In a more recent example of how the imagination engages the apocalyptic, Slavoj Zizek following Frederic Jameson, infamously quipped that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. He delivers the observation as counterintuitive, as if it is something astonishing, but it makes good sense. Films about the end of the world typically do not force us to engage with the granularity of a specific socio-economic dispensation but instead allow us to tap into a vast imaginative space which has its own literary lineage and therefore aesthetic grammar.
The imagined end of the world is more coherent to us than imagined specific social shifts because the apocalyptic is depicted in more generally comprehensible forms. There probably is not a more preeminent scholar of these forms than the British literary critic Frank Kermode, who confirmed in his The Sense of an Ending the profoundly fundamental human desire for coherent ends and beginnings. Our interest in apocalypse, Kermode writes, “Reflects a deep need for intelligible Ends. We project ourselves—a small humble elect, perhaps—past the End, so as to see the structure of the whole, a thing we cannot do from our spot of time in the middle.”
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