Ways to end the world. Funny.
“Clearly, apocalypse. But how? How to destroy civilization and leaving us all in ruins in an original way? That means no atom bombs.”
We groan. Definitely no atom bombs. We’ve had our fill of them. ¶
“No natural disasters either.”
More groans. We’re all tired of global warming A.K.A. the next ice age (including if brought about by a sudden shift of the earth’s magnetic poles), the sun cooling or going supernova, alignment of planets or comets.
“And absolutely no zombies, they’ve been done to death.” ¶
Weak protests from zombie-lovers and more groans, partly from zombie-haters and partly in reaction to the dreadful pun.
“And no aliens either.”
“Awwww, leave us SOMEthing!”
"And here’s the clincher: It must be original and believable.”
“If we could do that we’d write bestsellers-“
“Or end the world-“
“-right, instead of sitting here talking.”
“Oh, alright then: I’ll go first:"
As a safer and cheaper way of product recall Nano-organisms are developed to find and destroy faulty or expired products. They locate their target through the specific bar codes or Matrix (2D) bar-codes affixed to products. A Christian fundamentalist sect that believes the bar-codes to be ‘the sign of the beast’ modifies the nano-organisms to target everything with a bar-code, destroying nearly everything man-made, leaving basically people standing naked in their houses or what’s left of them.”
Hmm. We realize that every single item we wear is labeled with a bar-code in some way and feel naked, exposed.
“Wouldn’t people simply use different bar codes, ones the Nanos can’t recognize?”
“Nah, the Nano organisms would adapt, like a predator when it runs out of its natural prey, starts rummaging in garbage or eating humans; they’d adapt to the new codes.”
“I bet the sectarians would make sure of that.”
“Jesus’ tomb is found, containing his body together with a treasure trove of scrolls of his teachings-it turns out that after the crucifixion he spent the rest of his life in India and became a Buddhist. They make a clone of him who is educated by Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist teachers. The whole world lives in expectation, and, tired of wars, is ready to accept his teachings i.e. Jews accept him finally as the Messiah and Christians and Muslims accept him as the bringer of judgment. When he is grown up he works miracles and teaches the way to heaven-Nirvana. The whole world (even the Chinese) accepts him as teacher. Civilization grinds to a hold as all people sit and meditate until they die happily, reaching nirvana.”
“What if Scientists found a genetic cure for Asperger syndrome and autism, as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); the cure works and everyone’s over the moon about it. The scientists get the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Laws are passed everywhere and all unborn receive prophylactic inoculations while they are still in the womb. Grown-ups are inoculated as well. Only when the children are born and begin to show deviant behavior and arrested development scientists find that these Asperger autism and ADHD syndromes are linked to intelligence. But by then it is too late, the grown-ups are dumbing down due the inoculations too (the ‘cure’ affects both the developing and the developed brain only the effect on the already developed brain was slower to show). By now no-one is left who would be intelligent enough to figure out a
solution as all are dumbing down to animal level resulting in the collapse of civilization.”
“Following the trend starting with the legalization of Marijuana morphine is also legalized. Its use is legalized for medicinal purposes but the flood-gates are opened and recreational use immediately sky-rockets. Soon everybody is hooked on the drug. Too late it is found that morphine –being so similar to our body’s endorphin-undermines, no completely undercuts, our body’s reward system. Since endorphines are our body’s reward for doing certain things that are in our evolutionary interest say hunt so we can eat and get our endorphines, or woo a partner so we can have sex and offspring and our fix of endorphines etc. interest in all activities including taking nourishment and procreating stops. The end of the human race.
“Scientists analyzing the symbiosis between dogs and men breed a super-cute species of dog. Soon everybody all over the world has one, and, putting the needs of these dogs above our own the world changes. People have less and less children and more and more dogs, cities are left for parks, where people live in huts with a minimum of comfort, serving the needs of their dogs.”
“There’s a revival in philosophy. People focus on the ultimate question, how to be happy? Some smart-ass figures out that it is the faculty of being unhappy, critical of the state of affairs as they are is in fact the root of the problem. So they get rid of it.”
“Get rid of it how?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Somehow. Electro-shocks, hypnotism, aversion therapy. They just get rid of it.”
“And that would lead to the end of civilization how?"
“Isn’t it obvious? You just wouldn’t care if your clothes or car fall apart, whether your house needed repairs. You’d happily make do with whatever was left. You wouldn’t even notice things were getting worse, because the faculty to discern would have been taken away.”
“It is found that plants, too, experience suffering. A sweeping world-wide movement tries to cut out from our food not only animals but also plants. The industrialized nations put everything into nano-technology, to manufacture proteins, carbohydrates and fat directly from soil. Civilization turns nomadic, with cities that are huge machines moving over the land, feeding off the soil, and leaving fertilized deserts behind, wars are fought as cities clash over exploration rights. The ocean floor is colonized in this way too. Eventually people realize that they are destroying the planet, including the basis for all animal and plant-life. The city-machines are abandoned in favor of small rural communities that cultivate fruit-bearing trees and keep chickens and live of fallen fruit and unfertilized eggs and re-cycle the dead.
