They met in utter secrecy, not in person but in cyberspace, protected with AES-256 encryption, the highest level available for their purposes. They did not know who the others were, as the protocols of their endeavor would not allow the possibility that one could betray the other: they were in The Dark. In the previous decades, as the evidence gathered that the human world was on a trajectory that was utterly unsustainable and fatal to itself, and to almost all present life forms, they had slowly coalesced into a secret grouping, broken off from those which gathered at Davos, or the Bohemian Grove, where the most powerful of governmental and business met to coordinate their global plans, and the less significant but still important G7 gatherings, as well as other gatherings where far more discreetly global matters were explored.
Albert Pinkham Ryder
Among them were a wide range of souls, of many walks of life – not merely the wealthy and powerful in economic and political terms, but the wealthy in real knowledge: scientists, social thinkers, engineers, historians and even poets. Their mission, as they saw it, was to act as the Dark Force of the Earth, an invisible element which was unknown and one could not see, but necessarily was required to maintain their species’ existence.
Thorough research had been done, reaching back decades, centuries, but in reality through millennia. These researches all arrived to the same conclusion: that the species had been seduced by its own cleverness, its intellectual wizardry, and evolved to a point in which it was utterly blind to the true world, to its own vanity, and in consequence was on the verge of destroying the very grounds of its own existence.
The existing structures of human culture and its societies – its political, economic and social systems were all deeply immune to all forms of customary persuasion. Its beliefs were cult-like, though treated as a form of materialism they were in effect “religious.” They were, as the slaves in Plato’s cave, trapped in a deeply complex illusion which they themselves had produced. Enraptured by the chimera they had constructed, they were utterly addicted to hubris, dazzled by the cornucopia of their technical prowess. They could communicate with one another in an instant, from one part of the globe to the other, or even to other planetary bodies. They could build crystal towers which dwarfed those of earlier human efforts, and had woven a dense skein of wires, pipes, and electrical fields which covered the earth and prodded it to their will. They could modify their bodies for aesthetic or utilitarian purposes. In their own minds the world they had built was truly amazing, the astounding consequence of their own highly prized and touted genius.
In their researches they studied human history and saw a constant pattern of rises and falls, civilizations such as the Maya, or the Early Egyptian, which had on their localized level developed sophisticated urban societies, raising pyramids and towers, and complex social systems, agricultural and manufacturing methods, only to destroy their own environment leading to a sudden, rapid collapse, leaving only traces of themselves. The researches saw this exact pattern in the present day world, but on a vast global scale, and making on a similar scale the exact same mistakes as had been done in the past. And now the myriad forces of decay in our own societies were converging, leading towards a colossal global catastrophe.
Accepting that the customary tools which might be utilized to change this lemming charge were hopeless, and that no politician or political system could propose what was truly necessary, so influenced were they by the economic and social forces and beliefs which had produced them and the problems at hand, the Dark Force initially examined the various traditional methodologies. One habitual recourse had historically been war, but in this time a war would let lose not only the dogs, but also a lethal exchange which would extinguish the species completely, as well as all present forms of life. This was ruled out.
Among the traditional means were famine, which in fact was already occurring owing to the irrational modes of industrialized agriculture, which had for nearly a century ravaged the land under the rubric, “The Green Revolution,” and was certain to expand as vast areas of the earth had already been rendered sterile for agriculture. In typical capitalist and “communist” fashion this methodology sought short-term gains in the form of bumper crops from the use of irrigation, pesticides, fertilizers and GMO plant-life, at the expense of the future. This method of agricultural production, in combination with modern medical practices, had led in turn to a profound over-population, which, as the food supply dwindled, could not be accommodated, resulting, along with small resource wars, in massive migratory movements of people seeking survival in the world’s richest areas – Europe and North America. Famine had been since the beginning of human civilization one of the tools weaponized in times of war or other major civil disturbances, as in the British forced famine in Bengal in the late 1940’s. Sieges, which provoked localized famine, had been used for thousands of years. Famine was already in play.
Victims of British deliberate famine policies in Bengal
The Dark Force explored alternative means, ones which could be readily disguised, and would work to provoke the virtually instantaneous change which the species required to avert a complete erasure of itself. To succeed, that method would have to appear “natural” rather than a human made policy, which would reek of “politics” and in turn provoke harsh resistance. It would have to work swiftly, to rapidly re-arrange social relations and with it all material relations. In consequence it would also require a disruption so forceful that the necessary culling of the species – for it had reproduced itself heedless to the real costs and so enthralled with its technological means that it imagined it could engineer its way to forcing the earth to host 10 billion and more humans – would occur at some levels. And it would require that it be applied globally, regardless of the political systems and other localized realities, such that the entire world would effect the necessary changes.
