And now, a word about the Apocalypse.


The most fascinating aspect of our end-of-the-world obsession is
our insistence that whatever cataclysm we have in mind would, in
fact, be the end. The reality is that our history could actually be
described as a series of apocalypses: a plague here, a famine there,
a worldwide war that arrives with both in tow. What occurs in the
aftermath of each is instructive.
Consider, for
example, the ancient disaster known as the Toba event. It is
theorized that approximately seventy-five thousand years ago, a
volcanic eruption nearly wiped out
sapiens altogether. It is believed that in the aftermath,
the worldwide population of early humans may have withered to just as
few thousand breeding pairs—enough to fit into a high school
gymnasium. Just seventy-five thousand years later, we live in a
civilization in which the population has rebounded a million times
over and is on the cusp of landing a spacecraft on Mars.
This is the
legacy of humanity and I daresay that not enough of us take time to
appreciate it. Our apocalyptic fiction depicts a world in which
humans revert to the savagery of the jungle the moment our
institutions fall, survivors tearing each other to pieces even as
they are dying of plague or stalked by the undead. In our real
history, we have been in that situation many times—left without
government or law enforcement, none of the modern institutions we
take for granted. From each of these scenarios what emerged was not
savagery, but cooperation. When the pillars of our culture crumble,
we rebuild them.
— Jason “David Wong” Pargin, What the Hell Did I Just Read (2017)