We Will Never Be Prepared for the End of the World, And That’s OK
We can do two things to make our life count.
One thing about the future that I can confidently guess is that the world will end.
I can bet this will happen someday, hopefully far ahead into the future, not in our lifetime, nor in our grandchildren’ grandchildren' lifetime. But, like all good things, also the world will come to an end. It has to follow this logic. Forever is just a concept.
We’ve seen movies about this, we’ve read books or studies, we’ve listened to speeches. How this will actually happen is a mystery. We are not even sure how the world was created in the first place. Therefore we can debate and fantasize about how it will end because no one can contradict us on it.
So here are the most likely ways in which this world — our world — will end.
Ten ways in which the world, as we know it, could end
- An asteroid would hit the earth. This alternative is the first one that we can imagine, imprinted into our minds by the long list of Hollywoodian movies. When a large enough asteroid will hit our planet, it will probably mean the end of existence, either caused by a huge explosion devastating the entire planet, or by an impact that will deviate the Earth from its trajectory around the Sun, leading us into a new Ice Age.
- Global warming will lead to a world-wide Atlantida. A lot of people will be drawn. Some might survive on ships, or hustle on the highest peaks. Or, maybe, evolution will take care of us and by that time we will have developed gills. Either way, the world as we know it will end. Or, it might not be global warming, but rather a sequence of massive earthquakes and floods.
- Our greed and abusive way of exploiting limited resources will lead us to struggle for food on an inhabitable and barren planet, lacking all the things that we need to survive. Slowly, the human form of life will disappear, caused by what we can call self-sabotage. Combine this with over-population, and the math is simple and scary.
- The universe could implode. Following the theory of the Big Bang, the reverse will happen an in a split of a second everything will be nothing. Or, before that, our beloved Sun will expand up to becoming a red giant star, a supernova engulfing the Earth. Then we will be nothing.
- Aliens will invade us. Another race, from another place (or time), significantly different but superior to us, will attack Earth. And we expect nothing but an attack because that’s what humans did with every new territory they’ve discovered.
- A global lethal disease. A pandemic. A virus spreading faster than our ability to block it, to study it, or to discover the cure. This virus could be naturally evolved over time, or transformed from an animal virus, or it could be artificially developed. For the second option, let’s just imagine that it could break from a secret laboratory, and nothing more.
- Infertility of the human race. A human mutation, spreading more and more with each generation, will make humans unable to procreate. It’s a life-limiting genetic malformation, ironically spreading and evolving with each life that is born.
- Apes taking over the planet. Another scenario made famous by television and cinema is when another race, already presented on the planet, will become more intelligent, more powerful, and with the stronger instinct to dominate. The chances are that apes will be able to reach that status.
- AI taking over. Some of us might imagine android-shaped robots. But, essentially, they could be any form of artificial intelligence, reaching such a level of decision autonomy that will consider the human race an unnecessary element on Earth.
- The last world (nuclear) war. In human history we’ve seen many great leaders, inspiring, showcasing their greatness in the most difficult times the world has seen. We’ve also seen goofy world leaders, not knowing what their role is, treating a country as a playground. From time to time, a leader like this appears. Someday, one of those will push a button, starting a domino effect of nuclear weapons triggers. That will be the last button pushed on Earth.
So what do we do?
We can avoid some of those theories. We might delay some others. At least a few of them are out of our control. We might be ready to migrate to Mars, or any other planet, by the time that any of those theories will happen. Or, even here on Earth, selected few survivors might take shelter in the Norwegian vault, which is holding all the seeds that could be found in the world. Even so, I trust we can never be prepared for any of the ways in which the world would end.
So what do we do? Well, in case you’re just like me, then you’re not able to directly influence the life of the Earth. You cannot be prepared for the end of days, but you can at least do these two things:
- Take care of your planet as best as you can — for the moment, it’s the only one we have,
- Live your life truly and fully, one day at a time — it’s the only one that you have.