After due consideration, the task of developing a viral tool, one that was already known and taken as “natural” was chosen as the most likely to work as intended. It was one that would be lethal enough to prompt civil and governmental attention, and potentially dangerous enough to provoke major social responses – quarantining, closing down of industries, a radical if seemingly temporary shift in almost all aspects of society. A task force of suitable expertise was assigned to produce such a mechanism and to study the most effective way for its application. It was decided, that once it had been developed, that in order to best mask its source, it should be initiated in a locale already known for similar such phenomenon. Serendipitously, this also proved to be a locale which was one of the major offenders on ecological and population-size matters, but also had had, deep into its history, authoritarian governments and a largely compliant populace which would obey whatever strictures were required. It was a setting where it was probable that at the outset there would be an attempt to cover up the initial process, though there were many places in the world where this might also be the case. This period would give ample time for the viral tool to be unknowingly taken around the globe by normal transportation systems in effect in this time.
Philip Guston, “Shoe Heads”
Given the nature of corona-type viral mechanisms, the release was made in autumn, which would provide ample time for the spread, and optimal weather for self-breeding. As studies showed most traffic of all kinds historically moves horizontally, it was assumed the virus would spread through the northern hemisphere most rapidly and as the autumn of the southern hemisphere commenced would be established there in sufficient force to leverage the coming winter months. It was hoped and intended that this slow global roll-out would last at least six months or more, time enough to provoke extremely severe economic damages, such that the world’s industrial machine would be brought to its knees.
It was considered that the total roll-out would last a year, a speed fast enough to provoke a sharp social and politically appropriate response – the quarantines, closure of all but utterly necessary goods (food, water, electricity), and a sufficient number of deaths to instill a profound fear in not only the general populace, but in the ruling elites who would realize that they had actually lost control. It was intended that in that year the initial process of dismantling the toxic reality which the species had developed would commence by default. Shortages which were a natural by-product of the closure of the industrial mechanism would be drastic, but in such an emergency setting they would hopefully be somewhat manageable – more by directly local actions than overseen by a now thoroughly discredited global economic and political elite of all political persuasions. The period would be sufficiently long for ground-up reorganization of society to take its first steps. It was anticipated that the normal human behavioral processes would be enacted, albeit in an exaggerated manner owing to the extreme stresses imposed across the entire populace.
NYC,1918 Spanish Flu pandemic
An initial phase of incomprehension and denial would have much of the public thinking this rupture was temporary and that in some relatively short period, things would pick-up and resume as it had been before. This would probably last some months. In personal psychology this is a period of denial and it would surely be reflected in the broad public behavior – willing compliance with whatever protective regulations were applied.
As the reality began to sink in, and the public would realize that things would not return to as it had been, and there would be a deep anger, an inchoate sense of loss. This would be the socially riskiest time, as the anger would most likely to be misdirected purposefully by interested parties or by the natural human social tendency to seek scapegoats, to deflect self-responsibility. It is also the time when the discredited authorities would be most tempted to impose police-state measures, much more so than previously. In America this could readily shift into a chaotic mode of civil war, made worse by the profound lack of social cohesion which was already present, coupled with the wide presence of small arms. A break down of this sort would most probably force the government to attempt to institute a mode of martial law, however discredited those imposing this would be. Historical parallels suggest a less than sanguine passage. It would be bloody.
Emerging from the phase of anger, there would be a broad acceptance that the collapsed world which had merely a year before existed and was thought to be “normal” had in fact been a profound failure, the source of the trauma now being suffered. The former ruling elites, most surely defending themselves and their positions, would fall into rapid retreat, the illusionary sources of their powers having been revealed. Palace guards would turn on their masters. Some would be subjected to summary public justice and execution where ever found.
Drawing by Stephen Lack
As a “new world” was born from the wreckage of the old, it was considered there would be a slow and painful acceptance that indeed the old ways would not return and that, however high the costs had been in making this profound change, it was both necessary and for the better. There had been a deep culling of humanity, with many of the old and sick – even if they did not perceive their own sickness – being cut down in part by the virus, but also from their prior illnesses, and from the wide effects of social dissolution. Such a culling would never have been politically possible outside of war, but in the hands of “nature” it became acceptable and a necessary step was taken. The human herd dropped, over the period of a some years, from 8 billion to 5 billion.
The irrational practices of the prior system were exposed for what they were, deeply damaging techniques which had been developed not organically, but by the dictates of abstract systems detached from the real world of physics, biology, from nature itself. Ideologies, which resided in theoretical terms, but when acted out socially proved deeply flawed as they were human constructs which never considered that as human ideas they were inherently self-deluded. They were themselves a form of viral attack which had overtaken the entire globe and was in process of killing the biological essence of life. To salvage a livable world, the mechanisms which were making it an unlivable one had to be destroyed. Dismantling it was, from within its own structures, impossible by political or economic means residing within it – it was necessary to do so by an attack from outside.
The Dark Force was intelligent enough to know what it could and should do, but was wise enough to know that once it had set in motion its plan the end result was open, and could go in many directions, including ones which would be highly undesirable. But failure to make an attempt to re-direct the trajectory of the human project, and let what had been deemed “normal” continue was a sure suicide for the human species and nearly all the anthropocene epoch’s life forms. The Dark Force’s project offered only a window, a chance, for human survival by salvaging a living planet. It did not guarantee it. That they knew.