Friday, February 25, 2011

What Will It Look Like Tomorrow?

I just learned that in terms of circulation Popular Science is the fourth largest men's magazine in the U.S. It's core philosophy is that the future looks bright because of the possibilities of science and technology. Can it be?

This month's cover of Popular Science features a rocket flying through outer space with large bold letters in orange that read, AFTER EARTH. And a subtitle, The Case for Populating the Universe and How We'll Get There.

If the past century contains any lessons, it's certainly shown us what humankind is capable of in the realm of science and technology, from the elimination of once killer diseases to Dolly the cloned ewe. We can also see a century that included incomprehensible genocidal horrors and rampant militarization, always in the name of peace.

Global prosperity has been unprecedented in terms of wealth creation, and economic disparity has also been part of the package, both amongst nations and amongst individuals. Books like Aftershock by David Widemer tout dire warnings about the coming collapse of the economy and the bankrupting of America which leads one to believe those space ships headed to galaxies beyond will be populated by Asians.

So the big question about the future is not whether our farmers can feed us, but to what extent the politicians will mess with things so as to leave our global compatriots hungry or starving. Currently a lot of once productive farmland is being diverted to the production of energy. While art collectors pay millions for the next available Picasso, there are hundreds of millions around the world living in shantytowns with inadequate food, water or basic necessities.

I know that optimism is what keeps us going, but even though the future remains a foggy haze, it's easy to identify with those who see a future that is grim.

We're a complicated people,
a mixed and crazy breed.
We can always blame our parents
for we're all of Adam's see,
though in fact it changes nothing
and there's nothing guaranteed.
The future remains unwrit.

The species dreams a dream,
all the bounds unspecified;
horizons stretch from berm to beam
with hearts can-opened wide;
though nothing makes much sense to us
there's much left to decide.
The future remains unwrit.

The grand and glorious grief
of heroes' anguish, spent
unwinding numb sensation,
reflecting inelegant
the image stream of crisis
without form, impermanent.
The future remains unwrit.

No matter how you cut it
there's a strange, weird story here.
Denials, accusations,
obfuscations and veneer --
no final answers given,
all the songs sound insincere.
The future remains unwrit.

Till next....

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