“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.”— T. S. Eliot
“The apocalypse is not around the corner.”— Jim Sensenbrenner
“The species will continue, whatever apocalypse we manage to unleash. It just won’t be much fun to live through.”— Naomi Alderman
“Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon, but to our ignorance and complacency coming to an end.”— Joseph Campbell
“Once we start believing that the apocalypse is coming, the amygdala goes on high alert, filtering out most anything that says otherwise.”— Peter Diamandis
“When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, you do your work well.”— Thomas Merton
“If it happens that the human race doesn’t make it, then the fact that we were here once will not be altered, that once upon a time we peopled this astonishing blue planet, and wondered intelligently at everything about it and the other things who lived here with us on it, and that we celebrated the beauty of it in music and art, architecture, literature, and dance, and that there were times when we approached something godlike in our abilities and aspirations. We emerged out of depthless mystery, and back into mystery we returned, and in the end the mystery is all there is.”— James Howard Kunstler
“’Apocalypse is a frame of mind.’ [Nicodemus] said then. ‘A belief. A surrender to inevitability. It is a despair for the future. It is the death of hope.’”— Jim Butcher
“The end approaches, but the apocalypse is long lived.”— Jacques Derrida
“Stupidity is the chlorine that cleans out the gene pool.”— Scott M. Baker
Our world seems to have become a bit apocalyptic lately. So many options are available for doing away with humanity. How to choose? But, perhaps the choice is already hardwired into our future – by us humans. Have we finally reached the point at which humanity has become self-obsoleting? Is such a thing even possible, given humanity’s demonstrated resourcefulness?
Like so many important things, “apocalypse” has quite a few meanings. A good number are simply personal feelings about a relatively local big mess. Others are just hyperbole, exaggeration. But a few express real concerns about an end, or effective end, to our human species. Amoeba will again rule.
Think that it can’t happen? Just ask the dinosaurs who apparently ruled the world about 66 million years ago. Stuff happens, they might remark.
What are the odds of getting hit in the near future by another Chicxulub asteroid? Probably zero or thereabouts over any small timeframe like human existence.
What might our non-asteroid apocalypse opportunities be?
Well, some rather nasty big nukes have begun to appear. Russia’s new Poseidon nuke claims a yield of up to 100-megatons – about seven thousand times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima – and capable of causing a 500-meter [1,640 feet] high tidal wave of radioactive seawater if detonated underwater along a seacoast. A detuned torpedo version (only 2-megaton yield) can travel 70 mph underwater and is likely unstoppable after launch.
This of course is nuclear war stuff. If even one of these ever gets loose, it’s game over for much of the world. Survivors may not be the lucky ones.
My sense of the real and much greater practical concern – practical in the sense that most of us will be survivors – is likely misuse of extremely powerful technology. As a recent post argued, it is the technology misuse by nasty people, not the technology itself, that is the problem.
Artificial intelligence (AI), or even artificial general intelligence (AGI), is certain to be part of whatever apocalypse we manage to experience. In case you are not familiar with AGI, Wikipedia has this definition:
“An artificial general intelligence (AGI) is a hypothetical intelligent agent which can learn to replicate any intellectual task that human beings or other animals can. AGI has also been defined alternatively as an autonomous system that surpasses human capabilities at the majority of economically valuable work.”
One AI/AGI application that is shaping up to be a huge concern is its use in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) – digital money –for population surveillance and control. Digital money that we are pretty much forced to use, since this technology involves eliminating the competition from other types of money – such as cash, cryptos, and such.
This is part of various world domination plans. Not exactly apocalyptic in the exploding sense, but definitely apocalyptic in the way humanity lives (or is allowed to live). We are well along on this path today, it seems. A domination outcome of some kind seems to be inescapable as things stand today.
Another apocalypse opportunity seems to be occurring through our societal and economic collapse and chaos that is solidly underway. Note here that an “apocalypse” is defined as either the complete final destruction of the world, or an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale. Catastrophic typically means involving a sudden and large-scale alteration in state with sudden great damage or suffering.
