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 silent place. Maybe all humans are extinguished. Maybe they're all put in a stasis or turned into mindless beings. Maybe the whole world is put in a kind of temporal stasis. Whatever happens, it isn't good.
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. Humans Are Bastards is often 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 as mean and cruel as the antagonist thinks they are. If a final battle is involved, it can sometimes be seen as a Humanity on Trial kind of scenario.
- 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 1920s scenery, perpetually sunny with green fields as far as the eye can see...but nothing is actually alive in there.
- The title character of Noein tries to do this to the entire multiverse, wanting to integrate every time stream to exist ever into The 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 end result is the entirety of humanity merged into a sea of LCL where individual existence is impossible.
- 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 in an effort to prevent the Spiral Nemesis, a universe-destroying black hole.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this is the goal of Kriemhild Gretchen, the witch form of Kaname Madoka.
- In Naruto, this is how the Allied Shinobi Forces regard Madara and Obito's plan to create world peace. When Madara succeeds it becomes literally true—every human is wrapped in cocoons and suspended like trapped insects from the God-Tree's roots.
- In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, this is the goal of Ryota Mitarai, the Ultimate Animator, who specialized in making anime with subliminal messaging in order to inspire people. After Junko used him to trigger The End of the World as We Know It, he snapped and tried to undo it with a brainwashing video powerful enough to eliminate humanity's capacity for negative emotion.
- This is the goal of the true Big Bad from Suite Pretty Cure ♪. By erasing music from both worlds, Major Land and the human world, all emotions will be removed and everyone will be turned into stone. However, that would also include himself. Or maybe not? Since Noise is the embodiment of sadness, the World of Silence would be his end, which is exactly what he wishes for.
- Joe Kelly's Deadpool run. The Messiah froze everyone in the world in blissful mindlessness.
- In ElfQuest's "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).
- On a world visited by the Exiles, Doctor Doom had created one of these by eliminating humor in humanity. The Exiles are torn on whether it is worth it to create a crime-free utopia. Then Doom brainwashes them into agreeing with him anyhow. It eventually ends up with absolutely everyone on that Earth dead, because Doom made it so that the entire population of the world couldn't survive without him.
- Ra's al Ghul's philosophy has shades of this, where he states he dreams of a world "as clean as the wind-swept dunes" he came from.
- Judge Dredd: The goal of the Dark Judges is to create "a world fit only for the innocent". A world where there is no crime, no wicked thoughts, and no life. They reasoned that since only the living can commit crime, life itself must be the greatest crime.
Judge Death: You can't argue with statistics! On our world there is no robbery, no murder. No noisy parties to disturb the neighbors. No neighbors. No evil in the hearts of men. No crime.
- Psychelia, from what is shown and told by the main character of Empath: The Luckiest Smurf.
- The Star Father's Angylworlds (counterpart to the other Chaos Gods' Daemonworlds) in The Shape of the Nightmare to Come are definitely this. Every building or natural formation is reformed into uniform structures, and the citizens are forced to march in endless, monotonous lines, and if you take just one step out of line, the Angyls annihilate you. The only voice heard is the omnipresent Star Father. OBEY!
- 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.
- This was the goal of the Alliance in Serenity: they pumped happy gas into a planet's air supply, hoping that everyone would become completely docile. What they got was a planet full of death, as everyone became so docile that they just gave up on living. The only survivors suffered the exact opposite effect, becoming the Ax-Crazy Reavers.
- In Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this is what would happen if the pod people won, as they ostensibly do in the 1978 version.
- Pumzi: The citizens of the Maitu Community are silenced through dream suppressants which repress creativity and agency.
- The brainwashed conformity enforced by IT in A Wrinkle in Time.
- Taken more literally than normal in Chaos Walking. What the Big Bad is ultimately revealed to want is for the planet to be rendered completely silent, which is creepy enough, but becomes distinctly nightmarish in the context that the planet in its natural state is one in which all animal life (from the actual animals, to the native sentient aliens, to the recent human colonists) constantly, uncontrollably broadcasts its thoughts into the brains of everything nearby.
