The Future Past
Slavery, pregnant women smoking cigarettes, having milk delivered to your house. "It's just what happened back then."
You know how there's those crazy things that went on back in the day that just sound so outrageously foreign to our contemporary lives that it may as well be nonsense? I think about this a lot. It’s definitely something to celebrate, as a signature of human progress and the successful growth of knowledge. But it also strikes me as something to fear, if we acknowledge the limits of science and the consequentially unknown impacts of what we might be doing now.
We are doing some weird and wild things to the planet right now that are undoubtedly going to be the subject of future generations’ utter disbelief.
Por ejemplo uno.
The internal combustion engine. Don’t get me wrong, I bloody love all things automotive BUT telling your grandchildren what used to happen under the hood of your car is going to be a tricky task. “That’s right dear, we used to burn little bits of petrol at a time and there were basically thousands of tiny explosions making the car move.” This is indeed a poorly-worded example, but case in point? We agree that electric cars are the future, right?
So how will we be able to explain ourselves in the deep wake of technological redundancies as alternatives not only continue to exist, but are significantly improving, and have been for a long time! Why do we take so incredibly long to change?
Well there’s another one in itself: money! Just how much longer will cash exist in tangible form? I still get spooked when I see people paywave with their phones, yet there’s a bloke out there who just got his credit card chip surgically implanted in his wrist. Physical coins and notes are treading a well-beaten path; another organism whose extinction we are responsible for. Our great-grandchildren are going to cackle!!! “Wait, pops, you’re telling me you used to actually give each other bits of metal and shit to pay for things?!” Their eyes will be coat buttons. It will be as foreign to future generations as bartering with animals is to us.
I wonder what else will cease in my lifetime, never to exist again. I’m 25, in one of the very last demographics to grow up without the internet. Giving that explanation to kids in 20, hell, even 10 years time will be difficult.
How much longer will another human come to your house, deliver some highly processed, extremely thin slices of wood, folded up with ink bearing messages from other humans far away? I feel like most of the mail I get is already auto-sent from computers, and it seems drone delivery isn’t far away from being the new norm.
(Oi Rolls, what's your point mate.)
Oh yeah, my point. Fossil fuels.
When will we stop drilling for oil? When will we stop burning coal?
Will we do either, ever?
It is justifying these very years, right now, in which we continue to do harm to the planet with no reason other than money, that will be the most difficult explanation of all.