Other ways civilization could end: Immortality. Here’s how it goes down: The research into cancer accidentally results in finding out how to make our body cells immortal, but benign. That is they live and replicate to replace those that die off through wear and tear, but not more. They do not-like cancer cells-forget their place and function i.e. that they’re supposed to be part of a liver or lung tissue or whatever, and they do not grow freakishly large or get teeth or whatever. They’re GOOD body cells only they live like forever. And hey guess what? That means we get to be immortal too. Not we I mean. Human beings. Hey, wouldn’t that be great. I bet everybody’d think it’s great. They think it’s wonderful. So they, too, get the Nobel Prize for Medicine and stuff, but they don’t hang around, they patent it and make really big bucks. Mega-bucks. I’m talking richer than Bill Gates. And have I mentioned that if you have cells that effectively get rid of wear and tear that means you’re not only immortal, but you look and feel GREAT. It’s the elixir of life and the fountain of youth rolled into one. Like being vampires but without the blood-dependency and shit like only going out at night and not being able to sunbathe, hell you could even sunbathe without fear of cancer or SMOKE, and I wouldn’t matter but why waste the time and who needs bad breath, right? I’ve always wondered a bit about vampires in that respect, whether they wouldn’t have really bad cat’s or dog’s breath, you know? But they’re not vampires, just healthy immortals so they CAN EAT WHATEVER THEY LIKE. *Sigh* Imagine that. We ponder that for a looong moment. “Great!” Yeah, you’d think that and why wouldn’t you? So they live it up and give everyone who can afford it or who has health insurance this benign cancer and, what the hell, they give it to their friends. And their pets too. And to charity cases. And start living happily forever until-there’s a bit of a hiccup. The government says that for humanitarian reasons and equality and stuff they must give it to everyone for free. Or not entirely free, the government will compensate them. FINE.YOU DO IT THEN, they yell and stomp off in a rage, slamming all doors on their way really loudly, and the government takes it- production and distribution and all that shit- off their hands and indeed compensates them. Realizing it’s still megabucks and no work attached anymore they stop sulking and they’ve just started living happily forever in Miami or wherever when they’re called back by the government. There’s a major problem: the Russians, all bristling with missiles, knock on the door and guess what they want? Yup, that’s right. They want to be immortal, too. And the government is all like-we can’t give it to the Russians and have them around forever too? But our scientists have another flash of inspiration, they are geniuses after all. And they say, don’t you see that you MUST make sure they’re immortal too? Hell, give it to them for free. And the government and military and CIA and what not say: shouldn’t we at least get something in return, like ask them to get rid of nuclear weapons or so? And our scientists fall over themselves, laughing. After they’ve stopped laughing they pick themselves off the floor, and say: you really don’t get it do you? Think of what a war between immortals would be like? As their eyes light up with understanding, the scientists say: “That’s right: Boring-“ and the officials grin and say “and expensive”, “yes, yes,” the scientists say, “and the beauty is no side can win.” The officials heave a collective sigh and say so it’s SNAFU.” Thinking they’ve sneezed the scientists say “bless you” so the officials explain: SNAFU - Situation Normal, All Fucked Up – Meaning Things are running normally. Our scientists give them a hard look, which says “Is that so? Remind me not to vote for you next time round” and out loud they say, “if you mean by that we’ll have peace by mutual threat you’re right, in fact it’s better because it’s not mutual destruction that threatens but mutual exhaustion.” Great, says the government and gives it to the Russians and the scientists get lots of medals and IOU’s and they go back to the business of living happily forever, only they go a little bit further away, to Hawaii, say. Guess what happens? Righto. The government brings them back, and the military says, “Sorry to bother you again, but things have gone TARFUN.” “Pardon me, but did you just say Taifun?” “TARFUN - Things Are Really Fucked Up Now – as in: Houston, we have a problem.” “That bad, ey?” “Worse. Now all the Muslim countries want it, too.” “So give it to them,” the scientists say, and after the outcries of protest have died down, the scientists add, “Let us spell it out for you. They’ve chosen immortality over an afterlife with seventy or however many virgins. You’ve won!” So they give it to the Muslims as well and everything is hunky-dory. There are some further wrinkles, like stopping population growth, and ensuring everyone has enough to eat and access to HBO and Internet and such, but they get ironed out. Our scientists go on with the business of living happily ever after, as finally does everybody else. And they do all the things they said t hey would do when they retired and had the time, like climbing Everest, and learning to paint by number, and everybody, and I do mean everybody on the planet, gets their minute of fame, like Warhol predicted, because they have so much time on their hands, you see, oodles of the stuff in fact and they get round to doing things they’ve always wanted to do like colonize the solar system and beyond, and after they’ve done that, they get on with doing things like clearing up their bedrooms and the garden shed, and they are clearing up debris on the moon and all broken satellites and crap orbiting the earth. And after that they realize what happened. And they call the government and say, tell them that things have just begun to go FUBAR. “FUBAR? We don’t understand?” the government says. “FUBAR, you bloody idiots they scientists scream down the line, “as in: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. As in burn it to the ground and start over from scratch; it's totally destroyed.” “But why? Everybody seems to be having such a great time?” “Yeah,” the scientists said glumly. “have you cleared up the garden shed yet?” “How did you know?” “Because there’s nothing left to do. After you’ve met everyone, had small-talk, shagged half the world-population and fallen out and made up with everyone, and learned mandarin and Esperanto you end up playing with your toes. Because there are only so many things to see and do. The universe is not constructed for immortals. And they were right. Instead of living happily forever after they were bored forever after. And that’s how civilization ends leaving us all in ruins.
 Based on a Writing Prompt at www.reviewfuse.coam/resources/prompts/
“Apocalypse What? Jul 04, 2009
Prompt: Zombies, atom bombs, aliens and natural disasters all go hand in hand with the end of the world. But because of that, they've started to get a little... well, stale. What's the most original and believable method you can come up with to derail civilization and leave us all in ruins? Describe your apocalyptic vision in roughly 500 words.”