Examining society’s obsession with the end of the world

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will host a conversation about our collective fascination with the apocalypse on Monday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. in Lecture Center 102.

“Why Are We Obsessed with the End of the World?” is the latest event in the Without Limits series’ year-long examination of the Anthropocene, the geological era defined by humanity’s impact on the planet.

The talk will be led by Ted Toadvine, an associate professor of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. Toadvine proposes that our cultural obsession with apocalypse has its roots in our struggle to find meaning for human existence within the unthinkably vast history of our universe.

“The fantasy that humans will destroy the planet is a ubiquitous theme of contemporary popular culture, and it also inspires scientific predictions about what our future holds,” Toadvine said.

“Our popular apocalyptic narratives reveal a deep ambivalence concerning the human mastery of nature. Ultimately, these narratives are founded on a problematic conception of time, one that attempts to calculate and manage our relationship with the future. Temporal justice requires us to reject apocalyptic narratives and to reimagine our responsibilities toward the past, present and future.”

This discussion will consider representations of the end-times in popular culture, and what these stories suggest about our feelings of responsibility toward the planet and future generations of living beings.

“Why Are We Obsessed with the End of the World?” is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Department of Philosophy and Campus Auxiliary Services.

Learn more online about the Without Limits: Interdisciplinary Conversations in the Liberal Arts events series.

If you have accessibility questions or require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please contact Despina Parker at parkerd@newpaltz.edu as soon as possible.