How to Survive the Immortal Snail

How to Survive the Immortal Snail

For the entire context of this article, please read the following reddit post from five years ago that stemmed this specific thought experiment.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are 10.1k comments discussing this. In order for me to narrow my personal argument down and compete with the thirteen paragraph essays that budget the million dollars perfectly and discuss astrophysics, I will be thoroughly analyzing the wording of the post and set some much-needed prerequisites for the journey.

The following criteria must be understood:

  • You and the snail are 100% impervious to damage, as if a shield is around your body and you are immovable (if you and the snail could survive being smashed to a pulp or take any damage then you could both be immobilized, burned to pure energy, or turned into liquid. This makes the line of consciousness foggy and takes a lot of fun out of the process. No keeping the snail in acid, or fire, or a vat of salt.)
  • Emphasis on the fact that you “become” immortal, suggesting that this snail already exists and is already super intelligent, just like you already existed. The snail did not obtain the super intelligence, it just found out about the circumstances like you have. It is a randomly selected snail just like you are a randomly selected person.
  • Immortality has heavy implications for both you and the snail. You are not going to want to play this game of tag for all eternity and neither is the snail.

Okay, let’s jump in to the official survival guide:

For the rest of what would be your life if you weren’t immortal:

You need to concentrate on the now and live in the moment. You have a million dollars, are immortal, and a super intelligent snail is after you. He’s slow, he moves at a snail’s pace, but his super-intelligence and wealth renders him just as fast – or faster – than you (he can buy mechanical legs or hop on a plane or something). Time is of the utmost essence. That being said, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Be smart about it. The snail was already extremely intelligent and had no idea about the sudden immortality or cash. The snail knows where you are, but you need to figure out where he is as quickly as possible.

DO NOT – under any circumstance – wait for the snail to come to you. Let’s say you wait a week for the snail to get to you, letting it slowly approach in a field so you can trap it. It could be a clone, robot, hologram, optical allusion, twin, or ally snail placed to distract you so the real guy can sneak up and give you the sweet kiss of death. It may seem impossible to figure out where a super-intelligent snail is, but it can be done in one very specific way: you have to present yourself to the rest of the world as a god or savior of sorts.

 Just bear with me for a second! This will all make sense eventually. Okay, now you need to act very quickly before the snail can get his slimy self on some fast-moving technology (let’s assume he’s already being studied at a secretive high-tech facility and could get his hands on something like a jetpack pretty quickly). First, you’re gonna need a suit. Quickly. Whether you plan to stage yourself as a religious figure or dress up like a new superhero, you’re gonna need something that catches people’s eyes. Go to the most densely populated area near you as fast as possible. As you run through this area, make as much noise as possible. Scream. Get lots of eyes on you. It will help to blurt out some jargon about the snail or some existential threat to the human race. Tell them you’re immortal. Tell them you are their only hope. Run to the highest structure that you can, pick up something jagged while running if you can and jab it into your invincible chest. Let out the loudest shriek you possibly can when at the top of the building or tower of your choice. Give the people a few minutes to crowd around as you hang on the edge of the structure. Let go. Fall. Scream even more about the world-threatening snail on the way down so all the people taking videos can spread their witness like wildfire on the internet. When you hit the ground, everyone will watch you stand up a completely unfazed being. Take the silence and awe to your advantage: “As you can all see, I am not human. My home planet was overrun by a viral species that can only be stopped by members of my species. There is one on this planet, and it has disguised itself as a species of snail. If you don’t let me help you, your planet is just as doomed as mine!” – or something like that. Let it spread on the internet so you can be kept safe in the future. Now, stay in the crowd and tell everyone about how you need a flight to Antarctica and safety at all times. There will be at least a few people who stick by your side, and hopefully the police force or military will join you shortly.

While you’re waiting for the diplomacy of getting a flight to Antarctica (the only landmass with no snails living on it) to unravel, stay surrounded by as many people as you can. Although the snail may be close to you at this point, he’s not going to kill you in front of the masses that think he’s a viral world-ending species. His life would be a living hell if the people saw him kill you. By obtaining the power of the people, you are kept safe. The snail has his own life, and he’s not gonna risk being miserable just so he can win the challenge. At this point, you have basically won. Even if the snail sneaks up and touches you, the people will take you unexplained death as a declaration of war against snails. The snail has a family of his own, and he would hate to see them smashed to a slimy pulp in World War III. Now that you have the people on your side, you can relax a bit and build a high security utopia in Antarctica.

Now, for the future:

The people have protected you. You’ve been alive long enough to see your family, friends, and the entire human generation you grew up with pass away. Life is sad now. You have everything, because you invested your million dollars into diplomatic relations with world governments, but you lack connection. Nobody gets what it feels like – seeing those you love perish knowing that you will never get to join them in eternal rest. Nobody…except one slimy fellow who you have shut out for the past hundred or so years. Use your unending wealth to broadcast to the entire world that you want to converse with the snail. It may take a few hundred years for the snail to come to his senses, but he will eventually realize the scale of eternity and how you are his only chance at making any connection. The two of you become great friends – you laugh about the silly game you played thousands of years ago.

Because you are both immortal, the war on snails will eventually fade away from your memory. All life on earth – and any other planets – will die out. The galaxy will be consumed by a black hole. All light from the universe will fade away as heat death consumes everything. But you and the snail will have each others’ company. Sitting in silence, floating about, talking about the meaning of life. You won’t know what you are or how you got there, but everything will be fine…because you have a true friend by your side.