Societal and economic collapse and chaos are not likely to occur suddenly, except in the end-phase (as Hemingway’s main character in The Sun Also Rises describing his bankruptcy as happening “gradually, then suddenly”). These conditions may in fact occur cyclically, over centuries, as William Strauss and Neil Howe theorize in their fascinating book The Fourth Turning (1997). A post from a while back summarized such happenings.
Apocalyptic in the scale, damage, and pain aspects, but seemingly part of the way in which human society functions. Most everyone survives, as hundreds of years of history demonstrate pretty conclusively. Our current apocalyptic scene then may well turn out to be just another cyclical, final crisis phase (aka a “turning”) in the Strauss-Howe centuries-long series of roughly 80-year “generations”, each with four, roughly 20-year “turnings”.
Not just an end-of-cycle apocalypse, but an end-of-empire apocalypse?
I have written several times before about Sir John Glubb’s observation that, over millennia, empires tend to have durations of about 250 years. On this basis, America’s 250-year empire is about done. What if our current Fourth Turning Crisis phase is occurring at the time of this Glubb-scheduled U.S. empire end?
Or, maybe we are being set up for a truly super-apocalypse instead of just another routine, same-old-same-old, Strauss-Howe cyclical turnings mini-apocalypse.
Worse yet, what if the current happening is being driven also by a biological or evolutionary need to flush a species that is no longer serving its function in the grand scheme of things?
Perhaps us humans have as a species outlived our evolutionary usefulness. Maybe we have become sufficiently self-destructive so as to, well, self-destruct. A kind of natural obsolescence of species. What if we don’t fit anymore into the planet’s evolving ecological framework?
This would seem to mean that our demise as a species, either mostly or completely, is simply programmed – as it seems to be into the way of all life. We are just the current species destined for self-driven natural disposition. It will occur no matter what we do. Mother Nature may be in charge here.
Scary thought, yes? We may be at the combination of an end-of-cycle apocalypse, an end-of-empire apocalypse, and an end-of-species apocalypse. The world will continue, but we, as originally-designed humans, will not or mostly not. We may have become obsolete in the grand scheme of things.
Our replacements, as in good product design practices, will be AI-augmented or even cyborgs. Who needs old-fashioned humans, anyway? Besides us, I mean.
Bigger question: Who is really driving this obsolescence transition?
You may, like myself, reject entirely the idea that humans may ever become obsolete, and get replaced by what – AI-based machines designed by the humans being replaced? Or are we humans in some sense special in the progress of nature’s evolutionary ramblings?
My answer: yes, definitely. We are special.
We are getting challenged hugely by events that do not have our good in mind. Who wants to become an AI-robot or equivalent anyway? Well, perhaps a few who are willing to go along with almost anything. Maybe even a very large few. In any case, there surely remain way too many humans, or mostly so, who will object to this involuntary obsolescence and who will push back. As has always happened.
Change right now is vital, but just not the chaotic changes being driven by our self-designated masters. Humanity has survived so many of these over the eons. We humans are still here, and seem likely to be here after whatever is happening now, finishes happening. Chaos is good.
Apocalyptic change is not fun. By definition, it is extremely painful and damaging. No matter whether such change is part of what not-so-good-old Ms. Nature does when us human critters are not looking, or are effectively asleep. But, we are I think rapidly becoming fully awake (not woke).
Events and situations in our chaotic world are beginning to register on greater numbers of real people. Huge impacts, huge challenges. But humanity, so I read somewhere, has survived such events unto today, despite the continuing march of efforts intended to make us behave. We are still here, and so amazingly resilient.
What our rulers and ruler wannabes do not understand is how powerful basic human intelligence and its consequent resolve is.
We are something more than just part of the animal composition of the planet
Very tough times rolling in? For sure. Already underway in fact. This is good because it will motivate increasing numbers of people to respond. So many will not respond until they are backed into a corner, but respond as real humans, they will. Eventually.
