Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Linkstorm: Think about the future


I'm at Terry's this week, and I ended up watching part of a special on how if...something happened, in a few centuries, sea levels could rise over two hundred feet. I think that the doomsaying is interesting as part of a thought experiment, but it seems like everyone's trying to earnestly see the future, and there are quite a few people who are selling them visions of the future.

Invariably, those visions of the future fall into one of three categories:
1) It gets worse.

All of the things that we once thought were good and pure and safe show a general trend towards being undermined and abandoned by society at large, and thus will be completely gone in time. There are more wars, Israel and Palestine are at loggerheads again, movies aren't as good as they used to be[Drunkhulk's review of eatpray love], people just don't get art or literature (which is fine enough until they decide they're insulted by what they don't  know), people keep getting Magneto wrong:

Metered internet, the end of the space shuttle program, corporate personhood, video games are going no where fast, computers are getting smarter and crazier, there's bacteria in rivers that saves the the cost of destroying the environment, NATO is just a bunch of slackers lately, and war is waged on the internet now and the US just can't squeeze a carrier group into those tiny tubes.

Man, stuff just looks crappy.

2) But then, things are also getting better. Computers are getting faster, more people approve of homosexual marriages, 3D printers are getting smaller and with them the promise of desktop industry, beer can be an exercise drink, people are still building crazy shit in their backyards, sustainable bricks.

3) It all stays the same
We might suffer horribly. We fruit. No one knows really. We've got revolutions in the Middle East that could usher in a new age for real, fruitful democracy across the globe, end up with new governments run by extremists, or even reestablish a status quo of corrupt leaders oppressing their people. Every asshole has an opinion, but not one of them saw this coming, and every asshole who ends up wrong about this a year later will still be offering up opinions on current events a year from now. Hell, I doubt that even the hit rate for predictions on what's going on in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia won't--when the dust has settled--beaten out the significance of a white noise generator.

We don't know. Life is chaotic and the worst crime we can commit against ourselves is fooling ourselves into thinking that anything is permanent or that anything should be. Life will change, but if you're never the one making the changes, only responding and talking about it, then it will never change the way you want.

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