Archive for May, 2011
Due to our innate sense of gratitude and optimism, humans have probably been envisioning the end of the world since the world began. Many different eschatological scenarios have been conceived – some positive, some negative – and I cannot hope to deal with all of them here. But here are some of the most commonly known events that just might bring about the end of the world and/or a new age.
Although there is virtually no evidence that any Christians believed in the Rapture (as it is described today) before Margaret MacDonald had her vision in 1830, it has become a widely accepted end-of-the-world scenario. Definitely the rosiest of the scenarios listed here, when the Rapture occurs, the true believers of Christ will disappear into thin air as they are driving to work in the morning, causing cataclysmic traffic accidents that will set off a chain of events resulting in the complete destruction of the wicked and the end of the world. (According to some groups, this will be happening next month, so buckle up folks!)
Also called the “Singularity Event,” the Singularity has been described as “the Rapture for geeks.” Basically, the Singularity is when scientific and technological progress begins to occur so rapidly that we cannot even keep up with it. Artificial intelligence and robotics will ensure that we no longer have to do anything for ourselves (but we will remain in complete control of our robotic slave armies, of course), while nanotechnology and other advances will bring about the immortality of the human race, letting us make full use of our superior faculties by watching Jersey Shore reruns for eternity. (It won’t be boring because perfect beings with synthetic brains do not get bored.)
That is, of course, the arrival of extraterrestrials. Of course, their technology and/or diets will be completely reliant upon our inferior gray matter, resulting in a mass brain-sucking frenzy. But perhaps some of us will survive due to their inability to prepare for things like bacteria, hackers, and fighter planes from the 1980’s.
The trees are trying to kill us! Aren’t you scared?! Yeah, me neither. (Sorry, M. Night.)
The Gray Goo
Often presented as a more overtly negative possibility resulting from misguided efforts of scientists toying with nanotechnology, the gray goo is a doomsday scenario in which matter-altering nanobots malfunction and turn all biological material into something that looks like pudding made by the Galactic Empire.
So now for the vote. It doesn’t really matter what you think the vote is about: you could pick the doomsday scenario that you think is most likely to occur, your favorite one, the scariest one, or the funniest one. Just vote for the one that sticks out to you the most in some way.
I know that I tread on thin ice by merely mentioning the name of Oprah in my blog. I fear that the slightest misstep will lead to my utter and complete destruction. It is for this and other reasons that I do not dare post a picture of Oprah. Instead, as Muslims use intricate calligraphy to convey the essence of the prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) visage, I use the great letter “O” as a vehicle of expressing Her Greatness’s likeness. (Although “O” is the name of her magazine, I’m pretty sure she cannot claim that she invented that particular letter, so my team of lawyers tells me that I should probably maybe sometimes be safe from legal reprisal on the grounds of copyright infringement. Please, Oprah: consider this textual oblation to be within the realm of fair use.)
Who can tangle with The Great O? If anyone, it would be a (perhaps) lesser O: Ogra from The Dark Crystal!
(If you are a child of the 80’s and you never saw The Dark Crystal, shame on you for being an uncultured swine!)
Sure, Ogra is a bit less welcoming than Oprah: I doubt she has a couch for you to sit on (or jump on excitedly), but she does have a really big planetarium-thingy, and she does have the gusto to stand up to Skeksis and their arthropod henchmen.
So who would win in a tussle between the two O’s?