What does Thanos teach us about humanity and its survival?

By Joseph Tumwesigye Mande

Thursday May 17, 2018

Infinity War Villain, Thanos 

Take a scenario. You have suffered loss at the hands of Joseph Kony’s LRA. You have watched the horrors of villages burning to the ground and friends being hacked to death by rusty blunt Machetes. You survive this and it passes. Then somehow in a fantasy reality you are snapped back in time by some mysterious force.

You wake up with abilities that make you rival the gods and the first person you see is a 12 year boy.

“What is your name?” You ask him.

“Joseph Kony”, he answers.

You have the power to kill this child and save hundreds of thousands in this timeline’s future. You look through 14 million possible future scenarios and find out that only one will save the people of Northern Uganda. Killing the boy

What would you do? The question of Humanity Vs. Survival will weigh on your mind


Those of you who are reading this have either watched Avengers Infinity war or you just don’t care about spoilers. I would like to make it clear that this is less about the movie and more about the real world.

The movie Infinity war is making headlines and breaking records world wide. The 149 minute film centers around a mad Titan (from the planet titan and not that he is a Titan..OK that is confusing) named Thanos. In the movie, Thanos is in search of 6 infinity stones believed to have been created at the beginning of time just after the big bang. These stones are immensely powerful and are tied to different aspects of the universe. He hopes to use them to take out half of the universe’s living beings and creatures so as to relieve it of the populations that are destroying it. The gems include the Space stone (first encountered in Captain America the first Avenger), the mind stone (debuted in Avengers 1) the reality stone (Thor: The dark world), The power stone (Guardians of the galaxy), The time stone (Dr. Strange) and the recently discovered in Infinity war, Soul Stone. These gems are master to the aspects of the universe they are named after (so, do the math).

With all of these stones together, Thanos is able to fulfill his plan to annihilate half of the living beings and creatures in the universe. Since we have all watched it, then you know that he succeeded. But at what cost

Just like the movie, let us jump into another scene in the hope that it will connect. When you are very ill, you may hate the fever, but in truth the high temperatures and shivering are actually a defensive mechanism of the body. What is happening is that your body has put up the first line of defence against disease producing organisms and as a bonus, alerts you of the impending doom. So generally what a fever is doing is safeguarding you.

It is for this reason that I use the analogy for Mother Earth/Terra/Midgard. The existence of living things on this planet deteriorates her quality just like a human body. The more you live, the lesser your body becomes leading to your death with old age. However, Malaria, Typhoid or even a cold could end you before you arrive at that point in time when you die of old age. Human activities are doing this to mother earth. Industrialization and environmental degradation among others are doing quite a lot of damage to mother earth before she can arrive at the point where she dies of old age.

And so it happens that we are the disease-causing organisms for Midgard. There is twice as many people as 50 years ago whose activities are not merciful to nature. So if you have not yet realised, Mother Earth is having a fever called Global warming. Her first line of defence is acting up and taking us out of the equation. Yap, the weather is turning against us. Floods, longer winters, and fires in multiple places around the world. Uganda herself is facing mudslides, and the recents floods should have woken us up a long time ago. Clearly we are the problem. The increased population has to be catered for. Mother earth is the one providing and yet, we do not give back. However, earth’s fever cannot hold for long, Terra needs medicine.

If it was up to dear old Thanos, the decision would be very simple. A massive genocide. He would reason that this is a fair and merciful plan because both rich and poor alike would get a fair shot, and the rest of the population would have a chance to live in a world without the strife arising from fights over limited resources. So...Thanos is an environmentalist.

To further solidify his reasoning, Thanos gives the example of his dear home Titan. The planet is basically lifeless in infinity war and he claims, which is a fact, that the growing population completely used up the resources. The end results was the annihilation of an entire civilization (he alone survived). He then promised himself that he would not let the universe end up like Titan. He began a crusade to save it and the only way was involuntary depopulation of the universe. So, unlike most villains, he had a pretty good reason.

Truth be told the idea is very effective. Taking out half of the 7.6billion people on this planet would save Earth. She would have time to heal from the disease we gave her and will therefore be capable of taking care of humanity for added millenia. The survivors would have limited conflicts and those would not be about resources. Populating the planet will kick off and the reduction in industrialization caused by the lack of product market would give the environment a break.

It is said that the great Genghis Khan killed an estimated 40 million people. This resulted into a positive man made climate change. He effectively cooled the planet, removing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Imagine that.

However, all of this at what cost?

Would you kill 3.8 billion people to save the planet? There are people in the world that actually see this as the only solution. 50% of the population is even too small to fix the problem of mother earth. Scientists speak of obscene percentages like killing off 90% of the world's population. An ecologist from Texas, USA called Eric Pianka came up with that number. Even movements like Church of Euthanasia (mercy killing) in the USA came up with slogans of “save the planet, kill yourself”. A group of scientists in 2012 suggested that one-third of the human race has to die for civilization to be sustainable.

I do not want to believe that I would kill young Joseph Kony if the scenario that I started this article with happened. Maybe it is because I have not felt the pain those that suffered under his terror faced. I believe that making such a decision is not for me but for a greater power beyond us all. This makes it clear that I would not press a button and painlessly take out half of the world. I mean, how will it weigh on your soul? Maybe your reasoning is different.

The earth itself has an expiry date. Let me go off topic a little bit. The earth will be destroyed by our own sun in about 7.6 billion years from now. If that is too far away, our Milky way galaxy will, 4 billion years from now, collide with the Andromeda and the chaos may take out our planet. Or maybe an asteroid may show up and repeat the catastrophic events that cleared out the dinosaurs. An alien race could come for us and snap there gauntlets on humanity. The point is that, mother earth will die one day. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from that. And most importantly a massive genocide will not end the fear of losing our planet because in a few centuries, we will be overpopulated again and again until destiny arrives (did you see what i did there?).

However, we need to elongate the life span of this planet. We can do it responsibly. The idea of birth control, control of Carbon dioxide emissions from industries, conservation of the ecosystem and and many more. You don’t have to kill young Kony, to save the Northern Uganda. Just change him and his mentality before he becomes the bad guy. These ideas will, with no doubt, take their time to Heal the World. And they depend on the choices and sacrifices of a free civilisation which in many cases will not comply.  So, if you are looking for a little more persuasive methods towards mother nature, there is “one insane one” that I found. This one suggests that we negotiate with Thanos and meet in the middle

An American biologist, researcher, theorist and naturalist called Edward Osborne Wilson came up with the idea of Half Earth. E.O Wilson proposes that half of the Earth's land should be designated a human-free natural reserve to preserve biodiversity. Well it can be done in 2 ways in my view. Kill or move people to certain urban areas around the world and leave the rest of earth to heal. The second idea is genius. There will obviously be over population in the designated human areas which in turn will push for people to reduce on their levels of reproduction. That is a bonus. In the meantime, the rest of earth would be healing and after a millenium, we could re-discover the world. Take back what wasn’t ours in the first place.

So, there are ways of saving the planet without losing your humanity.