An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω, literally meaning “an uncovering”) is a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities”.


Apocalypse remains double loaded; it denotes violent decomposition of the old and at the same time reveals the emergence of the new.

Apocalypse is in the context of transitional narratives, highlighting its presence at all moments of paradigmatic change.

1950s and 1960s Alien invasions gradually evolved into …

1980s and 1990s major malfunctions of domestic techno-cybernetic systems.

Onwards, the deliberate action performed by the mechanical or the digital against the human.

The end as either a threat (pre apocalypse) or reflecting the post apocalypse situation.

Apocalypse as identity construction - in a wider cultural context, apocalypse constitutes a vital component of the subjects' experiential territory and as such plays a formative role in the process of identity construction.

From ( A sense of Apocalypse: Technology, Textuality and Identity by Marcin Mazurek, Peter Lang GmbH, 2014)

Radical change occurs in the narrative of apocalypse

In current parlance ‘apocalypse’ means upheaval and destruction but originally it implied also discovery and epiphany (the revelation of something new and often better)

The return of the Messiah tends to only happen after a considerable portion of humanity has died. Salvation following global apocalypse is usually attained only by a few.

In scenarios of apocalypse, at the heart of terror there lies always the explosive combination of the possible and the unknown. The possibility of transgression and the crossing of a line from what is familiar into unimagined, unimaginable territory.

(From End of the World by Lisboa, Maria Manuel. Publisher: Open Book Publishers. 2011-09-20)


Dylan 1960s:

‘The end could come to the world tonight, but that’s alright’ (from I and I, on Infidels, 1983)

Many of his songs reflect important concerns; one such is the expectation, or in some cases fear, that we are living in the last days.

Anti nuclear war songs written in 1960s about the 1950s cold war (Age of Anxiety).

‘Let me die in my footsteps: (on Bootleg Series, Vol 1-3, 1963)

‘ There's been rumours of war and wars that have been. The meaning of life has been lost in the wind And some people thinkin’ that the end is close by ‘Stead of learning to live they are leaning to die. Let me die in my footsteps Before I go underground.

A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall: (, on Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963)

A folk ballad form and structure married it with a long free verse poem in the style of French symbolists.

‘I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world.’

Punk 1970s:

A response to catastrophic or potentially catastrophic events. Political anarchist. Things need to change politically.

God save the Queen

The fascist regime,

They made you a moron

A potential H-bomb

(From The End All Around Us by Walliss, John and Newport, Kenneth G.C: Taylor and Francis. 2014-12-05)


All The Pretty Horses

Evil and suffering inherent in existence (man-made and natural), transience of life and the inevitability of death. The symbolic resonance of blood and the redemptive presence of horses.

Title taken from a lullaby in which a child is promised ‘ When you wake, you shall have/All the pretty little horses’.

The horses are otherworldly beauty in the novel and imbue the text with a quality that hints at some wholly transcendent and absolute source of divinity. An understanding of the darker truth of the world - that evil and suffering lie at the core of existence - can lead to spiritual wisdom or gnosis and in traditions like Gnosticism and Buddhism, where ignorance is equivalent to sin, spiritual wisdom becomes synonymous with saving grace.

Longing for a better world

(Comanche tribe)

‘The shadows were long and the ancient road was shaped before him like a dream of the past where the painted ponies and their riders of the lost nation came down out of the north with their faces chalked and their long hair plaited’ ‘Passing in a soft chorale across that mineral waste to darkness…lost to all history and all remembrance’

(Illusion and reality - a sense of loss foreshadows the fate of all nations and the entire human race)

Innocence to experience.

(From Diverging equity: the nature of existence in All The Pretty Horses by Petra Mundik: Southwestern American Literature. 35.2 (spring 2010): p9 From Literature Resource Center. )


Science-fiction themes of overarching humans engulfed by the unforeseen consequences of scientific experimentation.

The origin story of superheroes is important in films - how they got their powers and the emotional struggle to come to terms with having these powers. It’s a huge change and personal shift.

A personal apocalypse and world - Avert the alien forces that threaten the earth, but can only be effective together. Courage of individuals is vital; results are achieved when a team operated as one. War like. Protecting what is and, in doing so, the world and humans will be changed.

(From The Hollywood Action and Adventure Film by Yvonne Tasker: John Wiley and Sons, incorporated. 2015-03-24)

engagement/one_last_apocalypse/book_club/apocalypse.txt · Last modified: 2021/05/12 15:30 by pmusk
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