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Doom Myths

December 21, 2012

Since it is December 21, 2012 and the world has not yet ended, I have decided to write a post about doom myths. It seems that one pops up every couple of years, proclaiming that the world as we know it is coming to an end and everyone is going to die. Why are these myths so prevalent in today’s culture?

The answer has to do with humanity’s obsession with vitality. Almost everyone is afraid of dying because it is the great unknown. We cannot fully comprehend death, whether we believe in an afterlife or not, and this causes us to be intrigued by it. When a rumor about the end of the world begins to circulate, people latch onto it because they are naturally curious, and whether they believe the rumor or not, a slight anxiety lurks at the back of their minds. It is also passed along out of sheer boredom. A doom myth can be an interesting spark in an otherwise humdrum existence.

Literature often deals with end of the world situations as well, except in these cases the threat can be quite real. In dystopian works, the end typically has already come and gone. Our fascination with these stories stems from the same source as our fascination with doom myths. We want to read about others’ thoughts regarding these types of situations since we really do not know what would happen. The question in the minds of many is not will the world come to an end, but when, how, and most of all why.

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