We’re living in the future, now.
I suppose this is more accurate for the older folks among us, but the upshot of it all is that we’re living in the future of where we thought we’d be when we got older.
I mean, we used to see these pictures of teardrop shaped cars, and flying automobiles, and cars that transformed into boats. And to some extent, yes, that is the future. For the most part, though it still is. Maybe not with the teardrop shaped cars, I think we’ve been there, done that, and refused the tee shirt.
We watched “The Fifth Element” the other night. It’s an oldie, from those ancient days of 1997. One of the things that’s always struck me with it and other movies of its ilk was the portrayal of the future. I mean, spectacularly clean cities with flying cars and pushbutton lives really don’t exist and probably never will.
What exists in “The Fifth Element” and for that matter “Blade Runner” is that the future will look pretty much like it does now. Only in the future. Or maybe more to the point, not so much in the future as ‘many years from now’ since the ‘future’ is more a concept than a reality.
I think it’s a lot like credit card debt. We continue to throw ourselves into buying things with money we won’t have until tomorrow because we think we’ll have more tomorrow. We’ll always have more tomorrow. We’ll have more money, more cleanliness, more neat stuff – in the future.
I got news for you, the future never comes. If you look around you now, as I said, we’re living in the future. And yet, is it really that different than it was in 1950? I mean, sure, we have miracle phones that we can take pictures with, send messages with, make portable calls with. But, that’s one of those double edge swords, since it’s also caused such an incredible lack of privacy. I mean, we really kind of expect for people to answer anywhere. On vacation, on the beach, in the bathroom, during sex. Is that a good thing? Maybe not so much.
Personally, I’m planning on taking my phone and chopping it into little bits with an ax when I retire. I probably won’t, as it’s a useful tool. But it’s a tempting image. Of course, it’s not the phone’s fault, it’s me. It’s my use of it. Same with Facebook and so many of the other all encompassing media giants. No one forces us to spend hours a day reading about other people’s lives. Other people’s thoughts. Their opinions. And mostly unfiltered and in real-time.
Sadly, the future comes down to us deciding how we’re going to grow it. Will it be crowded and dirty and will we be living in tiny junky spaces? Will more and more of us escape into virtual reality to get away from real reality? And is that different from 1950 in really any way that matters? Movie theatres were a giant business in the 40’s and held tight to that for a long time. They were the only game in town for being able to escape.
So, what do we do? I dunno. Maybe we should make a pact to go smell the lilacs, grind some coffee, eat some cookie dough, go see Grand Coulee Dam.
Escape into the world and make it grow – our world isn’t defined by Facebook.