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"Yes, there is pain in life, pain and loss and sorrow, but there is also joy, and the pleasures of growing and learning. You can't have one without the other and I wouldn't want to sacrifice either."
Virgil, Arcanum

What happens when the Well-Intentioned Extremist villain with a Utopia Justifies the Means thought pattern thinks that the problem of the world lies in The Evils of Free Will. This is a unique kind of Dystopia: a world with no conflict and no infighting, but in which people have no emotions and no sense of self. Usually seen as a Fate Worse Than Death for the entire world.

What happens here is that the world becomes an empty and, well, silent place. Maybe all humans are extinguished. Maybe they are all put in a stasis or turned into mindless beings. Maybe the whole frikkin' world is put in a kind of temporal stasis. Either way, you can bet it's not a good thing.

Usually, this is what happens when the Antagonist is certain that the world is a sick and twisted place and that there is no way to make it any better without a complete overhaul. Oftentimes Humans Are Bastards is a main theme in the story. Either way, it is up to the protagonists to try to stop the villain before it all goes to hell by showing that Humans Are Special after all, and that not everyone is mean and cruel as he may think they are. If a final battle is involved, it can sometimes be seen as a kind of Humanity on Trial kind of scenario.

Surprisingly, the villain isn't usually associated to a Freudian Excuse. More often than not it's a case of Fantastic Racism instead.

Examples of World of Silence include:


Anime

  • This was the ultimate plan of Emperor Charles, V.V. and Marianne in Code Geass, referred to as a "World without Lies".
  • The surface world in Texhnolyze is pretty much this. It's a serene village stuck in 1920's scenery, perpetually sunny with green fields as far as the eye can see...but nothing is actually alive in there.
  • Noein of Noein tries to do this to the entire multiverse, wanting to integrate every time stream to exist ever into Shangri-La in an effort to start anew with no sadness or pain. As such, Shangri-La, as viewed by the protagonists, is a peaceful place devoid of intelligent life.
  • SEELE from Neon Genesis Evangelion intend to remove longing, suffering, and loneliness from the world, via Instrumentality.
  • The Z-Master from GaoGaiGar wanted to save people from the despair and sadness of reality by mechanizing the universe, eliminating negative emotion (and every other emotion at the same time).
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had the Anti-Spiral who had his entire planet put into stasis in order to stop their evolution as well as the Spiral Nemesis, or the end of the world.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica this is the goal of Kriemhild Gretchen, the witch form of Kaname Madoka.


Comic Books

  • Joe Kelly's Deadpool run. The Messiah froze everyone in the world in blissful mindlessness.
  • In the Elf Quest: Siege at Blue Mountain arc, Winnowill's master plan involves merging Blue Mountain and the Palace into a space habitat in which all of the pure-blooded elves will dream forever, free from (literal worldly) conflict. Of course she fails (again).
  • Swamp Thing winds up in one in the issue "My Blue Heaven" after Lex Luthor's device scrambles his frequency so that he loses his connection to Earth and has to reform on another planet. There's nothing there but non-sentient blue flora and fauna. Swamp Thing tries to keep himself sane with constructs of plant matter in the forms of his wife and other people, but this amounts to talking to himself.


Film

  • This was the goal of the Alliance in Serenity: They pumped happy gas into a planet's air supply, hoping that everyone would become calm and peaceful. What they got was a planet full of death, as everyone just gave up on living, and the only survivors became horribly violent monsters.
  • The entire premise of the movie Equilibrium is a Utopian future society created by suppressing all human emotion and anything that might stir it up--through propaganda, chemicals and Gun Kata-practicing Badass Longcoats. This removes all hate, jealousy and anger but also removes humanity's capacity for art and creativity.


Literature

  • The brainwashed conformity enforced by IT in A Wrinkle in Time.
  • In the Discworld series:
    • This is the main goal of The Auditors, a group of recurring villains[1].
    • In Wintersmith, Tiffany gets a vision of the world--frozen, silent, no death because there's no life--if ruled by the Wintersmith alone and later, the Summer Lady shows her counterpart to it, no less terrifying.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, everyone is beautiful and happy. There's no war and No Poverty. The surgery that makes everyone pretty also gives them brain lesions eliminating anger and sadness, but also creativity and independence.
  • In High Wizardry, Dairine's mobiles planned to do away with entropy on a universal scale, creating a Universe of Silence as a side-effect. They're persuaded otherwise when she links her consciousness to theirs, allowing them to understand the importance of human experience.
    • Referenced as far back as the first book in the series:

  (I've lost enough friends to that one,) Fred said, (heard enough songs stilled. People gone nova before their time, or fallen through naked singularities into places where you burn forever but don't learn anything from it.)


Live Action TV

  • The Q Continuum from Star Trek: The Next Generation and later series.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • In the backstory of "The Return of the Archons" and "The Apple", mind control/brainwashing was used to make the population docile and happy.
    • What Are Little Girls Made Of?": An android decided to Kill and Replace all humans with androids in order to eliminate negative emotions like jealousy, greed and hate. Of course, it would also get rid of positive emotions like love and tenderness.
  • Jasmine in Angel turned people into peaceful, Jasmine-loving zombies and wanted to do it to the whole world.
  • The original Cybermen in Doctor Who were created with this in mind. If everyone was a Cyberman, there would be no more pain and no more loss, no wars, because everyone would think the same. The parallel-Earth Cybermen from the revival are similar; their creator's original goal was to prolong his own life, but after being converted himself he embraces the "life without pain" concept.

