Chapter 12: The New Primitive World
What would happen if the power would go off forever? I asked this question in April when our power went off for a few hours, because the electric company had to do some maintenance on the power pole going to my neighbor's house. It was quiet in my home. The television set was not on. I didn't hear the buzz of the refrigerator, or the sounds of the electric clocks ticking. While this was going on, I thought about how long the food would stay good and I realized that modern man is totally dependant on electricity. With this thought in my mind, I started thinking what would happen if the power never came back on. First, I realized that all the food in my refrigerator would go bad. There would be no more cold beer or pop. Since I have a gas stove, I could cook can goods for a while and I could hunt animals for food. If the power outage was wide spread, the water would finally go off, because there would be no pumps to pump it through the waterlines and the treatment plant would not be able to clean the water. There is an old well on my place, so I could get my water from that. People who have wells could live without water, but everyone else would be screwed.
If the power outage was permanent across the entire globe, then all the major cities would fall into anarchy and rioting would breakout like a plague. Without power of some kind, there would be no radios, telephones, or any other modern means of communication. Our world would become more local in a matter of moments. Many people would die without modern medicines. The police and military would try to get a handle on the situation, but without a way to contact our leaders, they would make things worse. People's anger to be without food, water, and Internet would be impossible to control.
Now, some of my readers might start objecting. After all, we have backup power sources. Many hospitals have their own generators and I have read that even some amusement parks do too. But, if the main grid did not come back on, how long would these things last? Also, I am imagining the worst case scenario where all the power was cut off. I have read some answers to this question that state: "Well, we would just go back to the way life was in the 1800's."
But, would we? In the 1800's, we were set up to survive without power. Those people never had the Internet, a refrigerator, a telephone, etc. They had lived without these things and they knew how to survive without these things. Even the Amish would struggle, because their economy depends upon people who live in the modern world. After a while the rioting would stop and most of the big cities would be destroyed. The amount of damage to the world would depend upon whether or not we had any nuclear meltdowns. Most of the survivors would be the ones that lived in the country and outline areas. Technology would be of no use to these survivors, and it is possible that they will hate the sight of hi-tech gadgets. With this hatred in their hearts, they might destroy any tech device that they see. Finally, the survivals will look around the world and say, "Now what?"
The answer is to that is survival. The survivors will gather knowledge through whatever books that was left from the days of tech and try to rebuild the world from those. Sadly, they will find that most of the books that described the old ways will be gone. So, the people will seek out the Amish – and any others that have the skills of the old days. People will have to dig wells, cellars, and can their own goods. Others will go back to hunting the wild herds and living the life that our ancient ancestors did.
Most of our culture is contained online and it will be gone. The survivors will have little time to think of their ancient hi-tech ancestors. They will be too busy working. We are the hi-tech ancestors and we will only be remembered dimly through mythology. Thousands of years will pass and the world will be divided between the nomads and the Amish or other farmers. It will be a strict society that will be religious with numerous taboos.
Some may say not so, it will be like the movies. Haven't you ever watched Mad Max? Of course, but the survivors depicted in Hollywood movies have a big city mind-set. These will not be the survivors. They will be gone. The riots and diseases will wipe them out. The druggie ruffians will be gone too, because they have gotten too dependant on modern hospitals and Narcan to save their lives when they overdose.
You might ask why will society be religious and have numerous taboos? In a word, control. With hi-tech gone, the people of the future will have to work hard to survive and there will be no time for the nonsense of modern culture. There can be no idleness or discord in these future times, because life is very fragile. Food and the necessities of life will be too hard to come by.
Will the world ever advance again? I imagine it would advance again. If whatever caused the power to go out cleared up, then humans might advance, but it will be a slow process. For advancements to come about men need leisure time to think up new technologies and philosophies. The people of this future may hate the old tech world and warn their children of the dangers of technology through mythology and fables. But, in the end, progress cannot be stopped and a new tech world will rise up again. Perhaps, our ancient ancestors had developed a highly advanced society, lost it through a natural disaster, and we are now rediscovering what our ancestors knew. This could be a cycle that humanity is doomed to repeat until humanity is no more.