What do We Do if Disaster Strikes?

The Practice of Continuing Creation says that the purpose of our human lives is to build, discover, and create.  We discover new knowledge, build new structures, create new medicines.  We also create loving relationships with other people, with our professions, and with the systems and ecologies of the Earth.

But our progress toward these positive ends is not guaranteed.  66 million years ago, a giant asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula and wiped out all the non-avian dinosaurs on Earth.

What should we do in the face of such tragedies?  We should keep on creating and building.  And focus on preventing the catastrophes which could befall us… and/or befall the Earth.

A number of publications have given us lists of apocalyptic dangers.  Most of them cite the major dangers listed below:

  • A major solar flare, or a “coronal mass ejection,” strikes the Earth.
  • A Gamma-ray burst from distant galaxy hits the Earth.
  • Deadly infections – viral, microbial, or fungal – devastate the human population, key crops, and/or important eco-systems.
  • Climate Change, now happening largely due to continuing use of fossil fuels, causes coastal flooding, forest fires, and violent massive storms. Earth’s ecosystems collapse.
  • Global atomic warfare; biological warfare; and/or chemical warfare.
  • Monstrous political leaders rise to power and wipe out ethnic and/or religious minorities. Such “leaders” could also take over entire cultures by means of propaganda and media control. Historical examples include Adolf Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.  (Putin is near.)
  • Earth is hit by a “rogue black hole.”
  • Reversal of Earth’s magnetic field. The last one happened 780k years ago.
  • 252mm years ago, flood-basalt volcanic eruptions spewed out millions of cubic miles of hot rock (the Permian-Triassic Extinction Volcanic Event) that wiped out 95% percent of all Earth’s species and 57% of all biological families. This happened due to a large amount of CO2 emitted by the floor basalt eruptions.
  • Genetic engineering runs off its rails, producing undesirable, unworkable, nasty creatures.
  • Artificial Intelligence produces conscious thinking machines that take over all human work, and then take over all human thinking (as argued in Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity is Near; and as portrayed in the “Terminator” movie series.)
  • Nanotechnology Disaster: We willingly or unwillingly create bacteria-sized machines, which “spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days.”

What do We Agents of Continuing Creation do if such an event happens?  If at all possible, We Continue On! We re-build!  Earth picked itself up after the dinosaurs went extinct, and went on to evolve mammals including us humans.  And that recovery happened without any input from our amazing human brains. Surely, we could recover from another such disaster with our amazing brains… and with the AI robots who remain on our side.

Note: For discussion about how to deal with an individual death — the death of a loved one or oneself — see our longer Essay, Dealing with Death on Our Path of Creating.”

[Main source: Corey S. Powell and Diane Martindale “20 Ways the World Could End,” Discover Magazine, 9-30-2000.]