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Rebulding a world by paranoiacs

Rebulding a world by paranoiacs

For gaming purposes I started wondering about a following idea:

Let's think about contemporary people who foresee some incoming doom. UFO attack, swapping of earth magnetic pools, asteroid impact, imminent thermonuclear war, whatever. Rationally judging - a case for a psychiatrist, although the problem is that a group is in thousand what makes that more a sociological phenomena. Then there is a twist - they are right ("right" can also mean that they were talking about absolutely different cataclysm, though they turned out accidentally prepared for the actual one).

Now they are among few survivors and effectively have to start rebuild a world and found their own government.

How would look like their power structure and culture?
After all you have practically only those who don't trust government. Would they trust their own? Would it quickly fail their expectations so they would try to overthrow it on regular basis?
How would ideological conflict be solved? I mean there is a long way to reconcile a religious fundamentalist and hard line atheistic fan of Zeitgeist...
Would the level of paranoia decrease following usual regression toward the mean, or actually next generations through both genetics and upbringing in society where it is the norm be also terribly suspicious and effectively create such a culture?

At the most basic level, humans are social creatures. Aside from true psychopathic dysfunction, whoever's left will band together for survival and propagation of the species. Whether it's a positively or negatively charged society will depend upon the people who wind up leading it, the people with the most forceful personalities, for the most part. Lots of movies choose the dystopian path, where a power hungry man or group of men take control and set up a tyranny/dictatorship, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. US history has a bunch of men taking control after a disaster (war), and they chose to form a democratic republic.

So, questions!
1. How many people survived?
2. Of those survivors, how many are your Event Predictors?
3. Where are they all from?
4. Are we talking about individuals scattered across the planet, or one group of people in one place, or something in between?
5. How much infrastructure remains intact (roads, bridges, water/sewer treatment, electricity, etc.)?
6. Is there any kind of lasting aftereffect of the Event (dangerous radiation, roaming alien death squads, toxic weather, etc.)?

Depending upon the answers to those questions, you can wind up with some very different societies.

Originally Posted by dauphinous View Post
1. How many people survived?
2. Of those survivors, how many are your Event Predictors?
Those who literary predicted? tiny bunch, however over 90% trusted them, the remaining are moderately sceptical family members and friends who just followed with.
3. Where are they all from?
Western civilization, mixed.
4. Are we talking about individuals scattered across the planet, or one group of people in one place, or something in between?
one place at start, however splitting because of quarrelling or looking for food possible
5. How much infrastructure remains intact (roads, bridges, water/sewer treatment, electricity, etc.)?
For game purposes I was thinking about of nothing left behind (read - they well teleported to different planet, regardless which story they were believing)
6. Is there any kind of lasting aftereffect of the Event (dangerous radiation, roaming alien death squads, toxic weather, etc.)?
No harmful effect, hospitable planet, earthlike.

For start gurus should be able to keep everyone in line. Just because respect for them, after all they were right and seem to know what to do. Presumably an election would be called within few years. The problem would be huge concentration of paranoiacs (US would bring high amount people believing that Bush staged 9/11 and Obama was a socialistic Muslim; my country would provide guys who are convinced that recent crash of our president Lech Kaczyński's plane was an outcome of an assassination) and people of radical ideas in all directions.

From distopian ideas it seems for me more as an ground for anarchy. (not formally such system merely a system in which gov is terribly weak and not recognized by big part of population)

So the actual idea here is that this small number of people said, "The End Is Nigh!!1!!!!!eleven!!!" and they corralled up a bunch of people who believed them. These people all then managed to get themselves to another planet somehow (manner not relevant) while the Earth behind them was effectively destroyed.

Your Event Predictors are going to be hailed as Prophets, most likely, and they'll be able to form their own religion based on whatever they want, so long as it incorporates some of the basic ideas of Christianity (because that's what they'll all be most familiar with). Everyone else will be True Believers, at least at first. Government would follow basically the same path. The Event Predictors will be assumed to have all the Right Ideas, so they'll have carte blanche to set things up how they want.

That's a pretty big ego trip, and they'd have to be pretty special, incredible people to not succumb to the temptation of power on that scale. Of course, they can also always blame things that go wrong on the rigors of adapting to a new environment, so the most likely outcome here is a sectarian oligarchy. Figure one of the Event Predictors will rise to the top through manipulation of one sort or another, and install himself as Leader-For-Life with religious and civil authority. Under him will be the other Event Predictors as a cabal of advisors.

How exactly they'd set things up is a matter of taste, but the basics are set. To begin with, the goal would be short term survival. Then they'd focus on settling in for long term survival, then they'd move on to find leisure pursuits. Tents + Hunter/Gatherer -> Houses + Farming -> Bars + [whatever]. Already having known life with electricity and computers, they'll seek ways to recreate that. Whether they have enough scientific knowledge to do so is completely your choice. Conspiracy theorists and those who can be swayed by them can be reputable scientists, they can also be crazy cat ladies.

I would expect splitting off to be minimal at the start. People busy trying to accustom to a new environment may bicker, but they'll stick together until they have time to breathe. It won't be until the Bars + [whatever] phase that there will be major splintering. I'd expect to see communities arise fairly quickly, though, wherein people form smaller groups out of the larger one, but it would be like neighborhoods forming in a city or suburb. You can only regularly interact with so many people, but that doesn't mean you want to get away from everyone else, it just means you have a set group you treat as trusted.