- The White Witch Jadis of The Chronicles of Narnia pulled this off in the final conflict against her sister for control of their world. She used the Deplorable Word, pulling an If I Can't Have You on her entire planet. She only survived by virtue of immortality, afterwards putting herself into a deep sleep that could only be broken by ringing a nearby bell. This was encouraged by exploiting both the curiosity of a visitor from another world and unease with the total silence of her homeworld.
- This is the main goal of the Auditors, a group of recurring villains. They Audit reality itself and dislike life, especially sentient life, because it's "messy" and unpredictable.
- In Wintersmith, Tiffany gets a vision of the world—frozen, silent, no death because there's no life—if ruled by the Wintersmith alone. Later, the Summer Lady shows her counterpart to it, which is 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 that eliminate anger, sadness, 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.)
- Referenced as far back as the first book in the series:
- The community in The Giver is a milder version. People still laugh and take pleasure in their activities, but, as Jonas discovers, it is all very superficial. When someone in the community says they are sad or angry, they are not talking about true grief or rage, but much shallower emotions. The word "love" is not unknown in the community, but it has lost relevancy. Jonas's parents enjoy his company very much, but they consider the word very generalized, meaningless to the point of being obsolete. If the community continues as it is, the word itself may be forgotten.
- The Wheel of Time:
- When Rand finally confronts the Dark One, the two have a metaphysical battle imposing their visions of the world on each other. Rand creates a vision of a world without the Dark One, who is a metaphysical force of evil. At first, it appears to be a veritable utopia where people have no concept of violence and peace and prosperity reigns. As it becomes clear soon, this is only possibly because by destroying the Dark One, Rand has also destroyed the potential for conflict, however minor. Every person in the world is a vacant shell with simple minds, with no true free will. The understanding of what killing the Dark One would result in nearly breaks Rand and almost hands the victory over to him.
- Two of the Dark One's attacks take this form. The first is a vision of a world which at first appears happy and prosperous, but in which conscience has been cleanly excised from the human race, such that no one feels the slightest bit of empathy or love for another, and any person will back-stab another if he thinks it will help him, without feeling the slightest remorse. The second is the Dark One's idea of a compromise or bargain: if Rand will agree to stop trying to redeem the world, the Dark One will stop trying to corrupt it and will simply unmake everything.
- The Soundkeeper in The Phantom Tollbooth enforces a literal world of silence by having all the sounds in the Valley Of Sound muted. It doesn't stop the people there from protesting.
- Nathema is this in Revan, since the Sith Emperor drained every bit of life from the planet. As a result, it is deeply disturbing for any Force-sensitive individual to visit.
- 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.
- There's no real antagonist in "This Side of Paradise", just spitting pink flowers who infect people with spores that drain them of all real emotion or desire. Those inflected try to convince everyone else to join them in their endless garden tending, by getting them squirted as well. On the plus side the spores cure even fatal diseases, giving their hosts perfect health.
- Jasmine turned people into peaceful, Jasmine-loving zombies and wanted to do it to the whole world.
- A group of demons manipulated a college researcher who was working on a machine to stop the passage of time in a small area by magically advancing his research and then making him discover that his girlfriend planned to dump him. Once he finds out about this, he decides to take the time-stopping machine to his building and activate it just as he and his girlfriend are having pre-breakup sex. The demons take this opportunity to modify the machine so the area of its effect will expand to cover the whole world. Angel thwarts their plans by unplugging the machine, ending its effect.
- Doctor Who:
Cyber Controller: I will bring peace to the world. Everlasting peace. And unity. And uniformity.
