I’m not good with deadlines, even when they’re self imposed. Imagine a scenario, if you can where I get an email at 9:00 PM telling me to write a blog and publish it at 10:00 PM. In this case, the marching order is, “Pick any point of time in the future and write about what you hope/think/fear/expect your life will be like then.”
And now I’ve got about 45 minutes left.
I think about the future all the time and it usually comes in one of two incarnations. The first version of the future as I would myopically envision it is like a music video for the Miss America pageant. World peace and all that.
Mankind has seen the error of its ways and become a kinder, gentler version of itself. The 21st Century has become a latter day Age of Aquarius, where peace drives the planets.
And then I wake up.
Right now, we seem to be living in the dystopic world envisioned by George Orwell in his novel, 1984. There is a Big Brother and the world is a playground for the oligarchs of ill-gotten booty. It’s not likely that they’ll be giving any of that up anytime soon.
There was a time when science expanded our knowledge base twice as much each year as in all the previous years combined. Science, it seems is no longer fashionable. Things are changing, though and they’re changing at an ever-increasing clip.
The changes no longer seem to be in the interest of humanity.
Barring some deadly disease sneaking up on me, I plan to be here in 20 years. I don’t know if that’s true of all the people I know and love. I think there will come a time in the not too distant future when the rules of civility, long on the decline will be completely abandoned for the rules of survival.
Shoot. I’ve got to pee. Be right back.
Whew! Just made it.
R.E.M. might have been on to something when they said, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” There’s a laundry list of things that I can name that would put an end to our TMZ, Keeping Up With the Kardashian, red carpet world and, yet I think that it’s going to be something we haven’t even imagined that will be the end of the world as we know it.
Climate change could wind up producing storms with sustained winds of 300 MPH. Not many cities in the world that could stand against that onslaught.
Ebola, or more likely a virus that is 100 times more dangerous can sweep across the planet. Or a mutated strain of immunization-resistant influenza.
In 1918 about 30% of the world’s population died of influenza and its complications.
Computer hackers could shut down our power grid causing disease, starvation, panic and vigilantism.
These are just some of the things I can think of under duress of these time constraints. The things I haven’t yet thought of may be immeasurably worse.
After the crash of 2008 we coined the phrase, “new normal.” Throughout the history of mankind there have been a lot of “new normals.” Some have been good, like the new normals of indoor plumbing, electricity and horseless carriages.
Certainly the Jews in concentration camps in Europe had to adjust to a very bizarre “new normal.”
Right now it seems that the new normal is conservative religious groups trying to get everyone on board with their beliefs. Here in America we call them the Religious Right. In Pakistan, they’re the Taliban. In Syria, they’re ISIS.
As the Highlander used to say, “There can be only one.” The question is, which one will it be and who will be able to live in the new normal. Maybe Charlton Heston was on to something when he said, “…from my cold, dead hands.”
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