Apocalypticism, the belief if not outright desire for the end of the world in a dramatic and violent way, has existed in every culture because suffering and the desire to end suffering is universal. Apocalypticism as a tumultuous cleansing of perceived evil is, however, a violent projection of the self and the group, and wishes vengeance and havoc on a world already suffering.
Apocalypticism is a special temptation to the would-be hermit and solitary because it justifies the life style of aloneness and aloofness, presenting itself as a cure for alienation and despondency. But it slips quickly into a misanthropy and despair. The individual assumes that he or she alone suffers. Isn’t this a popular explanation for why someone becomes a hermit or recluse: the death of a beloved, unrequited love, disappointments, abuses, worldly failure?
But apocalypticism goes a step further in wanting to punish others for one’s own suffering, by making others suffer too. Suffering is universal. Our suffering is always less than that of so many others. The path of solitude is a path of knowledge, awareness, and compassion, not resentment.