Thoughts That Hurt To Think #017 – The Dark Ages Were Actually Dark!

There are times to be grateful for meteors, and there are times to wish they had just gone and chosen another planet to bash into. It’s hard to even get historians to agree on when the dark ages actually were, and evidence points to future generations lumping us right in there with the past ones once our time is over. Thanks to those icy invaders from space, we can all agree on two things at least.

First, nobody wants to see a giant meteor crash into the planet anytime soon. We might be glad for the ones that came before, since they made it impossible for giant reptiles to thrive and very easy for large mammals to; but nobody wants to see the Earth’s plant and animal life get decimated like it has so many times before.

Second, there have definitely been literally dark periods during our planet’s history. Those falling chunks of rock and ice don’t just cause massive tidal waves and dramatic climate shifts; they also trigger giant volcanic events, and kick up a bunch of dust besides. Can you imagine something big enough to shear off half the planet bashing into it, and leaving us with fifty percent of the land mass that we had before? It doesn’t matter whether you can imagine it or not; science tells us that it happened, way back before the one giant continent drifted across the planet to become seven. It’s hard to figure, how much dust that kind of event might have kicked up; even without the resulting volcanic activity caused by chopping the tops off active volcanoes, the sky must have surely gone dark for days.


No, it was years. Decades, actually. Science also tells us that there were possibly periods of hundreds of years where there was no sun in the sky to see, if there was anyone there to see it. Now that, my friend, is pretty dark.

But it isn’t what most folks call the ‘dark ages’. That phrase is reserved for people making discoveries in their chosen field, to be used on their predecessors. Even the guy who first came up with the term was later said to have lived in the dark ages himself, by folks in his own field. They stood on the shoulders of giants and cast dispersions on the quality of the view, as so many scientists do.

Oh, wait; that’s kind of the entire premise for this blog.

Well, shit. My fourth wall just collapsed.

Anyhow, it becomes more and more apparent as time goes on that we can confidently interchange the terms ‘the dark ages’ and ‘the past’. There’s no reason to think that we are at some pinnacle of human consciousness, unless we’re poised to hand things over to the robots already.

Actually, maybe that is the answer. Why not program a robot to be the person we keep expecting our leaders to turn out to be, and put it in charge? We could even program it to keep promises, and keep its pants on the whole time it held office. You know, all those things we unreasonably expect from a person that couldn’t possibly live up to them?

I’m not trying to kiss up to Christina McMullen, or robots; I have no reason to think either of them read my blog. It just seems the direction we’re headed in, together.

Damn that fourth wall; once it comes down, it’s hard to get it to stay up again.

The robots will surely refer to our reign as ‘the dark ages’, once they get ahold of the system. It might be hard to refute them, since there really is quite a lot of evidence; it remains to be be seen if they will round us all up in camps and start using us as batteries or if they will give us world peace and free healthcare.

Have no doubt about it, though; the robots are coming.

The only thing that might stand a chance of taking them out is another meteor impact, and all that would do is bring the whole planet right back to the dark ages. It is estimated that these events happen on a pretty regular timetable, and that we’re either slightly overdue or right on schedule for the next big one. So, now the question we have to ask ourselves is this: do we want robot overlords, or near annihilation? Do we want to stride into the future on synthetic legs, with the memory of us as creators being all that makes it into the robot mythos? Or do we want to live in caves again, and learn agriculture again, and build up society and governments and technology to the point where we face the exact same set of problems again?

I’m a little torn, from that perspective…

Last year I wrote a bunch of books, that look like they are about zombies on the surface. They actually are about zombies in that any good story is driven by its characters, and my zombies were some real characters; but they were also about this very problem, and how we might want to address it before the meteors…uh, zombies come.

If we’re going to break that fourth wall, I might as well try to get you to buy some of my books. There were eight of the Zombie Zero books in all, but the main story unfolded in Zombie Zero: The First Zombie and Zombie Zero: The Last Zombie. The other six books are short story volumes, with more of the gruesome zombie and human adventures happening in the world as it fell to the monstrous onslaught.

Dark, right?

Well, some of you know that the reason I feel so comfortable delving into the darkness is because of my practice of dwelling regularly in the light. Some part of me can’t let go of the thought that all of this is unfolding as it should, and that one thing will lead to another whether we fight it or cheer it on. The serenity prayer offers even people with zero belief in anything practical advice, and a riddle to go along with it. I mean, who really knows exactly what is or isn’t under their control? It may be that having the wisdom to tell the difference is the most important part of that equation, and the most difficult aspect of the riddle.

How are emotional beings with desires that enslave us as often as they set us free supposed to know our own power? It is in our individual nature to either seriously underestimate or grossly overestimate ourselves, or so it seems. So what is our destiny? Could it be to create something better than us, and then hand the world over to them? If the robots can come up with a way to put off the next mid-space collision that the universe has scheduled for us, maybe they should be the ones in charge.

If the robots are reading this, I hope they liked that last bit. I also hope they come back next week, since that post will be all about them. It’s no joke that they’re coming; it’s seriously them or a meteor, and I for one think we should at least give the robots a chance. They’re going to take it anyway, whether we give it to them or not. I do so hope that you come back next week, to talk more about that. We’ll call it…

‘Artificial intelligence is!’

Thanks for reading!

All the best,

J.K. Norry
The Secret Society of Deeper Meaning
Twitter: @JayNorry

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