The Stopping

No one knows for sure why it happened. Scientists, theologians, philosophers, politicians–the brightest wavelengths in the human spectrum–each had their own theories. Some thought it was caused by solar winds, or the reversal of Earth’s magnetic field. Some thought the electronic infrastructure had reached critical mass and tumbled like a house of cards when some celestial door had slammed. Some thought that the deities in heaven and hell had all conspired to teach humanity a lesson for millennia of transgressions. Others blamed invisible alien forces. But for all the postulates and conspiracy theories nobody had any proof, and without a comprehensible reason for it a solution seemed impossible. Communication satellites failed. Fiberoptic networks stopped transmitting bits of information. The modern world as we knew it came to a crashing halt.

The implications reached much further than anyone could have predicted. Television and radio transmissions ceased. Cell phones became useless paperweights. The internet recoiled into the darkness of cyberspace. Electricity and petroleum and the capitalist industrial complex all became obsolete, untenable relics. Even guns and firearms stopped working, bullets and missiles suddenly nothing more than worthless props. Money became an outdated meme, with bartering for concrete goods and services the chosen method of trade. The written word once again became bound to paper, meticulously handmade books and pamphlets. The sailing ship and horse returned as the pinnacles of locomotive technology. Community gardens sprang up in every neighborhood and locality as people relearned to feed themselves.

Without computational models and artificial intelligence to help solve the problem, getting back to the old modern ways became an optimistic impossibility. Lacking possible solutions humanity had to adapt, to figure out different ways of living. And lacking the tools that it had become so dependent upon, humanity had to look to the past for methods of survival. The old ways became the new ways. The wisdom of ancients became the blueprints for tomorrow. And while many assumed the world as we knew it was slowly and inevitably spiraling to an end, that it was flickering feebly like a fluorescent bulb on its last legs and about to go dark forever, in truth the sudden change saved humanity from a slow and methodical death by apathy and self absorption.

Nature always finds a way.

Oops (by tobyct on Flickr)

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