NETFLIX seems to have hit the jackpot with its Christmas release of “Bird Box,” a psychological thriller that features a blindfolded Sandra Bullock escaping through a forest and a river from supernatural beings that make humans who see them commit suicide. Though it follows the same premise as “A Quiet Place,” this has attracted 45 million accounts since its release on Dec. 21.
That in this jolly Yuletide season audiences viewed a dark and suspenseful feature seems rather odd considering that comedic, if not feel good, films are its traditional fares. But then pop culture seems to have embraced TV shows and movies with apocalyptic themes such as “The Walking Dead,” “Z Nation” etc.
But humanity has always been intrigued by doomsday. The Bible is said to be the primary source, referring to end-time as the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.” (Mark 8:38)
Through centuries, popes, anabaptists, scientists and cults have made predictions, but all of them were proven wrong. Pope Sylvester II said the world would end on Jan. 1, 1000, causing riots in Europe and pilgrims heading for Jerusalem. Pope Innocent III claimed 1284 (666 years after the rise of Islam) as the date for the end of the world. Other doomsday predictions: Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation, 1600; Christopher Columbus, 1656; John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, 1836; Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1941; televangelist Pat Robertson, 1982; and Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, 2000. Nostradamus wrote that the “King of Terror” would come from the sky in “1999 and seven months” or July 1999.
In an article written by William Cummings of USA Today and published on Sept. 22, 2017, among the possible causes of the end of the world are: nuclear war, giant asteroid, climate change, overpopulation, black hole, supernova, global pandemic, biological weapons, robots, aliens, super volcano and the sun. While the United Nations and the world’s superpowers have time and again addressed some of these, others such as the black hole, supernova, the sun and robots seem to be fictional. Or are they?
Artificial Intelligence or AI is fast becoming a reality, with Bloomberg on Dec. 27, 2018 reporting that Toyota wants to put a robot friend or humanoid in every home. Stephen Hawking said in an interview, “Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.”
But it’s a new year. We should be looking at the beauty of life and the bright possibilities of the future. I can only blame “Bird Box” for this article.