Major schisms would happen sooner, though, if you decide there are two or more people who fit the forceful, arrogant personality type within the Event Predictors group. If more than one really, really wants power and is charismatic enough to sway opinion, they'll create rifts, and people will pick one side or another, and you'll have multiple separate settlements. This will eventually happen over time regardless, as Machiavellian tactics get used within the Event Predictors, the sheep start to question things that don't mesh with their experiences, maybe people get taken advantage of and come to realize that, and so on.

Above all, keep in mind that the dissemination of information can be absolutely controlled, and it also cannot be controlled at all. El Presidente and his Cabinet can decide who gets to learn what and when, but gossip still moves faster than the speed of light.

That's my take.


Conspiracy theorists and those who can be swayed by them can be reputable scientists, they can also be crazy cat ladies.
Let's say the whole selection process would lead towards underrepresentation of the first group and overrepresentation of the second.

That semi-theocratic system is a reasonable solution. However, the general population should be composed of those who become sceptic quicker. Even if El Presidente would be more or less reasonable, he could do something as evil as water
No, there would be no running water for a while, though some similarly twisted decision can be made
fluoridation which can lead to his overthrow by justly outraged masses.

Meh. If El Presidente and his Cabinet can find something to unite the sheep for or against, skepticism can be delayed. I could easily see them going so far as to set up one of the Event Predictors as a Bad Guy for some fairly innocuous thing or set of things, or to fixate on some aspect of sexuality, or to find some native species or phenomenon that could theoretically threaten the tribe, just to keep the sheep outraged about something and not thinking.

It works here, after all.

Sheep? You know, El Presidente would have to mostly deal with people who are proud that they are not easily manipulated sheep like others...

So you'd lean that such group would not harder to manage than average society?

What long term development scenario would you expect? Next generation both among ruling and ruled.
(Yes, I know technology would be somewhere before industrial revolution.)

Originally Posted by TW Teczka View Post
Sheep? You know, El Presidente would have to mostly deal with people who are proud that they are not easily manipulated sheep like others...
Those guys are the ones most easily manipulated.

Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
Those guys are the ones most easily manipulated.
QFT. El Presidente and his Cabinet just have to work a little and these guys will be kept in line. Remember, you're talking about preaching to the choir here. The sheep are the people who will put them in power in the first place because they believe in the involvement of divine providence. The skeptics didn't come, they were left behind because they didn't believe in the impending Event. There might be a few, but unless they're really competent, capable rabble-rousers, the sheep themselves will silence them. Also don't forget that they'll be so focused on survival at first that nothing else will matter.

In the first few years, unless you choose to ignore alien environment issues, a lot of people will die. Figure they'll lose at least 35-40% from native pathogens, experimenting with local potential food and water sources, injuries, and other things we could ordinarily prevent or ameliorate here. If you want to ignore foreign disease for whatever reason, 10-15% is more likely.

In a good twenty years or so, they should have a well entrenched settlement, adapted to whatever is normal for the environment. I expect the population would be 1.5-2x the original number, majority under the age of 20. These people won't have any reliable contraceptive methods, and sex is probably the most entertaining thing to do around. Although we all know that childbirth is dangerous for women and infants die a lot without modern medicine, I think these people will know just enough about hygiene and whatnot to keep the mortality rates from those problems relatively low.

Side note: Someone will have come up with a way to produce alcohol or another recreational drug.

Considering the type of people involved here, I'd say there have been grumblings about how things aren't fair for 1-3 years, from the kids. These kids didn't see the Event Predictors do anything, and the ones who came along 4-7 years after Arrival are just hitting their rebellious teen years. By the time they were old enough to remember anything, life wasn't as hard as it was at the beginning. The early kids had to work for survival, but the kids that came a little after started having a little free time to play (and learn to think). Those kids are the ones that will begin to question authority, and they'll cause the first real schism.

How that plays out is loaded with options. There may be a Cabinet member that wants more power, and he could seize the rebellion, lead some people off someplace else with his Reformation to destroy corruption (or whatever the kids' panties are in a twist about). The loudest kids could be rounded up, beaten, and made examples of to cow the rest. El Presidente could decide to (perhaps pretend to) listen to the grievances and make (possibly illusory) changes to (maybe pretend to) solve the problem. The defiant kids could be banished and left to fend for themselves. El Presidente could manufacture some situation where a 'sacrifice' is required and force one or more of the kids to 'volunteer' for the position. And so on.

Of course, you're all missing at least one key issue.

The following disorders fit into two categories for a little Ven Diagram of.

1- Prone to causing the kinds of traits that produce "paranoiacs" for this adventure.
2- Genetic causes.

Schizo-effective disorder
Bipolar Disorder

Aaaand a handful of others. But you're looking at a population where a solid third, or greater, of the individuals cannot function in normal society. HOW are they suppose to function here, where there's not a catch-net of well meaning individuals that put effort into keeping them alive in spite themselves?

Unless your cataclysm has a specific selection process... it'll be a deadly deadly mess.

ALSO consider that the majority that are jumped over would be militant extremists in the first place. These people are not rational. I'd say a solid 90% of your selected population are destined to die before the environment gets a legitimate crack at them.


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