- The original Cybermen were created with this in mind. If everyone was a Cyberman, there would be no more pain, no more loss, and no wars, because everyone would think the same. This is why they think that "upgrading" people is, basically, doing them a favor; after all, all they're doing is trying to reduce the amount of pain felt. 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 Leader: You need not fear. Cybermen will remove fear. Cybermen will remove sex, and class, and color, and creed. You will become identical. You will become like us.
- In his first appearance, this was one of Davros's justifications for the creation of the Daleks. Having spent his entire life in a world stuck in a Forever War between two races, he decided that the only guarantee of peace is for one life-form to rise to the top and suppress all others. Of course, it was at least as much about him having the power to make this decision.
- Helen Cutter's aim in the third series of Primeval. She is only stopped by a juxtaposition of a cliff, gravity, and a pissed-off velociraptor.
- When Agent Mulder of The X-Files wished for world peace from a Literal Genie, every human in the world except him vanished, thus granting his wish through this trope.
- The "utopia" created by the Avatars. All the adults were Stepford Smilers, and anyone who created conflict was erased from existence.
- An earlier two-parter had the cosmic balance be thrown off, causing the main and predominantly good universe to become too good. It was always daytime, everyone was insufferably happy and pleasant, and even the most minor of offensives (like using your cell phone in a hospital) were punished by death or dismemberment and having to pay a fine.
- "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel, depending on the interpretation. Lyrics include these lines:
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
- 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.
- 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.
- Two titan avatars from Scion, Nu and Shu, want to turn the world into nothing but their preferred element (water for Nu, air for Shu). No creature, not even the avatars themselves, will exist, as that would disturb the stillness of their world.
- In Old World of Darkness's Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the role of the Weaver was to take the primal chaos of the Wyld and fix it in form and purpose. After going insane, the Weaver's goal was nothing short of crystallizing the entire multiverse.
- An unusual gameplay example. The card Barren Glory in Magic: The Gathering, which wins you the game if you somehow manage to create a World of Silence (at least on your side of the table). "The only perfect world is an empty world, with no one to sin or wage war."
- Warhammer Fantasy: The Vampire Monarch Vlad von Carstein wanted to forever rid the world of the influence of the Chaos Gods. A noble goal, but the method he chose (killing everyone and raising them as zombies, who don't have emotions and thus can't be manipulated by Chaos) met with some objection on the part of the living.
- Nagash, the First Necromancer, aspires to become a Physical God and extinguish all life, to create a world "filled with silent, unthinking undead, a realm where only his will and thoughts can think freely and without challenge."
- Warhammer 40,000: The early Necrons (before they were reworked to have independent thought in later editions) had a similar motive for destroying all life on a planet (down to the last bacterium): As the Chaos gods are the amalgamated emotions of rage, desire, hope and love/despair of all sentient beings in the universe, kill said beings will destroy Chaos itself (the Necrons being immortal robots serving star-eating Eldritch Abominations, they too are immune to Chaos).
- Demons in Dungeons & Dragons tend to want to turn the multiverse into their own personal paradises, which often is some flavor of this trope. Orcus, demon lord of Undeath, is the most iconic example, wanting to turn everyone in the multiverse into an undead creature under his control.
- Atropus, the World Born Dead has a similar MO, travelling throughout the Prime Material plane and causing zombie apocalypses on whatever poor planet he encounters. It was last spotted near Glyth, a planet in the Forgotten Realms solar system that used to be inhabited mostly by illithids. Key words being used to.
- In Bioshock Infinite, the Bad Future you visit late in the game is both a literal and figurative one of these, enforced by the Boys Of Silence, blind Patrolling Mooks.
- 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. Death is weird in Spira, so, because of its weirdness, he's not entirely wrong.
- In Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, roughly ninety percent of the world called the First has been consumed by the Flood of Light, an imbalance of light-aspected aether. Light in this setting is the aspect of stasis and preservation; nothing can grow or change in its presence. The rest of the world outside of Norvrandt is barren white plain called the Empty. There is nothing out there that can sustain life, and anyone who stays out in the Empty for too long are infected by the lingering light and eventually turn into sin eaters.
