In almost every civilization over the past millennia, there has been a prophecy that foretells the end of the world. Even today, we see these prophecies still being clamored about, such as in 2012, when the Mayan calendar supposedly dictated the world was due to end. The question is, why are we doomed in these folk tales? What did we do to deserve our supposedly inevitable fate?
For Norse mythology, the event of Ragnarok was an important one. It was meant to act as a reset on the current state of the world, with many of the most important gods, such as Odin, Thor, and Loki all dying, as well as nearly all of humanity being wiped out. This would allow for the world to be repopulated by two surviving humans, overseen by the gods who survived.
Ragnarok was a story of renewal and remaking, which was similar to the views of the Ancient Greeks. They also believed that multiple apocalyptic events had happened and would continue to happen in the form of the “Ages”, such as the Golden Age or the Age of Heroes, which we see many myths based upon.
The Ancient Greeks believed, however, that as the Ages went on, the humans being created were getting worse. The Golden Age saw humans who lived in a perfect environment and they survived as spirits to help the later versions of mankind from beyond the grave. The Silver Age, which followed shortly after, saw humans being violent and they were granted no afterlife to help other humans. Hesiod, a Greek poet, believed that Zeus would inevitably destroy every race that existed from his life onwards.
While the Norse myths detailed an opportunity to better themselves and rebuild, the Greeks seemed to lean towards a finite amount of resources being used to build the human race; the Golden Age was the best and, unfortunately, there was no future of improvement, despite multiple opportunities.