I'm researching this for an article I'm writing: is there a term or phrase for the desire for the End Times? Given the preponderance of literature, popular and otherwise, that focuses on the end of the world, it stands to reason there should be a specific term for this specific, ostensibly pleasurable manifestation of a mass death wish. There's this Reddit post, which discusses it:


but "eschatomania," a more Judeo-Christian term referring to "an intensive preoccupation with the prophetic passages or details of the Bible, eschatological charts, prophecy studies, end-times predictions and preaching, etc." is the only real word posted there. Is there another, better and/or less religiously-oriented word or phrase for "Apocalyptaphilia"? Or should we just start using that? :)

  • As there is only the religious who speak of this a "less religiously-oriented word" is going to be difficult... The other point is that, theologically, all Christians are looking forward to this event, thus only "eschatophobia" is a useful word.
    – Greybeard
    Feb 13 '21 at 21:54
  • 'Misguided' springs to mind. Unless one has a firm belief in the coming consummation 'Heaven and Earth in sync' [Johnny Carr] Kingdom of God and is sure one has a place paid for. Feb 14 '21 at 16:09
  • @Boaz Well, I'm sure there are a few Walking Dead fans who may be non-denominational, where not outright atheists — and then, there's non-religious me — so, I doubt its "only the religious who speak of this." And I'm asking about desire, not fear, so no "phobias" would apply here.
    – jimiayler
    Feb 14 '21 at 22:54
  • @EdwinAshworth Why "misguided"? Don't some people wishing for the End Times intend to rot in hell?
    – jimiayler
    Feb 14 '21 at 22:54
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    Deleted my own comments to avoid this thread becoming too long. I just want to point out that it's difficult to take the religious connotation out of a human construct that is based in religion to begin with.
    – Boaz
    Feb 15 '21 at 13:24

I believe Sigmund Freud called this desire Thanatos. More commonly, it's called death instinct.

A primitive impulse for destruction, decay, and death, postulated by Sigmund Freud as coexisting with and opposing the life instinct. Also called Thanatos.

[American Heritage Dictionary]

  • I won't downvote this — and I'm aware of the lure of the Thanatos ("the Thanatotic"?) — but what I'm inquiring about is slightly different. It's closer in spirit to "eschatomania," the specific desire for The End of It All, more than a generalized plaisir de la mort.
    – jimiayler
    Feb 13 '21 at 19:52


Wired's article 'This is Not The Apocalypse You Were Looking For' offers lots of ways of talking about those who seem to yearn for the end of the world.

For a single-word choice, there's catastrophism. This is defined more often as

The theory that changes in the earth's crust during geological history have resulted chiefly from sudden violent and unusual events.

But there is a second definition available in American English:

an outlook envisioning imminent catastrophe

For example: In contrast, the rest of the right offered "catastrophism": the conviction that the Republic could be overthrown only by violence.

  • That's a great word, but I'm looking for a some "consummation devoutly to be wish'd" with my "outlook envisioning"
    – jimiayler
    Feb 14 '21 at 22:56
  • Hmm. OK. I've tried again with 'Millenarianism', but it might still have too many religious overtones. Feb 15 '21 at 13:19
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    No; envisioning does not entail desire. Feb 15 '21 at 15:03
  • @EdwinAshworth Of course, it depends what you're envisioning, but envisioning does not, in and of itself, imply desire.
    – jimiayler
    Feb 15 '21 at 19:54


Originally Millenarinism was a wholly Christian concept, based on the 'Millenium' of the Book of Revelation, which foretells a 1000-year period of direct rule of humankind by God, after a great catastrophe.

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years. - Revelation ch. 20

However the definition has widened to (as here in Merriam-Webster):

belief in a coming ideal society and especially one created by revolutionary action

As per Wikipedia:

Increasingly in the study of apocalyptic new religious movements, millenarianism is used to refer to a more cataclysmic and destructive arrival of a utopian period...

  • Per my earlier comment above: "belief" might incorporate but is not iself "longing for."
    – jimiayler
    Feb 15 '21 at 19:52

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