escape from the humdrum monotony of everyday life, but I think the appeal of the apocalypse is the exact opposite. With civilization gone, so is the stress—all of your mistakes and transgressions have been washed away with the records of society.

The apocalypse allows us to finally relax and enjoy that vacation we’ve been meaning to take but couldn’t because of our imaginary obligations at work. With all of the societal distractions gone, we can get back to just being human and being fully present in the environment. The apocalypse seems very Zen.

Unfortunately, knowing how way leads onto way, we probably would just fall into new patterns with new imaginary obligations. The boss man might no longer need that PowerPoint presentation, but the former head of the homeowners association and now local chieftain might want those plans for defending against the marauders from the neighboring subdivision.