We seem to be at, or very close to, the point of major transition. We are not destined to become robots or AI-based whatevers. We are not machines. We are far more than machines of any kind can ever duplicate or replace. We are not obsolete, or even close to it.
Never before in history has a population been threatened by such powerful technology and by the unfriendlies that are seriously misusing this technology. Humanity has overcome so much over the centuries that this latest challenge will almost certainly be overcome as well.
Evolution still has a say in the matter, however
You will not be surprised to hear such a thing. The process of evolution particularly involves critters who are unable to function effectively in the new whatever-is-happening, and as such are most likely to be flushed. That’s just the way it works, Mother Nature-wise.
So many of the go-along folks today are setting themselves up for evolutionary flushing. Not a happy thought, but it seems to be the way things work in our world. Those folks are going to be self-obsoleted by coming events. Probably not much we can do to prevent this inevitability.
Our job then, as self-selected survivor-volunteers, seems to require both a clear understanding of where whatever-is-happening may be headed, and an agile, adaptable response. Easy to prescribe, but not so easy to do, yes?
Before I offer my possibly-lame thoughts on how to go about this apocalypse survival stuff, it might be helpful to note a couple of quotes by Robert F. Kennedy in 1966 that I recently ran across:
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total, of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. “
“Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world — which yields most painfully to change.”
— Robert F. Kennedy, Day of Affirmation Address at Cape Town University, delivered 6 June 1966.
Moral courage to change the world, placed into our immediate context, probably means moral courage to act and hopefully as a result to be among the survivors of whatever-is-happening. Assuming survival requires “moral courage”. Just what is moral courage in practice? From Wikipedia:
“Moral courage is the courage to take action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences. Courage is required to take action when one has doubts or fears about the consequences. Moral courage therefore involves deliberation or careful thought.“
“Reflex action or dogmatic fanaticism do not involve moral courage because such impulsive actions are not based upon moral reasoning. Moral courage may also require physical courage when the consequences are punishment or other bodily peril. Moral courage has been seen as the exemplary modernist form of courage.”
Moral courage, plus agility and adaptability
Why is moral courage essential for our survival? It is required for action when one has doubts or fears about the consequences – especially when the consequences are punishment or other serious bodily peril. Like today, and going forward.
As you know, “moral” is of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior. But right and wrong in practice are generally context-dependent. Going to war can sometimes be “right” and at other times be “wrong”. Just to further confuse things, the typical situation has well-meaning adherents on both sides.
How might we apply the principle of moral courage to surviving in today’s global mess?
Some might immediately conclude that it means first of all to arm oneself up the ying-yang (or yin-yang, in Chinese terms) with Second Amendment machinery. The purpose would be to shoot or otherwise mess with anyone who tries to prevent you from doing your survival thing. Moral? Probably not for most of us.
Well then, how about Gandhi’s approach of non-violent opposition? Certainly uplifting and moral – until someone starts shooting at unarmed-you, as happened to quite a number of moral Gandhi followers.
Maybe this is where the courage modifier – as in moral courage – becomes important. Doing the right thing despite the possibility, or even likelihood, of incurring such nasty consequences.
My thought here is that moral courage is imperative as a survival approach foundation, but also that its adverse outcome potential or likely downside can be mitigated to a great extent by agility and adaptability – smart actions.
Humanity today seems to be headed for a major adjustment, if not apocalyptic in nature. Attitudes, beliefs, and actions that don’t constructively reflect our current reality may well be flushed by a variety of unhappy evolutionary and nasty-people mechanics. That’s just the way the world works, no matter how much we might hope for otherwise. Reality can be a very mean critter.
If this is where we are headed, we have some quite important advantages working for us. Such as …
Humans can be amazingly resourceful and strong
Evidence? We are still here despite eons of depredations of rulers and associated nasties of every flavor. “We” of course refers to survivors, since the efforts to survive apocalypses can claim so many lives and psyches.
Again, we are very special creatures.
We are not subject to nature’s evolutionary machinations unless we accept them. We are of course affected in many difficult and painful ways, but evolution does not drive us like it drives our fellow critters. We are different.
