When I was growing up in the 1970s, my friends and I used to play a card game called Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (it was a variation of Snap.) In those Cold War days nearly everybody believed that the world would be destroyed in a nuclear attack.
Now most people seem to believe that global warming or some other man-made environmental calamity is going to destroy the planet.
In the pre-industrial age, people thought that God would destroy the world as described in the Book of Revelations. Just as in modern times, it would be our fault that this happened.
It seems that one of our most enduring beliefs is that we are about to cause the world to end. The details change, but the belief persists. I think it must originate with the Christian concept of Original Sin. But this collective guilt and desire for punishment is so unhealthy. It’s time we grew up and took responsibility for our actions like adults.
Of course we’re not going to. There are so many delightfully scary scenarios for the next thing that’s going to bring about the end of the world (after global warming doesn’t).
Think malevolent artificial intelligence. Think GM crops – what, are you kidding? Think nanotechnology. Think Transhumanisim – the synthesis of humankind with machines.
Who knows where it will lead? Except, obviously, the End of The World. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Or … could we just get on with our lives without constantly worrying about screwing things up all the time?