 Cyber Controller: I will bring peace to the world. Everlasting peace. And unity. And uniformity.

Cyber Leader: You need not fear. Cybermen will remove fear. Cybermen will remove sex, and class, and colour, and creed. You will become identical. You will become like us.

  • Helen Cutter's aim in the 3rd series of Primeval. She is only stopped by a juxtaposition of a cliff, gravity and a pissed off velociraptor.


Music

  • The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel (depending on the interpretation).
  • The White Russian lament Now All Is Against Us references this trope in terms of what the Whites thought the communists would do to Russia if (and when) they won:

 They want neither God, nor Tsar, nor pain, nor consciousness.


Religion

  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven is sometimes seen as this by critics.
  • Mormonism Lucifer's condition for volunteering as savior is that humanity surrender their free will so they can't fail.


Tabletop Games

  • In Exalted, this is what the Yozi She Who Lives In Her Name, the Principle of Hierarchy, wants for the world. Given that most Yozis have at least one body that's a world unto itself, she may well be a World of Silence.


Video Games

  • In Soul Calibur IV, it's revealed that this is the kind of world that the sentient crystal sword Soul Calibur seeks. Like Soul Edge is a sword of chaos and death, seeking nothing less than a world of endless warfare, bloodshed and death, Soul Calibur seeks to freeze the world into crystalline perfection.
  • This is Seymour's goal in Final Fantasy X: Kill everyone, so that no one has to suffer a loss anymore. We should point out that this is not the first time that Seymour has subscribed to Insane Troll Logic.
    • We should also point out that death is weird in Spira, and because of its weirdness, he's not entirely wrong.
  • The World Ends With You. In a nutshell, that's Kitaniji's master plan to save Shibuya.
  • This is the inevitable final fate of the world according to the villain in Suikoden 3. He is actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to prevent this from happening.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, this is the Big Bad's motive to make everyone into lifeless beings so that discrimination wouldn't exist. However, it's subtly implied that he's in denial over the fact that Exspheres strip people of their emotions as he and his main followers use them with no adverse side-effects besides immortality, completely ignoring the many Mooks who are emotionless. It makes a lot more sense when you realise that deep down the Big Bad has been subjected to a lot of Fantastic Racism and his single-minded obsession over a world where everyone is equal effectively caused him to Mind Rape himself.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, the Reason of Shijima aims to create this world. Ironically, the usually-chaotic demons absolutely love this idea as it means that every being will be equivalent to a god (almost like a universal Enlightenment).
    • Contrast this with Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where the forces of Law attempt to create this kind of world, a world where every human mindlessly sings the praises of God for eternity.
  • In Persona 4, this is the kind of world Izanami thinks the apathetic humans want.
  • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the Big Bad Cyrus wants this kind of world...with himself as a god. We find out in the post-game that his youth was complete shit, with the implication that his own denial of emotions was a coping mechanism. Of course, that doesn't make you want to defeat him any less.
  • In Arcanum Kerghan has seen the afterlife and it's a odd slightly benevolent version of this and is why he wants to kill everyone. Virgil, if he has undergone the events to become "Zen Virgil" will note it is true (having briefly been dead) but notes there are also benefits it does not have. As the standard for Arcanum, it is entirely possible to convince him that this isn't perfect and win without violence.
  • This turns out to be the goal of the villain from Sonic and The Black Knight: to freeze Camelot in time so it will never see decay.
  • Infel's goal in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica. In her defense, she does think that it's the better option for the people of Metafalss. Of course, having her loverpartner Nenesya murdered right in front of her doesn't help.
  • In Dragon Age, this is the whole point of Qunari society and the Qun, the dogma by which they live their life by. In their society, people are known only by their occupation/role in life and cannot deviate from it. Qunari society rejects the idea of free will, and see it as their goal to "enlighten" the world via conquest. Considering the sheer number of defectors they get whenever they come in contact with other civilizations, though...
  • F-Zero has a world literally called Silence, a planet so inhospitable that there's absolutely no native life. This makes it the perfect place for a supersonic racetrack, naturally.
  • This is basically the world of Drazil in a nutshell. It's ruled by gods who believe in The Evils of Free Will and therefore try and quash all forms of individuality within their people, much like something out of 1984. All Drazillians look identical and live only to the age of 30 so that they never have to "suffer" the horrors of growing old and ugly. They all believe in a dogma of "Live for the world, die for the world". It's actually described as a "graveyard whose inhabitants just happen to be mobile", and that's not too far off either.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic 2, this isn't precisely the goal of Kreia. Her apparent goal (which is debated) is the total destruction of The Force. Unfortunately, life pretty much runs on The Force, so the net result would probably be the total destruction of all life in the galaxy, which would lead to this. She's aware, and doesn't care. She may have seen The Exile as proof that it's possible to live without The Force.
  • Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn (10) gets to be similar to Soul Calibur, in that one of the two gods in the setting strives for perfect order, and decides that the people of Tellius are better off Taken for Granite.
  • This trope is used by name by the Einst in Super Robot Wars. Neue Einst Regisseur is an Eldritch Abomination who believes that his role is to preserve the universe(s), and the spread of intelligent life and conscious thought is leading to its decay. In order to restore a "world of silence", he starts by trying to find a way to "purify" humans, and when that turns out to be impossible he decides to simply wipe them out and replace them with soulless Einst duplicates. That plan didn't turn out so well, either.

Notes

  1. who don't believe in the individual
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