- The World Ends with You: In a nutshell, this is Kitaniji's master plan to save Shibuya.
- This is the inevitable final fate of the world according to the villain in Suikoden III. He is actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to prevent this from happening.
- Tales Series:
- In Tales of Symphonia, the Big Bad wants to make everyone into lifeless beings so that discrimination will no longer 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 realize 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 Tales of Berseria, The Abbey's ultimate goal is to suppress all human will and emotion, creating a world where people do nothing but work in the name of "reason" and shun all excesses and luxury. We get to temporarily see them succeed in applying this to one country, and the results are incredibly creepy, with old people flat-out saying they no longer have the right to live if they can no longer contribute to society and either offering themselves as bait for the Daemons or going into exile and letting themselves die, a corrupt businessman insisting he must commit suicide to atone for his sins, a little girl saying her pet dog should be abandoned since any animal that cannot provide food or labor is useless, and another little girl saying her mother deserved to be executed for stealing food.
- Shin Megami Tensei: This is generally the endgame for any Law-aligned characters.
- In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the Reason of Shijima aims to create this world (indeed, "shijima" means "silence"). Ironically, the usually-chaotic demons absolutely love this idea, since it means that every being will be equivalent to a god (almost like a universal Enlightenment).
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where the forces of Law attempt to create this world, a world where every human mindlessly sings the praises of God forever.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, the Four Archangels gently Mind Rape the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado to convince them of the need to sever ties with Tokyo, which they plan to level into oblivion with a black hole. Their endgame is, essentially, erasing wisdom and knowledge (in a word, undoing the Original Sin). This would trap all remaining humans into their God-sanctioned playpen, unable to even understand that there is anything beyond it. Ironically, if Mastema's words are to be trusted (while he is an Unreliable Narrator, he has taken a level in kindness since his last appearance), this is very much not what God actually wants. Even more extreme is the White Faction, who try to end the entire universe so that no intelligent life can exist to suffer under the wrath of God.
- The Fall in Persona 3 is described as this. Everybody save Aigis will have their psyches destroyed and all will suffer from Apathy Syndrome upon Nyx's coming, eventually dying due to being unable to take care of themselves.
- In Persona 4, this is the kind of world Izanami thinks the humans want. Of course, as she deduced this by observing Namatame and Adachi, one can say her information was a bit biased.
- In Persona 5 Royal, Dr. Maruki genuinely wanted everyone to be happy and sought to achieve this by usurping the power of a god in order to replace reality with one where everyone has everything they want and the more disagreeable members of society have their personalities rewritten. This comes at the cost of essentially robbing mankind of all its potential, as in Maruki's reality nobody would have anything to strive for or any desire to improve themselves.
- 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: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, the Big Bad, Kerghan, First of the Necromancers, has seen the afterlife and describes it as "an endless sea of mirrored glass where souls go to die" and claims it is nothing but eternal, peaceful bliss. Having seen this blissful place he came to the conclusion that life, with all its pain and misery, is an abomination and it is unfair to force living souls to go through all that, which is why he wants to kill everyone. Virgil, if he has undergone the events to make peace with his past, which resulted in him being dead for a short time, will confirm that what Kerghan says is true but notes that there are also benefits to being alive. As is the standard for Arcanum, it is entirely possible to convince Kerghan that his logic is dogmatic and flawed, thereby Talking the Monster to Death.
- This turns out to be the goal of the villain from Sonic and the Black Knight, through freezing Camelot in time so it will never see decay.
- Ar Tonelico 2: Infel's goal is to sublimate everyone into a Lotus-Eater Machine where everyone will "live forever inside a dream". Croix points out that this is little different from death.
