If there were no future, how would we behave?
This question is what Children of Men (a movie that was presented on earlier in the semester) revolves around. I find this question fascinating as so many apocalyptic narratives are based off the point of view of the survivor; it allows the story to be narrated. From zombies to plagues, a major appeal of the apocalypse is that many people think they would be strong enough to survive; there is hope.
But in this film (originally a novel) reproduction is impossible. Therefore, instead of us individually being at risk, we are collectively at risk and all hope goes out the window. I would like to think that if all of humankind were at risk of extinction we would be able to work together to create a method of survival. However, this film takes the standpoint that rather than working together, we would begin to alienate each other further as a means of an “aggressive program of particularist protectionism” (Amago 214).
In Children of Men, with no future to work towards many people withdraw from society and become increasingly self-focused. For example in the movie Jasper decides to spend the rest of his time locked up in his house with a joint. In a zombie apocalypse type of situation this makes sense for survival, but in this scenario people’s individual life span is not affected (at least those from the UK), the only difference here is that there will be no next generation.
In an article by Samuel Amago there is discussion regarding how the absence of a specific “other” to blame the apocolypse on contributes to the division of the human population and the rise of individualistic nationalism. For example, in alien apocalypse movies we often see humans banding together in an “us” vs. “them” context, as the cultural other is clear. But in this scenario no one knows why humans can no longer reproduce, thus causing division.
While Ken made sure to remind us in class today that the apocalypse is fiction, many in the greater population firmly believe it is inevitable. While perhaps death is everyone’s personal apocalypse, knowing that there will be something after us, a next generation, is what keeps us sane.
Here is a link to Amago’s article on Children of Men:
It is a really interesting read and very insightful look at many of the references within this movie.
Amago, Samuel. “Ethics, Aesthetics, and the Future in Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.” Discourse 32.2 (2011): 212-135. Web. 5 April. 2016.