Tuesday, June 07, 2005

motivation & media portrayals

Liz wrote: I'm also very curious about how media portrayal of apocalyptic scenarios affects people. Are they moved to think differently or even act differently?

I'm curious about that, too; that's one of the things I hope we will come to understand a little about using this blog.

I think some people use it as a warning, a way to understand what we need to fight against (that's my motivation, in part); others probably accept the idea as inevitable and are trying to predict how it'll play out. (I know I said in "Intro..." that I don't think it's inevitable, but I think part of me does, and if it happens, I intend to try to survive it, although I'm not into the whole "survivalism" thing per se.) Many have been conditioned to hear such tales as "Chicken Little-ism" and ignore them.... possibly at their peril.

Denial is a very serious problem in our society, and by ignoring this particular subject, people are in effect ignoring some of the serious flaws our society has always had but tries to keep hidden, often through religion and/or political repression. We as a society are denying both our fear and our recognition that we are NOT indestructible, nor even all that special in the grand scheme of things.

In recent decades, though, it has become increasingly difficult to pull off the convoluted dance steps denial requires, in part because the problems themselves are reaching boiling point, but also because the amount of knowledge about the reality of our situation and our alternatives has grown exponentially. In most previous centuries (and this problem has been developing for centuries, at least) and in most societies even recently, information was rigidly controlled or simply not available. People did not have the access we now have, and that both terrifies some people and emboldens others to work for change. Ultimately, apocalyptic literature of any stripe is about gut-wrenching, traumatic change and how people and societies deal with it (or not).

Personally, I got interested in apoc-lit in high school and have since realized it's both a reaction to the real-world threat of nuclear war and an exploration of the darker side of my own psyche after family disintegration ("nuclear (family) war," the other side of my motivation).



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