The Future is Going to Happen to Us
Lots of stuff in my newsfeed today about "the future." First there's this little picker-upper posted in a friend's feed:
Cute, huh? Aside from the usual skepticism we should use when reading Abraham Lincoln quotes on the Internet, is there anybody so naive as to think we have a say in the future? The future will happen to us. We will have very little input in how it all goes down.
Am I crapping on your optimism?
So sorry. But seriously, where does anybody get the idea that the future is ours to control? Let me ask you, do you feel like you're in possession of "the now"? Of course not. Much more powerful forces have taken control of our present and future - they're even working on changing the past. I'm not sanguine about the whole thing, but this sort of ridiculous optimism is too much. In fact, I think optimism is the newest opium of the masses.
That doesn't mean we are powerless. But we should be realistic about how much power we have. This is my problem with Project Hieroglyph. No doubt oodles of money are being spent to figure out exactly how awesome the future is gonna be and they're hiring science fiction writers to further the endeavor! Of course, writers are very isolated people,
and while some SF writers have degrees in engineering or whatever, we're simply playing pretend when we imagine that it's their engineering knowledge that makes them good SF writers. The great SF writers aren't focusing on the technology of the future, but instead, studying the forces and powers that will shape the future. The best artists are studying the internal machinations that manifest these powerful forces - you know, like love for money and power.
So when you think about the future remember that you won't be able to change it, or affect it. But you can live in the future in a way that preserves your humanity. - mainly by understanding the immense forces that manifest our human destiny rather than the simple technological tools that operate within it.