A Brief History
On May 6, 2018, we ponder the premise of the incredibly popular movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Avengers: Infinity War. Specifically, the plan that super villain Thanos has for life in the Universe, which is to randomly eliminate half of all living beings as a solution to overpopulation. We turn to our creative and intelligent readers to help us make sense of such an apocalyptic scenario. (Note: See our article on May 7, 2018 for a discussion of real life attempts to limit human population.)
In the case of half of all the people and other creatures being killed with one fell swoop, no warning and no preparation, how many other people and critters would die in the associated chaos? Planes falling from the skies, air traffic controllers disappearing, cars and trucks careening out of control as their drivers crumbled to dust. Would the aftermath of such a scenario end up killing substantially more people than the intended half? Would Thanos or some supreme intelligence or cosmic karma force account for these incidental deaths and factor them in to the equation? What about the people in hospitals who suddenly had no doctor, especially those in the middle of having surgery? On the surface, it would certainly seem that such a plan would have far reaching consequences beyond the intended halving of the population. The sudden loss of half of skilled computer techs, machinists, scientists and other people of special skill sets could cripple industry and services, including utilities. What sorts of impact on industry and services could you predict in the face of such a random population decrease? How about the military? Depending on which service persons were suddenly gone, the readiness of our military or the other military forces in the world would definitely be affected, perhaps in an unequal way, which could drastically change the balance of power. Would a nuclear power see something sinister in the course of events and launch an all out nuclear war? We think that scenario is a definite possibility. Scared and confused people do rash and ill-thought out things.
The next big question we have is how would the survivors of such a calamity react? Many Christians would undoubtedly believe they were among the “left behind” in the Rapture. What kind of impact that “realization” would have on those people is hard to predict, but certainly at least some of them would be majorly freaked! For that matter, even non-believers would be inclined to freak out as well. Would panic consume the remaining population as people wondered if they were next? Would all sorts of public functions be paralyzed as people did not go to work and possibly would ignore all laws and societal norms? How many people would become crazed murderers and thieves, thinking it was the end of days? Would looting and rape become rampant? How would religious leaders calm their flocks? Could mankind recover from the chaos of such an apocalyptic event, and if so, how long would it take for things to get back in order? (We suspect a long time!)
By the way, Avengers: Infinity War is a terrific movie, 2 hours and 49 minutes of frantic action and spectacular effects! The cast is a Hollywood A-List and the jokes that are interspersed with deadly serious action land well, with a bang and not a thud. After being in theaters for only a bit over a week, the movie is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. As you can tell, we loved the film, as apparently do most people that see it. (Stay for the post-credit scene!) In the movie itself many of these questions remain unresolved. We are not even sure where the line is drawn for what living things get eliminated by half. Does this include bacteria? Viruses? Plants? Animals, and if so, which animals?
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
DK. Marvel The Avengers: The Ultimate Guide, New Edition. DK, 2018.
Englehart, Steve. Avengers vs. Thanos. Marvel, 2013.