- 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. A more complex example than most, since some people convert to the Qun voluntarily after exposure to it, and the point is made that Qunari society is maybe no different beneath the surface - whether you bake bread for money or bake bread because it's your assigned duty in the community, you still need to get up in the morning and knead the dough. However, some people also leave the Qun, even though that makes them animals to be hunted down in the eyes of other Qunari, and Qunari society has a number of fairly horrifying practices like turning dissenters into mindless zombies.
- Soul Nomad & the World Eaters: 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 Drazilians 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", which isn't too far off.
- In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, this isn't precisely the goal of Darth Traya. Her apparent goal (which is debated) is the total destruction of the Force as a result of her belief that galactic conflict is fueled by it exerting its will on individuals. 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. At best, it would result in all sapient life becoming as messed up in the head as the Yuuzhan Vong from New Jedi Order who went through exactly this (on a smaller scale) and never recovered. She was aware of the risks and willing to take them as she saw the Exile as proof that life without it is possible, although failed to take into account how desirable such a life actually is.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn gets to be similar to Soul Calibur in that one of the two gods in the setting strives for perfect order and, to achieve this, 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.
- It comes back again in Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers when fighting XN-L, who wants to defeat the God of Evil by starving him out of negative emotions to feed on, a plan that entails killing all sentient life. Asked what would be left after that, she replies with "Silence", prompting the characters to speculate at a connection between XN-L's race and the Einst.
- In War Craft III, it is implied that this is the ultimate goal of Knight Templar Arthas Menethil following his FaceHeel Turn, based on his words following his assassination of his father King Terenas Menethil, and the invasion of Lordaeron capital city by the Scourge.
Death Knight Arthas: This kingdom will fall, and from its ashes shall arise a new order that will shake the very foundations of this world.
- In the second expansion of World of Warcraft, based on what we see about how the scourge works (members are effectively immortal unless they are killed), with mindless undead working tirelessly on the scourge war machine and sentient undead, who either take sadistic pleasure in killing on the Lich King's orders or are disgusted by it but can't go against their orders, it does seem possible that they would have succeeded in creating a World of Silence had they won. The Lich King would have been the only one who would have had free will.
- It is also implied that this is what the creator and leader of the Burning Legion, Sargeras, intends to do once he destroys all life in the universe and recreates the universe anew without imperfection. Though there is no information on how the resulting universe would be.
- The End Time instance involves traveling to a Bad Future where Deathwing succeeded in causing his Final Cataclysm, wiping out all life on Azeroth and turning the planet into a barren wasteland. The only remnants of life are the spirits of several fallen heroes who are now trapped in eternal torment. Murozond, the villain who created the End Time, sees it as "a blessing you simply cannot comprehend" and seems to believe that by altering the timeline so that this Bad Future happens, he is sparing Azeroth (and possibly the rest of the universe) from some even worse fate.
- Sega Dreamcast Action RPG Napple Tale demonstrates this trope in its Hub Level, Napple Town. Normally bright and cheerful, it gets a creepy, dimly-lit makeover, and the normally-diverse cast of characters suddenly looks homogeneous, carrying on about how they're "complete" now. It's all thanks to an Assimilation Plot enacted by a character who seemed like a Trickster Mentor up until this point.
- In the DS rerelease of Chrono Trigger, a new ending is added in which Schala attempts to bring this about. Even if you win the fight, the party is still subdued, and it isn't clear if they stopped her or merely delayed her.
- The Holiday Star is a small-scale version of this. It seems like a happy, pretty dreamscape, but it was set up by a paranoid lonely spirit which lures in other spirits and dreamers, traps them, and then hits them with their worst fears until they give in, or else attacks them. After all, otherwise his new friends will have conflicts with each other, or fight, and this way they are so happy.
- A Miracle of Science: Mad Scientist Virgil Haas wants to Take Over the World and allow his advanced Artificial Intelligence systems to run everything, freeing humans from the need to perform manual labour... or make any meaningful decisions for themselves. Caprice compares the society that would result to "sterile clockwork".