Secret Culture of the New Ark: Who’s Going Underground These Days?

With 2012 on the horizon, people of all political persuasions, economic backgrounds, and religions are considering the future.  And with some speaking of a possible doomsday on the horizon, there will be someone somewhere who sees it as a business opportunity – and possibly save humanity in the process.  But is this doomsday culture just a passing fad?  Where does our fascination with the end of the world come from?

Vivos, a company specializing in building massive underground vaults for the survival of humanity, recently announced the building of a huge facility in Nebraska designed to save those caught up in a global catastrophe from the end of the world.  But as these massive vaultlike doors close on a world in flames, what is in the minds of those who would put up $20,000 or more to live in luxury as neighbors clawed at the vault’s door?  Information on the client base is extremely secret at Vivos, who wishes to protect the identity of those seeking its services, but certain facts can be drawn by the very fact that these citizens are committing their time and money to surviving whatever catastrophe may come along.  And there’s one other thing they have.  They have been strongly affected by our sudden extreme fascination in the end of the world.

After the invention of nuclear weapons, the end of the world was suddenly an activity the human race could effectively participate in.  And not only were humans able to take an active role in destroying humanity, we were also granted the ability to save ourselves as well – by producing secretive and sometimes opulent fallout shelters.  As time went on, however, it was clear that the fallout shelters hadn’t counted on the tenacity of the human race and its ability to abstain from destruction.  The shelters were often converted or boarded up.  And humanity’s nightmarish dream of finally getting the massive conflict over with were put on hold.

But now with 2012, it seems the phenomenon is coming back – only this time we have a preset date and no ability to stop it.  What is it about our minds, however, that feels the need to get over with what many often suggest as a conflict that was a long time in coming?  Actually, they’re not far off.  Virtually every generation, predating the Bible and even Rome, said at one point or another during the course of their own history that the world was about to “finally” end.

Perhaps our fascination with the apocalypse is two-fold.  Dying, for an individual is often thought of as a very lonely prospect.  And as all humans share this possibility, it’s no wonder communities of people will find a way of celebrating the eternal destiny of unknowns we share.  And just as we believe we will all die one day, the possibility that humanity itself may die is just as tempting.  Of course it’s not too much of a stretch to question whether some would want to take this control of destiny back from the collective fear of humanity’s demise.  And so rather than being the bleak apathetic culture so often seen describing the survival instinct many have, perhaps it is actually more hopeful than that.  Maybe this is an affliction that only mental preparedness can cure – whether or not there actually ever is a disaster.  And perhaps this preparedness starts not with the individual, but faith and hope in humanity.