So, where does this leave us “special critters” – the surviving “we”?
Nature, whatever it may be in practice – and including very nasty people, cannot seem to overcome our human capabilities. It has tried so many times over the eons, but we are still here. Nature may well be hugely frustrated, but we are still here.
This is the good news that I see. Very, very, good news.
We will ultimately prevail no matter what our current set of nasties may inflict upon us. Tough times, for sure. Many casualties, for sure. We will win, for sure.
The various apocalyptic flavors available today seem unlikely, based on humanity’s past experience, to take out us-as-a-species – evolutionary-wise. Us-as-individuals are of course another matter, since our survival may be largely out of our control, mostly up to chance and to our particular luck therein.
Nice thoughts, but what can we actually do today?
Since most of us are not Gandhi or anything close, and most would prefer not to be even if given the choice, what can we do constructively as the tides of our tsunami-times wash over us? I mean, what – given such a vague prescription as having moral courage along with dollops of agility and adaptability?
Best that I can figure here, for myself at least, is to take one day at a time, and to deal with each one as best I can – with such moral courage, agility, and adaptability applied as may be available. No prepping, except mentally. Since I really have no idea about what is actually coming along, there seems not to be much point in doing things in anticipation of such who-knows-what.
Staying “flexible” seems important no matter what. Having lots of action options, and as few significant ties as one might arrange while living.
One thing that seems vital, no matter what is happening, is to try – as best one is able – to figure out where the world may be heading. This may well help guide real-time responses to local-and-beyond happenings. One example that keeps running through my mind as I read too much each day …
The Great Reset is still in play
As I have noted regularly in recent posts, various collections of generally bad guys and worse appear to be well on the way to achieving some kind of world domination along with its one-world-this-and-that features. They presently have too much momentum and lead time for them not to reach something close to their basic fantasies and agendas.
They are definitely going to get somewhere, rather quickly, but just where remains unclear except in general outlines. To me, anyway. Given that the majority of these players are intelligent but not smart, there seems a very high likelihood of them messing things up very badly and essentially self-destructing. This over some not lengthy timeframe in my view.
Martin Armstrong had a recent piece in The Burning Platform suggesting that much of what is going today on is part of a decades-long scheme to greatly reset our world: “Bank Failures – A Push for CBDC?”:
“All of these small and mid-sized banks are struggling with liquidity. The larger banks are gaining more power and influence. JPMorgan Chase’s CEO is nothing like the man who founded his company and actually saved the US from a banking disaster. CEO Jamie Dimon is a World Economic Forum member who fully supports the Great Reset. He wants the US to invoke eminent domain in order for the government to seize your private property.”
“These are his words, not mine. Dimon noted in his letter to shareholders that ‘governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations’ may need to invoke ’eminent domain’ in order to get ‘adequate investments fast enough for grid, solar, wind and pipeline initiatives.’ He is adhering to Agenda 2030 and believes that our freedoms need to be removed under the excuse of climate change. ‘The need to provide energy affordably and reliably for today, as well as make the necessary investments to decarbonize for tomorrow, underscores the inextricable links between economic growth, energy security and climate change. We need to do more, and we need to do so immediately,’ Dimon added in his letter.”
“I will not be surprised if Jay Powell mentions CBDC this Wednesday just to get the public accustomed to the idea. All of these issues can be used as an excuse to implement CBDC as the ‘safe’ alternative to traditional banking. It would be easier to implement if there were only a handful of banks working with the government. The US has never canceled its currency but every empire, nation, and city-state falls in the same manner. The plans for the Great Reset are out in the open and the WEF has infiltrated nearly every government cabinet in the world and bought out the bankers. The day will come when the government gives us a deadline to turn in our paper currency to be converted into CBDC, providing them with complete financial domination over the people.”
The race to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) seems to be central to this reset and domination game plan. A recent post dug into this happening. CBDCs are almost certainly surveillance and control mechanisms globally. When “they” (being some assortment of the current array of bad guys) get control over money, they will in effect be able to control most of the world’s population. Money is an essential ingredient of life, so I read somewhere.
