In all honesty, I try not to waste time and energy thinking about it. Humanity seems almost preprogrammed to obsess over death and destruction
Well I'd say that we weren't. Not at all. It all comes from a limited groups of sources.
1. The Japanese have a big thing about it, mainly because of their location on the pacific rim. That's meant Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis that have had a direct affect on their civilisation, and has become embedded. The defeat of WW2 with the massive death and destruction due to the fire-bombing and the lessor death and destruction but more impressive explosions of the two atomic bombs cemented that idea quite firmly.
2. Judaeo Christian Mythology, but Christian specifically. Think about it: Christianity came into being just as the greatest empire Europe had even known collapsed. That has to skew their focus a little… Well there are of course the northern and the Germanic people with their “Ragnarock” ideas, but again; they originated it a very harsh environment where most of the time Winter meant death, quite literally, not just for the old and the young but possibly entire villages. Then there were the storms, the catastrophic failure of crops, and they have their share of volcanoes and things… That's life on an edge so precarious that they'd rather turn to a culture of piracy to support their community. Not surprising their
outlook was a little bleak.
And as you know, the Viking people and all the Germanic peoples succumbed to Christianity quite easily and relatively peacefully. It's a sure bet that they brought that outlook with them and it became a solid part of the Northern Christian faith from then on.
When Christians (and only
Christians) reached the first millennium they had plenty of mad doomsday cults that sprang up and thought the world was going to end- going by some strange idea that heavenly beings would care about years in round numbers or a base ten counting system or something… lol!
On the eve of the second millennium, the same mad Christian cultist type dopes popped up again to claim doomsday, the trouble was that Christianity is now a LOT
more widespread around the world than it was back during the first time so you had more crazies thinking “their time had come”. For other cultures they were simply going along with the embedded hysteria and all the things connected to the unassailable Christian convention of
the year 2000 (lol millennium bug). -People who subscribe to “rapture” are simply another one of those useless millenialist cults, just like all the ones who were jilted at the failure of the original
millennium. They'll last for a while before dying out again. Same thing happened last time, look it up.
We're not programmed for it at all. It's just a dominant cultural meme (I hate that word but it's oh-so useful), we've learned to interpret events with that in mind. The sources for the apocalypse thinking are quite identifiable and easy to trace. Sure, cultures develop doomsday ideas from time to time, but there are usually very good, very real reasons for it (Those South American people's had witnessed the failure of a few civilisations- and now they're all Christian too). So rather than thinking that way because they're just made that way or pre-disposed to crazy ideas, rather it just happens the way things always do with enduring cultural movements like religion: Something occurs or a trend gets noted down, it gets mythologised, passed into lore, and becomes the bed rock of a society.