Who wasn’t optimistic about the distant future when we were young? I was a flower child of the 1960s and early 1970s. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Flower children envisioned a future that was based exclusively on peace and love. In our future, we would be living blissfully in harmony with one another and we could even have flying cars.
The summer before my class graduation witnessed the first men on the Moon. We imagined Apollo Eleven to be only the opening act of human exploration of the Solar System in our own time. After all, a year before the first Moon walkers, Hollywood fueled our imaginations with “2001: A Space Odyssey”. That was a perfect film for technophiles. It showed a future we could almost reach out and touch.
Other futurists predicted a future that was more wonderful and frightening. There was talk of bionic limbs for people who lost an arm or leg by accident or born without. Our meals would come as pills or in liquid form. Maybe that is the idea behind “Soylent Green”?
Futurists look at the past and present, then extrapolate possible scenarios we can expect to see in the future. It’s wise to balance visions of utopia with the cautions of dystopia.
Now that we have arrived at the first day of 2018, we see that some of what was predicted in the mid twentieth century has happened better than expected. However, the problems that were envisioned turned out to be more frightening than predicted.
The years that used to be the future have come and gone. They have revealed our shortsightedness and naïveté. Although we have technology and expertise beyond our previous wild imaginings, we often overlook the implications and effects upon the over all big picture.
Nobody can actually predict what will happen in the decades ahead, let alone the year or even the month ahead of us. We cannot even predict with certainty what will take place tomorrow.
We can take stock of our skills and dreams, then go about the processes of making them come true for the best future for everyone.
Happy New Year
The Blue Jay of Happiness is inspired by these words from John F. Kennedy. “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”