Next, Alejandra Guillen said she believes in the biblical sense of the apocalypse, the “one where people become distant from God” from The Revelation. This goes to show that besides the entertainment business, religion is another factor of revealing a new story about the apocalypse. Religion highly appeals to people that want to find security through faith. It helps people cope with meaninglessness, unanswered questions, or even fears of the unknown as well as set up a moral code for individuals to follow.
Alejandra’s fear on death, she said, is the loss of loved ones close to her and “not ending up in heaven. Based on personal experience, often the words “or you won’t go to heaven” followed a statement, demand, or anything someone would say to shake up a disobedient child. The bible is no different since it was written by humans. Religion teaches moral codes that people should follow, and in Christianity’s case, if the people choose to ignore the moral codes then God will bring about divine judgment (apocalypse) onto those that have sinned and they will not go to heaven without redemption. Finally, she believes that humans are “getting there” towards the road of the apocalypse.
So, although it may not be based on scientific theories, Alejandra does believe that humans are related to the apocalypse occurring. Furthermore, Jonathan Campos believes that either humans or natural disasters will be the cause of human, or any other species, extinction in the world. He said that his version of a true apocalypse would be a reoccurrence of the comet that ended the dinosaurs, or “human activities” that make the world’s atmosphere too unsustainable for humans to survive. However, unlike Alejandra Guillen, Jonathan’s fears on death do not influence his views on the apocalypse.
His fears on death mainly concerns life after death, whether there is something out there after one dies, or if there is simply nothing. For the last question, whether he believes that the apocalypse is already happening, he responded, ” Yes, negative human activity is becoming so rampant that we are destroying ecosystems, killing many species of flora and fauna thus we are slowly destroying the earth[‘]s natural environmental flow. It has been scientif[i]cally proven that we have entered the sixth great ex[t]inction which humans are at the base of”.
The results of these short questions were surprising to show that average people with ideas that are not related to one another, have a similar understanding or view of an apocalyptical world which humans have caused either directly or indirectly. Alberto, Alejandra, and Jonathan fear death; people fear death, but not enough to show resolve into improving Earth’s survival. While the Facebook questions displayed what average people think about the apocalypse, the same questions were asked in a personal interview in order to go more in depth with the answers.
The interviewee was Catherine Bacus, a Chaffey College professor with a masters in gerontology from the University of La Verne. Gerontology is the study of aging and the elderly, which includes the dying processes, and Professor Bacus’s work and personal experiences on the subject of death makes her a more credible source in terms of maturity compared to Alberto, Alejandra and Jonathan. During the interview, Professor Bacus discussed how she does not believe in the biblical apocalypse because she is an Atheist despite her upbringing being Catholic. Her definition of apocalypse is, in her own words, “… sudden ending, a catastrophic event”. She does not believe in an apocalypse happening yet, but she does believe that humans are slowly causing destruction in the world that will eventually lead to a certain apocalypse. She said, “I don’t know if the world will just collapse under the strain we’ve put on based on overpopulation, overconsumption and bad choices”. Human greed is a big factor, she believes, that causes bad choices. That in itself is a true opinion since world wars have been fought for nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism all fueled by greed and pride.
Professor Bacus mentions how pollution in the ocean is causing coral reefs to die which will ultimately be catastrophic to marine life that depend on it, and that human greed is causing it. People tend to want instead of give; they want more fame, they want more resources, they want more wealth and do not realize that the consequences of their actions is depriving certain places of their riches or contaminating them with unwanted waste. “The consumption level of our nation, which is our society is, in my mind, sick” (Bacus).
From personal experience, a trip to Salton Sea, a used-to-be famous tourist attraction in the Imperial Valley of California, was polluted by pesticides from nearby crops that flowed through man-made irrigation channels for easier crop watering. The result of it was that the waters of Salton Sea became so salty it was uninhabitable for the fishes which would wash up on the shores, dead. To this day, Salton Sea’s white sand is nothing more than a fish graveyard, and because of this pollution, Salton City lost its valor in tourism and many people decided to moved away from there instead of fixing the problem.
