THE END OF THE WORLD — AGAIN: Why the Apocalypse Meme Replicates in Media, Science, and Culture
by Barry Vacker
Doomsday scenarios. They proliferate in our culture, from economics to ecology, theology to technology, biology to cosmology, James Bond to Slavoj Žižek, Plato’s Atlantis to Lars von Trier's Melancholia. With creativity and critical insight, Barry Vacker shows why apocalyptic memes replicate and have built-in survival advantages. He also explains how the doomsdays reveal the deeper challenges facing human existence — the “philosophical apocalypse” effected by our lack of cosmic meaning in the vast universe. Have we really embraced our true existence on Spaceship Earth floating in the cosmos of the new millennium? Our calendars say we have passed the year 2000, but have we really entered the new millennium? The End of the World — Again offers an original, exciting, and, for some, terrifying critique of culture in 2012 and beyond. 171 pages.
Publication date: December 21, 2012. This is the book to read after the Mayan hysteria has passed. You know there will be more apocalypses to come, real and imagined. The question is: why?
To read the 5-star reviews in Amazon, click here: Reviews.
To listen to Barry's public radio interview (carried by Public Radio International) about this book, click here: Interview.
To read a short interview with Barry at the Temple School of Media and Communication website, click here: Interview
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BACK COVER BLURBS
"Barry Vacker’s The End of the World, Again is a fantastic yet haunting book, taking us on a strange trip into the absurdities and anxieties of apocalyptic culture. The book poses many deep questions about the fate of humanity and the meaning of our existence, with an analysis that is daring and unconventional, unfolding in so many layers that it is vertiginous for the reader. The result is a fascinating and marvelously bizarre critique of media and culture after the millennium. It’s a work of absolute virtuosity."
— Elisabeth Krecké, artist and professor, Aix-Marseille Université (France), and Carine Krecké, artist and author, winner of the Premier Prix du Concours Littéraire National 2008
As Barry Vacker explains in this thoroughly researched and — frankly — fascinating book, the apocalypse is a powerful motivator and a formidable meme. It has been so for all of human history. We fear the void, and the idea of not being at the center of the universe (at least since the time of Galileo) is a fearful thing indeed. Of course, it is always at the margins where the most interesting work is done. Happily, out here on the edge of our galaxy, banished from its center after all by scientific fact, it is not the end of the world again — only the end of a certain worldview. Readers of this book should take heart, take heed of the history contained herein, and look to liberate their own creativity to reveal tomorrow’s exhilarating territory. And tomorrow always comes.
— Jeff Stein, president of Paolo Soleri’s Cosanti Foundation, engaged in the continuing design and construction of the urban laboratory Arcosanti in central Arizona
• Click here for extended comments from Jeff Stein on Barry's ideas, including those in The End of the World — Again.