Alvin, J. & E. Hanley: Apocalypse Imminent: A depth psychological analysis of human responses to fear of catastrophe and extinction.


Media is loading



(General) In the dire situation of the world today, humans are striving to cope with impending catastrophes and end of life on Earth. Emergency food buckets with a shelf life of 25 years are now sold in quantities that provide a year of lasting sustenance for an individual. Efforts to colonize Mars are underway and its pop-culture representations are based on key narratives of American heritage: ingenuity/technology, the great frontier/utopia, and democracy/capitalism. The configuration of apocalyptic social phenomena, arranged in a cultural and astrological gestalt, may be reminiscent of other points in human history where the threat of catastrophe rendered similar archetypal expression. As psychologists, we must ask: what precisely is being achieved by the development and sale of stockpiled food and plans to colonize other planets? What are we turning toward and away from? What kind of life are we buying into? Key concepts explored in the research of these topics include technology, climate change, food sustainability, cultural complex, and more.

To be explored in a discussion panel are the archetypal root and metaphor of these social phenomena and the implications these endeavors have for humanity entering the next phase of existence. It is our intention to present papers on the above topics and, with Dr. Romanyshyn as a respondent, facilitate an in-depth and meaningful discussion.

Author Bio:

J. Alvin: The purpose of this philosophical hermeneutic study will be to understand the Wise Emergency Survival Food Storage (WESFS) as an artifact that reflects and reproduces its cultural matrix (Cushman, 1996). At this stage in the research, the WESFS will be defined generally as it is advertised: sealed plastic buckets, containing a full year of dehydrated and freeze-dried food supply for one individual, with an advertised shelf life of 25 years (Wise Company, 2018). WESFS is situated against a historical backdrop of 20th century American developments in food technology related to war and space travel. Dehydrated food was manufactured during World War II; its weight allowed more soldiers on board ships sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to fight in the war. Freeze dried foods were developed for space flight; astronauts needed a variety of food tastes in order to avoid appetite fatigue during space missions. The psychological reality of WESFS is the concern of this study. What kind of world does the WESFS exist in? What kind of world is bought into, when a person purchases the WESFS? In order to situate the psychological reality of the WESFS and the individual who purchases such a product, a study of the American post-World War II individual will be undertaken.

E.Hanley: The purpose of this study is to explore, examine, and interpret the cultural phenomenon of Mars colonization as it is expressed in popular culture. Specifically, this proposed research focuses on one particular aspect of the topic: How Mars colonization is expressed in our culture as a great frontier and is thus reminiscent of past iterations of the American West and the righteous efforts to conquer and colonize the wildness beyond our current borders. This paper reviews multidisciplinary literature, situating the topic in a cultural historical context, and examines themes of technology, fantasy, and capitalism as Mars colonization is expressed in the form of frontier narrative in television, film, and literature. The qualitative methodology follows the philosophical principles of hermeneutics and social construction as bases for exploring the archetypal expression of this cultural phenomenon.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

This document is currently not available here.