Given today's impending apocalypse, I am reposting an excerpt from my 3-part post on political messiahs and scapegoats. First, though, a brief comment on the relationship between scapegoating and apocalyptic narratives.
Scapegoating is a temporary solution to the problem of the ever-present tension between the good and bad within each of us. Apocalyptic fantasies represent the final solution to this problem. In a post-apocalyptic world, the all-bad objects are separated from the good, consigned either to final destruction or permanent quarantine in a sealed, inescapable, all-bad place.
In the all-good world that is left, purified good beings are no longer stalked by evil and its ultimate manifestation, death. There is no more loss, no more anxiety. An apocalypse can be thought of as an all-inclusive, cosmic-level scapegoating to last for all time.
In the Christian narrative, Jesus is the ultimate scapegoat whose death is the precursor to the the final cosmic cleansing.
Everything Melanie Klein had to say about projective identification and splitting is relevant to the discussion of apocalyptic narratives. The connection between splitting and the final judgment is especially obvious.
The excerpt from my earlier post begins below the fold.