WARNING: this post contains spoilers to Marvel Studios’ 2018 Avengers: Infinity War
About an hour and 20 minutes into Avengers: Infinity War, Dr. Strange looks forward in time to “view alternate futures…to see all the possible outcomes” of the battle raging between the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc. and the evil Thanos. When Tony Stark/Iron Man asks how many such outcomes the good guys win in, Dr. Strange gives him a long look before simply replying: “one”.
Dr. Strange’s mental voyage into the future shows that the Avengers stop Thanos from wiping out half of the universe’s population in one out of over 14 million future scenarios.
As a lifelong student of philosophy and psychology—and, in more recent years, a futurist in-training—this moment of the movie disturbed me. Having Iron Man and co. triumph over the would-be destroyer of half of life in 0.000007% of possible futures is a rather bleak state of affairs (to say the least).
This got me thinking about the fantasy-based problem from a more concrete, futuristic perspective. To my mind, more positive possible futures than not equals better. I hope that this much would not seem controversial to most people.
Could one positive future be best for everyone?