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It's the end of the world as we know it - what shall we do?

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Alexander Howard
1279077.  Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:33 am Reply with quote

Without repeating the entirety of Gibbon, the collapse of the Roman Empire cannot easily be summarised. Bullet points(or perhaps slingshot points) might include the inability to reconcile benevolent government with secure government; reliance on foreigners of alien culture to do the jobs Romans had grown to soft to do - in particular an army consisting mainly of Germans, Alans and Arabs; an imperial culture predicated on continual expansion which could no longer expand; cultural division; neighbouring nations' having learnt from the Romans so as to exceed them in strength; philosophers with daft ideas seeking novelty.

 
Alexander Howard
1279079.  Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:45 am Reply with quote

HG Wells in 'The War in the Air' imagined how society would break into village-based tribes if the banks were smashed by war so that the economic system, based on credit, vanished overnight. Even gold is no more than pretty metal you cannot eat.

In the modern world though we have forgotten how to live from scratch, so the people in "the world below the war" do not know how to weave clothes, and so when their shirts wear out they have to take them from the dead. (Wells had been a draper's assistant.) In the final chapters, Britain is a tribal patchwork controlled by whoever has the strength and brutality to rule his corner of the land.

A better cultural analysis appears in Mad Max 2 and Mad Max 3. They are meant to be action films but each portrays the eternal realities of human society outside the civilisation we take for granted: Mad Max 2 has the clash between nomadic society and settled society that has been seen across the world in many ages. Mad Max 3 Beyond Thumderdome has the creation of urban society and what such a society needs to work, and also introduces a newly founded tribal society, sustained by the constant retelling of a creation myth.

 
Efros
1279088.  Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:20 pm Reply with quote

The old TV series Survivors may require a dusting off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAyjkaFYnzE

 
tetsabb
1279109.  Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:07 pm Reply with quote

And, of course, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

 
Efros
1279116.  Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:18 pm Reply with quote

Or if things get a bit Vampirey The Passage by Justin Cronin.

 
bemahan
1279143.  Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:24 pm Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
The old TV series Survivors may require a dusting off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAyjkaFYnzE

Gosh, I loved that series. I think it was the first 'grown up ' series I watched. I would have been 10 at the time.

 
filofax
1279209.  Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:32 am Reply with quote

me too - it scared me to bits but I loved it.
Around the same time there was also a kids' program in which everyone took a sudden aversion to technology, and society as we knew it collapsed. I'm off to google that now.

Got it...The Changes, 1975.
I'd like to see that again. I wonder if I'll still find it scary.

 
dr.bob
1279297.  Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:43 am Reply with quote

Having spent the last few days confined to a sofa by lurgy, I've recently been catching up on the frankly awesome Cornetto Trilogy by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. If anyone wants a much funnier take on the collapse of civilisation, I can thoroughly recommend The World's End.

 
ali
1279382.  Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:08 pm Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
The Maori got there, so definitely possible in post apocalyptic scenarios.


Well, it took them the best part of 3000 years to get there

and they knew how to sail the oceans already. :-)

 
'yorz
1279383.  Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:36 pm Reply with quote

Maybe they lacked motivation....

 
crissdee
1279397.  Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:07 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
.......how do you deal with things like medical care......



This is something that strikes me about that scenario. Unless we get enough warning for people like me to lay in a few decades worth of immuno-suppression drugs, we wouldn't have very long at all.

 
bobwilson
1279650.  Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:46 pm Reply with quote

Ref post 1279074

You needn’t worry Jenny – there’s a huge amount of inertia in societal structure; the nation state will not only outlast you but will still be the norm in your grandchildren’s great-grandchildren’s time too (barring some deus ex machina as so often beloved of writers of future fiction). And within that the USA, or the rump of the USA, is likely to be the last bastion imo.

In the 2nd, 3rd or 4th century a Roman citizen might have contemplated whether the Empire should annex this or that area, or if slaves should have more rights, or even possibly whether he and his kinsmen might secede from the Empire, but it would never have occurred to him to question the existence of the Empire itself. Who would administer the
Quote:
things that most people agree are in their general interest if we are not to return to tribal warfare.
?

We exist in an exactly similar bubble.

Consider this – there was a Roman Empire, there isn’t now. There was no great cataclysmic event that signals “here falleth the Roman Empire”. The period that follows the “fall” is referred to as the Dark Ages. Dark because we know relatively little about them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they were an exceptionally bad period. There are very good reasons for supposing that “no news is good news”.

Nation states are a relatively recent phenomenon, and there are some serious chinks in their armour. Not least amongst these are “how do you define a nation state?”. We already have challenges ranging from the eccentric (Sealand) to the normative (Catalonia), and it’s arguable that the whole history of nation states is trying to define what the term means.

There is also the challenge to the authority of the nation state. Even the most ardent Brexit supporter would acknowledge that we have to come to some agreement with the European Union on standards across a wide area. And pretty much everybody agrees that waging war without an explicit authority of the UN is a “bad thing”.

I don’t see the nation state existing as a significant force in 500 years’ time.

 
Efros
1279655.  Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:24 am Reply with quote

ali wrote:
Efros wrote:
The Maori got there, so definitely possible in post apocalyptic scenarios.


Well, it took them the best part of 3000 years to get there

and they knew how to sail the oceans already. :-)


The weather was good, so they stopped and had a few beach parties. Perfectly understandable.

 
RLDavies
1280017.  Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:55 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
Jenny wrote:
.......how do you deal with things like medical care......

This is something that strikes me about that scenario. Unless we get enough warning for people like me to lay in a few decades worth of immuno-suppression drugs, we wouldn't have very long at all.

That was brought up in the (frankly wonderful) post-nuclear novel Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. It follows the experiences of a small town in Florida, fairly isolated from the war itself but not by the wider consequences.

One of the earliest casualties in the town was a diabetic woman. Once the electricity supply failed, she could no longer refrigerate her insulin, which spoiled after a week or so in Florida heat. Nuclear apocalypse killed her by diabetes.

 
Jenny
1280034.  Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:53 pm Reply with quote

That sounds like a book I’d enjoy, but for some reason my iPad isn’t allowing me to buy it from Amazon. Maybe because I’m in Germany?

 

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