This world domination process seems to me to constitute the main part of our current apocalypse. Lots of sideshow stuff going on to distract us, but – absent a game-changing nuclear WW III – one-world-order via control over money seems to be where we are headed. And it probably can’t be stopped by anything we can do in practice at this time.
That we can’t do much of anything proactively may in fact be good news. Why? Because those rulers, ruler-wannabes, and supporters – of which there seem to be several or even many factions – are almost certain to self-destruct at some not-too-distant point in time. These are insanely ambitious and ruthless people who are going to make many mistakes through blindness and overreach.
Their resulting failure is likely to be catastrophic, and probably apocalyptic, in nature. It seems inevitable, given the main players and their incomprehensible machinations and egos.
Even though our world seems to have become a bit apocalyptic lately, with many options available for doing away with humanity, our demise as a species seems unlikely. Given humanity’s demonstrated resourcefulness and survival over millennia featuring all manner of apocalyptic happenings, some part of humanity will almost certainly survive and endure. Probably even in the worst-case situation of a nuclear world war. Humans are simply too smart and tenacious to fully exterminate or self-destruct.
We probably can’t do much to “prep” for whatever-is-happening since we really can’t tell what it will be. Our best action plan, in my mind, is to maintain a personal core of moral courage, agility, and adaptability that can respond in real-time to events and situations as they roll out.
- Michael Hudson via The Burning Platform sees debt as a central driver of collapses of empires: “Debt and the Collapse of Antiquity, Part I”:
“Labor was still the short supply factor in the 8th, 7th, and 6th century BC. Everybody wanted labor. In order to attract labor to your land, you had to give it some degree of freedom, not bondage.”
“In Greece, you had reformers overthrow the mafia states, and they were called tyrants. Tyrant wasn’t originally a bad word. It was, I think, taken over from the Persians and just meant the person in control. The people in control, the so-called tyrants, paved the way for democracy by getting rid of the sort of autocratic leaders, cancelling debts, and redistributing the land. That was basically what tyrants did. It seems to be, according to Roman historians, what the early Roman kings did. They’d support the debtors. In other words, the population at large. They didn’t want a takeover by a small group of people.”
- Wikipedia offers a pretty extensive picture of the non-apocalyptic, cyclical future theorized by William Strauss and Neil Howe: “Strauss–Howe generational theory”:”
“The Strauss–Howe generational theory, devised by William Strauss and Neil Howe, describes a theorized recurring generation cycle in American history and Western history. According to the theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–25 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate (mood) exists. They are part of a larger cyclical “saeculum” (a long human life, which usually spans between 80 and 100 years, although some saecula have lasted longer). The theory states that a crisis recurs in American history after every saeculum, which is followed by a recovery (high). During this recovery, institutions and communitarian values are strong. Ultimately, succeeding generational archetypes attack and weaken institutions in the name of autonomy and individualism, which eventually creates a tumultuous political environment that ripens conditions for another crisis.”
“Strauss and Howe laid the groundwork for their theory in their book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 (1991), which discusses the history of the United States as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584.”
“The Strauss and Howe retelling of history through a generational lens has received mixed reviews. Many reviewers have praised the authors for their ambition, erudition, and accessibility. For example, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who graduated from Harvard University with Strauss, called Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 the most stimulating book on American history he’d ever read. He even sent a copy to each member of Congress. The theory has been influential in the fields of generational studies, marketing, and business management literature. However, it has also been criticized by several historians and some political scientists, and journalists, as being overly deterministic, non-falsifiable, and unsupported by rigorous evidence.”
“The Fourth Turning. In his review for the Boston Globe, historian David Kaiser called The Fourth Turning ‘a provocative and immensely entertaining outline of American history, Strauss and Howe have taken a gamble’. ‘If the United States calmly makes it to 2015, their work will end up in the ashcan of history, but if they are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets.’ Kaiser has since argued that Strauss and Howe’s predictions of coming crisis seems to have occurred, citing events such as 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and the recent political gridlock.”