Humans do not want to give, only receive. “… I think that this [apocalypse] can be accelerated or intensified by the use of nuclear weapons… it’s happened before with Hiroshima. It has happened and the weapons are even more powerful now, and a lot of people have them” (Bacus). In this quote, Professor Bacus states her fear of nuclear weapons bringing out an apocalyptic event, much like Alberto Contreras’ idea. She believes that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un is insane for wanting to drop a nuclear bomb on United States residents, and that technology is advancing in a way that is making weapons more powerful.
However, unlike Alberto Contreras, Professor Bacus does not believe that truce preparations will be enough to prevent nuclear weaponry damage. She says that “they have them”, meaning that different countries are already in possession of dangerous weapons of mass destruction, someone is bound to use theirs someday. While ambition is what makes society strive, too much ambition, greed can be its demise. Too much of a good thing is no longer such a good thing, but people do not want to focus on the negative consequences so much as the positive ones. People want to see results, they want to hear about security and believe it, even if it is a lie.
Why do nations keep nuclear weapons even though they are so incredibly dangerous to not only the enemy, but the environment? Wouldn’t that be a lose-lose scenario? People fear death, but people fear people even more. Instead of searching for away to survive the collapsing environment, they search for a way to extinguish an enemy. People are fearing the wrong thing and it is causing “bad decisions”. Fear of death is what keeps people from wanting to know more about it. However, fear of death is not naturally embedded within us, it is learned through society.
Understanding Death, Dying, & Bereavement by George E. Dickinson and Michael R. Leming states that the fear of death is made because of society’s views on it. Watching another person die can be traumatizing to some people, the pain and sadness is not something someone would want to go through some day, but that is something we grow up with inevitably. If a child had never been exposed to death in the correct manner, meaning that it has not been shown to them with zombies as representatives, then he or she would not develop a fear for it. A fear is developed through exposure to it, so if people choose to ignore their impending doom, the apocalypse, then they will not fear it, but is that the correct response?
How will the future turn out? Will another comet strike the Earth because of the lack of fear and will to obstruct it? Sometimes, fear gives humans and animals the will to survive. Ignoring fear of death is equivalent to ignoring the danger to one’s safety. People have different interpretations on the end of the world. Chimamanda Adichie in her presentation, “The Danger of a Single Story”, talks about how not realizing the whole picture of a place, and only focusing on the bits and pieces does not give the complete experience (TED Talks).
The same can be applied to the single story of the apocalypse; that it will not happen, and the multiple stories of it says that it can, it might happen. A comet can crash into the Earth and wipe out all of humanity just like it did the dinosaurs. The sun can implode and allow the solar system to freeze over. Drought can dehydrate humanity, and famine can starve it. There are many things that can happen to humanity, many variations of apocalypses. To only focus on one story might cause the upmost devastation. Like a goalie in a soccer game, he or she must think of all the possibilities in which the ball might pass through.
The world is already at the mercy of the apocalypse. Global warming, pollution, war, droughts, all these events happening worldwide are contributing to the end of not only humankind, but possibly all species of the world. An article on VICE News, Meat Is Murder- On the Climate Anyway by Matt Smith, talks about how the meat industry is causing large amounts of methane to pollute the air and water. Lagoons that are near livestock are tested to have large methane discharges that are more dangerous than when it is on land (Smith).
Methane is a green house gas that is more effective than carbon dioxide. What does this mean? The apocalypse is not occurring the way that some people thought; not nuclear war, zombies, or even God’s divine judgment. The apocalypse is happening on Gaia’s terms. The Earth is mortal, like humans and animals. It will not last forever despite what some people may think. The Cosmic Perspective: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology is an astronomy textbook that talks about the universe, its creation, and what it holds.
The book states how the sun was born and how it will die through terms of science. Although a sun can have a life expectancy of billions of years, it will die someday… in a very beautiful way actually. The bigger the star/sun, the faster it will die, and our sun is at a medium size with about five billion years left. That may sound like a lot now, but that is only the sun’s life time, not Earth’s. Many, many things can happen to us in five billion years especially if the Earth is not taken care of properly.
The human’s apocalypse began the moment humanity was born. Life is a competition on the survival of the fittest. It is humanity’s choice if they want their demise to come sooner than later. Like Charles Darwin once said, “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin. ” If humans are the cause of destruction, sadness, and death, then it is our responsibility to reap what we sow. Death is coming, that is definite, but humanity can survive the apocalypse if only they wake up and realize that it’s already here.