Saturday, January 12, 2019

Worried about the Future? It Might Be Better Than You Think

Scene from Intergalactica.
To listen to some people you'd think it was the end of the world. Today's polarized politics, the threats from pollution, social breakdown, ongoing presence of nuclear weapons and other concerns hover over us like a cloud and nag us from the back of our collective minds.

Less than two weeks ago I overheard a couple say they were planning to not have children because the world is such a mess and the future grim. I'd heard this another time not that long ago as well, and it made me sad.

Yes, the are plenty of ways the future can play out with grim outcomes. A variety of dark futures have been written in the past including 1984 (Orwell), Brave New World (Huxley), Anthem (Ayn Rand), Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury) and Neuromancer (Gibson) are just a few of the classics with bleak tomorrows.

When I was in high school I read Nevil Shute's On the Beach, which left many young people fearful of a nuclear winter. Cold war fears led many ordinary people to build bomb shelters and stockpile food and water.  (I don't recall seeing any books in my cousin's bomb shelter.)

Which leads to the power of Hollywood in reproducing many of these stories, and profiting from generating more such grim tales. Dystopian futures is now a cottage industry. So much so that we fail to recognize the progress that the human race has made over the past 500 years, which is the point of Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now.

Other books also point to a better tomorrow, including this one that I just read by futurist Joe Tankersley, a former Disney "imagineer" who has now published Reimagining Our Tomorrows: Making Sure Your Future Doesn't SUCK.

Here's my Summary of Joe Tankersley's book. Check it out.
Since we're talking about futures, here is a steampunk-era fantasy story that evolved from an art project I was part of a few years ago called Intergalactica.

Meantime, life goes on. Let's work together today for a brighter world tomorrow. 

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