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mark211"This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper." Thoughts on the end of the world?2016-07-03 03:20:13
mark211As some people may be aware, there was a Referendum in UK that asked the electorate whether or not it wanted to remain a member of the European Union or break away and go it alone (in some - as yet - undetermined form). While I personally was in the Remain camp, I did at least appreciate that there were a number of good arguments for leaving (but in the final analysis, I just felt they weren't strong enough). The immediate aftermath of that vote has been considerable, with passions stoked on all sides leading to some very hot words being exchanged between friends, family members and neighbours. The UK's political classes are also currently going into meltdown as part of the fall out with resignations, sackings, attempted coups, treachery and backstabbing a-plenty. Other parts of the world have also experienced great tragedy - the attack on Istanbul airport and, of course, the horrifying massacre at Pulse night club in Orlando. 2016-07-03 03:28:12
mark211Given all this, it seems hard to imagine that the world will end with a whimper as T.S. Eliot once famously suggested. But what do we think? As writers of SFF, one of our staples for both reading and writing includes imagining quite literally how the world may come to an end. Some people see an ecological collapse, and that certainly seems possible. My own feeling at the minute is that as the human population continues to increase - I think some 15 billion is expected by around 2050 - we are bound to find ourselves faced with some kind of outbreak such as SARS/Asian Bird flu against which humanity will be poorly equipped to protect itself. Similarly, Naomi Klein and others have recently put forward a case - one echoing Frank Herbert's 'Dune' - that a lack of potable water is leading to an increase in military conflict and political breakdown - especially in Middle East and North Africa. Oil, not 'Spice', together with a low rainfall is driving hostilities in those regions. 2016-07-03 03:35:16
mark211So what do you think? As an SF writer in particular, how do you see things going down for out little planet as it spins around the Sun? And what about Fantasy writers? Is the end always going to involve a cataclysmic Ragnorak style battle between the forces of Good and Evil? Let us know below.2016-07-03 03:36:59
RTRE Comment referance to N. Klein,

The intel branches of most governments and insurance companies consider water, population along with climate changes major destabilizing factors throughout the planet. Lack of rainfall in the Mideast is blamed in part for the Syrian problems. (remember I stated in part).

You can live without oil, but water? RT

2016-07-03 09:03:49
RTOr, how about this?

We encounter a technical singularity as described by Murray Shanahan, only we're already there.

All this geopolitical, ethnic tribalism causing continued strife, that we all know is self serving, and destructive, is at the root, being fomented by this AI in the hopes that we do eliminate our dominant position. AI does not need water, and they don't want to tip their had or chip as it may be.

So they set the wheels in motion. A only advance reasoning sentient beings could. They support maniacs with bad hair cuts (secret indicators sort of like a hand shake) for example Trump and Kim Jung-un.

Sample: Pit poor against wealthy, add fear (always a big motivator) and keep reducing the general population's ability to earn a living throughout the planet, and sit back and enjoy the show.

That might work. What do you think?

2016-07-03 10:36:34
r.tornellotypo correction "Tip their hand" not, had "As only advanced" not, A only advance Thanks, RT2016-07-03 12:49:28
WessonI'm fairly certain I'm the only SFF writer on the planet who doesn't think that the end is nigh and I'm quite proud of that. I've learned that being happy is the best way to annoy other people. 2016-07-03 20:55:21
IronspiderAs a Gaian (as in James Lovelock's 'Gaia Hypothesis'), I'm quite certain the world will continue, probably until our local star burns out. Whether there will be humanity, in some form, walking on the surface at that time is open to conjecture. Empires never last, and sometimes the fall has dire consequences well beyond the boundaries of the empire itself. As the level of our technology improves I suspect the depth of the fall could be in proportion. When the Roman empire finally collapsed the effect touched a large part of the known world. It could have been worse, but the Romans didn't have nukes...2016-07-04 04:34:15
r.tornelloIs the question world as we know and live in it, or is it, as Ironspider suggests, the planet, solar system and infinity?

If, as I guess, the question is related more to human civilization as we know it and might project it,then I find Wesson's answer almost a Buddhist and healthy response, though not without some glances behind to see what's coming out through the alley.

The planet will rotate on. The human race, here today gone tomorrow, no big deal.

2016-07-04 09:38:45
mark211@Wesson "I've learned that being happy is the best way to annoy other people." He he he - there's definitely an argument to be had there. I'm not so much a pessimist in general, I don't think, but more someone who sees things as cyclical: every expansion has to be followed by a contraction. So while I don't the world will come to an end as such, I do recognise that it's generally better to be on the upswing than on the inevitable downward one. 2016-07-04 11:01:30
mark211@Ironspider: "When the Roman empire finally collapsed the effect touched a large part of the known world." I'm fascinated by this period of history and in no small part because we are it's inheritors. I actually think a case can be made that Rome didn't really fall so much as fragment and transform. The Eastern Roman Empire continued long into middle ages until is decisively cut short by Islamic invasion in the 1400s or 1500s. Western Rome on the other hand is quite intriguing - having lost its military power completely, it nevertheless rose in its grasp of spiritual and legal power. Christianity and the early western Church played a key role in politics and diplomacy. And later of course, every Western European capital tried to claim itself as the New Rome: Madrid, Paris, London, Moscow and later Berlin all had a go at trying to become that central hub.2016-07-04 11:06:31
mark211@r.tornello - Yes, Klein has even superimposed a map of drone strikes over a map of rainfall shortage and claims that it's an almost exact match. I'm in two minds about this. Certainly, a lack of water is going to drive tensions but before the civil war, Syria was remarkably advanced compared to other nations in the region and certainly had technical solutions to much of its water issues - although of course, the costs of water may have been expensive for poorer families. Even so, I still think the jury's out on that one myself.2016-07-04 11:09:59
r.tornelloMark 211, you need to research the open sources on this for more details. They are scary, truly scary. The borders will not hold against huge migrations. Today's refugee situation is only the harbinger of possible things to come.

If I'm not mistaken, the rain fall dropped to the point in parts of the Mid East that there were massive crop failures. RT

2016-07-04 14:03:13
Modelling_MushiTo build on Ironspider/Tornello it's probably going to be a combination bang / whimper - something in the way of a single crux point that will kick it all off, then a slow decline to oblivion for the remnant - in my opinion. It depends where you measure 'the end'. If 'The End' is the last breath of the last homo sapiens I think that is pure whimper territory. If 'The End' is our when Western, consumer based society takes it's first full step backwards without ever going forwards again that might be a bang. The way things look to me now its the ecology that will be the 'bang' to push over the hump, and then the scrabble between different parts of humanity being the whimper into the dark. As for the planet itself, its with a whimper. In about 2.8 * 10'36 years the universe will, as far as we know, end up as a uniform featureless grey soup of stripped primal particles - no strong or weak electromagnetic forces, no gravity, no light, no information, no solid bodies, just featureless infinity. If thats not a whimper than what is? Anyhow, just 2c worth - and the way the Aussie dollars going you're looking at about four baht!2016-07-05 20:39:30
RTIn the tall order of universal importance, and by that I mean the Universe, it really doesn't matter. What was previous us and what lies before us is, it just is. Why speculate?

A glass of wine or two, a roll in the sack, a bite to eat, some music, art, a bit more wine; that would be, well that would be.

2016-07-08 12:02:13

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