Today’s Daily Prompt is: Revelation.
Now this, this is a prompt I can get behind. Revelation, I can dig it. You’ve got your whole Biblical thing if you choose to go that way, or personal revelations aplenty, or political stuff to choose from. I don’t believe in the Bible, obviously–rather, I should say I don’t believe it’s divinely inspired–but Revelation is an interesting book. I’ve always been fascinated by apocalyptic stuff. I don’t know why. I think the apocalypse is necessary so humanity can take the next big leap forward. Of course, whether humanity would survive at all depends on the kind of apocalypse we’re talking about. If we nuke ourselves to death, well, I guess that’s our final chapter. But if we have a pandemic or a big solar flare or something, then humanity’s future is very much an open question.
Right now, as it stands, there is very little natural selection going on with humanity. We’ve gotten so good at survival that we just don’t get eaten by tigers anymore. With our complex civilizations and their social safety nets, just about everybody survives until breeding age, and then most people breed. Now, I’m not a social Darwinist, but I have to admit we’re watering down our own gene pool. In an optimal society, you’d want the people with the best traits breeding the most, while people with less desirable traits breed the least. Now, we could argue about the traits for days, what’s desirable and what’s not, and again I’m not advocating anything specifically aimed at any particular group, but if there were an apocalypse of the survivable kind, then I believe that natural selection would start kicking in again. People who survive the apocalypse are going to be intelligent, socially adept creatures. They may also be violent and cruel. Many of them may be sociopaths. It all depends on what the apocalypse is and how the story of the survivors plays out. If it goes the right way, though, we could be looking at humanity’s next big leap forward, genetically speaking. Instead of an average IQ of 100, maybe after the apocalypse and the resulting rebuilding of society the average IQ is like 140. Maybe the people who survive are adept at consensus building and growing communities in a sustainable way. Then again, maybe they’re like Negan from The Walking Dead–violent sociopaths who kill to survive. I would expect to find a mix, depending on the manner of the apocalypse.
That’s what fascinates me about post-apocalyptic fiction. I want to see how things get rebuilt. I want to see what kind of society comes out on the other side. It could be brutal and terrible, but it could be great. It could be just what we need for humanity to start fulfilling its full potential. It won’t be great for me personally–I’m not positioned to survive any kind of apocalypse, really–but it could end up being a good thing for humanity.
I kind of expect some kind of apocalypse to happen in my lifetime. It seems like we’re pushing up against all sorts of Earth’s natural limits. I don’t know how much more overpopulated we can get before there has to be some kind of reckoning. Of course, the apocalypse may not happen all at once–it could be a gradual decay, as climate change and energy depletion and resource wars all take their toll. I personally would vote for a more sudden apocalypse, like a pandemic or an EMP, that would be more likely to bring about the downfall of the existing power structures. In a slow decay, the power structure will do everything it can to stay in power, likely at great cost to the survivors. Better to start fresh.
I am taking a few common sense steps to prepare for a calamity, although it’s more in preparation for a Cascadia earthquake or a big ice storm than it is for something worldwide. For my birthday I am getting a solar-powered, hand-cranked radio (you can check it out here) and a Lifestraw. We have a river less than 100 yards from our building, and with a Lifestraw my wife and I will be set for clean water for quite a while if something should happen to our running water, as it could in a big earthquake. I’m slowly building a little stockpile of food–I’d like enough to last us two weeks. I figure if things aren’t getting better in a couple of weeks then we’re really in trouble. We don’t have the money or the space to plunk down five years’ worth of MREs. So I’m preparing for a small-A apocalypse, but if the big-A Apocalypse comes, then we’re rolling the dice with everybody else.
Well, my wife’s awake, so I’m going to end it here. Thanks for reading. =)