The end of Apocalypses?

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Thu Feb 03 2000 - 05:03:31 MST

I was sitting in the pub with a couple of pals the other day, as one
is wont to do from time to time, when one of my friends came up with
an interesting observation.

He opined that popular predictions of the apocalypse, the Rapture, the
End of the World, tend to peter out after 2000. In fact, there are no
religious -- presumably he meant Christian -- predictions of the end of
the world with deadlines after 2012.

Yes, this ignores the Singularity, McKenna's wibblings, and related non-
religious apocalypses. But the point that interests me is that if the
Christians stop jumping up and down shrieking "the sky is falling!"
because they're run out of messianic deadlines, politics and cultural
life will take an interesting turn. (Which of Ronald Reagan's advisors
on public policy was it who advised cutting the EPA's budget because
because the Rapture was due to carry all the good guys away long before
the environment could be damaged irreparably?)

I'd like to segue this into a discussion of the ethics of immortality,
but all my tired brain will come up with right now is the idea that when
a society stops anticipating its imminent demise and is forced to raise
its eyes and contemplate a vista of centuries stretching into its future,
the change of perspective is going to have _interesting_ effects ...

Anyone got any ideas?

-- Charlie

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