When I was a little kid (high school) I was pessimistic about the future of humanity. I had other dumb perspectives (I listened to a lot of dumb sermons about the ‘end times’, and had viewed such classic video productions as ‘The Late Great Planet Earth,” at an impressionable age - I can still wistle the doomsday tune), but I’m currently very optimistic about a lot of things. This optimism has matured to a point where my concern has shifted to optimizing the rate at which the world improves. World peace is inevitable on a global scale. Skirmishes and malcontent may persist for quite some time, especially since we have some consequences to face for environmental disregard. Regardless, the world isn’t going to end.
The other day I actually had a little mock debate with my friend Ray (not really with him, but just what I think he might think). I was thinking about how religious people have secret alliances and strange lines that you might accidentally cross without knowing it, and then they can become unpredictable. They might smile and nod while they picture your sacredness-offending-evil-ass is being destroyed for ever and ever with satan. With this in mind, I wondered what Ray would say about Armageddon. I know the basis for his belief system is his literal interpretation of the christy-bible. Thus, he expects to hear trumpet blasts (so loud the whole world will hear) that signal the return of the christian lord. He must then expect the nations of the Earth to march against the lord. Never mind the absurdity of global trumpet blasts, why would modern armies march anywhere? Anyway, I would choose to defend my civilization if the call came, even if I had to do it on foot.
Would this fact disturb my friend Ray? The rivers are supposed to run red with blood, but maybe the battle outcome is open to interpretation. The last time god walked, it was physically vulnerable (nine inch nails might be more deadly, by design, than LIPC lightning guns). Maybe smiting mode involves holy armor? Previous battles have not gone well for the christian lord, especially when it comes to smiting people who are blazing along in excess of 20 mph on iron 2-wheeled-carts.
Judges 1:19 (my fav) And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
I laughingly sighed when realized that Ray is sure of his god’s victory at Armageddon, and thus he wouldn’t need to preemptively defend his god from my secular loyalties. Whew, I dodged that bullet!
Nevermind the mythologies, what about global calamity? When I was younger I thought I could see the coming global calamity even though I didn’t buy the supernatural aspects of the stories. I’m currently reading an old (1996) book called “The Story of B” and it contains a section that suggests we are headed towards a population implosion, a nearly inevitable result of the current population explosion. Curiously, I thought the same thing in the 90s. However, in regard to world food supply, something amusing was spoken by B (who is under investigation as a possible antichrist) that jumped out at me. “Until people start showing up who are made of shadows or metal filings or gravel – when that happens, then I’ll have to back off this point.” Did the author intentionally craft this statement to form some sort of hydroponic irony? With just 16 elements you can grow any plant (C, H, O, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn, B, Mo, and Cl). Combined with the proper naturally evolved genetic formulas and light (the presences of which is implied by shadows) – shadows, metal filings, and gravel are exactly what hundreds of billions of future humans will be made of.
Many generations have mused that the population bubble will burst, but it might not. My new girlfriend Erika (who I’m thrilled about) thinks a fetus would feel parasitic (I doubt she’ll make a dozen babies). Anyway, I want to consider people production on a grand scale. I expect us to cluster into megacities, with population distributions mapped by cubed kilometers rather than square ones. A city of billions will require insane utilities (millions of megawatts), but I expect these cities to have close element cycles, where the mineral mass requirements exactly match the export product masses. If you want to export food, the mass of food you can export will match the mass of C, H, O, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn, B, Mo, and Cl you can acquire. Maybe some of these elements could be coil accelerated from the moon (along with lunar tritium for power), or come from precisely deorbited asteroid rigolith, or maybe entire mountains will be hallowed out and replaced with effectively stronger carbon superstructures (Why not whole plates?), having minimal impact on a recovered biosphere. What percent of the crust will humans eventually convert into human mass?
I’m not talking about things that require fantastic technologies. Most people know better than to presume we’ve discovered everything. My point is that I realized 6 billion people doesn’t necessitate the end times, and I don’t think 600 billion people will either. Population growth could easily continue into space. Using what we know now, colony ships could be built with the ability to carry people to other solar systems. Sound fantastic? A few hundred million build current orbital craft, but consider a workforce of billions that could efficiently devour mountains, they could construct a gargantuan colony ship (so what if it took a millennia to build, and another millennia to reach another solar system). It wouldn’t need a warp drive (though maybe we will discover something like it) to allow human populations to grow for billions of years (until all matter falls apart - and even then we might push our end into some different time and space).
It could all end, maybe tomorrow. Honestly, I don’t live in a fantasy. Regardless, they are somewhat amusing. Doomsday fantasies can be matched tit-for-tat by futurist ones, winter rain can be matched drip-by-drip with xmass umbrellas, and doomsday gods can be matched tit-for-tat by iron chariots.