Nature and truth. Money and markets. Men and marriage. Faith and reason. They’ve all ended. Power ended in March, but that makes sense because leadership ended last year. History ended more than two decades ago, while the future ended just two years ago.
On the plus side, illness has ended, along with poverty, racism, war — even homework.
If you thought these things were still around, just pick up “The End of Sex,” by Donna Freitas, published last week, or Moises Naim’s “The End of Power,” which came out last month. Try David Wolman’s “The End of Money” or David Agus’s “The End of Illness.” Those came out in 2012, the same year that Hanna Rosin affirmed “The End of Men” and John Horgan imagined “The End of War.”
One could dismiss this proliferation of “The End” as a plea for attention by publishers, magazine editors, authors, bloggers, TED talkers and the rest of the ideas industry — a marketing device signaling little more than the end of imagination.
But it is more than that. “The end of” is also the perfect headline for our age. It fits a moment that fetishizes disruption over stability. It grabs an audience enamored of what is next, not what is here. It suits a public debate in which extreme positions are requisite starting points.