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Where has all the future gone?

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/26/08

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I'm about to turn 49 (in other words I-may-as-well-be-50).  I'm very  upset because the future I was promised as a child has not yet  arrived and I wish to make a formal complaint.  Yes, we have that  "fifty is the new forty" thing ... but that is countered by whomever  said "forty is the old age of youth ... fifty is the youth of old  age". Personally, I want that fellow found and hurt.

All in all, I'm really disappointed in the future. It's not what it  used to be. I went to Disneyland back in the 60s and 70s. I remember  Tomorrowland. I saw what was promised. All those NASA inspired  inventions!  The forward march of science!  "The Carousel of  Progress" was one of my favorite rides -- that big utopian pimp  festival of American big business. And Monsanto's Mighty Microscope!  Better living through chemistry, even if it did shrink us down to  the size of an ice cube and force us through the big sphincter of  our friend the atom. It's a Small World still hangs around but the  dolls are getting ratty-looking and the effects just don't cut it  anymore. And jet packs! Where the hell are the jet packs? Personal  aircraft vehicles. I was PROMISED! And the rubber houses we'd be  able to hose out and dry off. And freeze dried food turned into  piping hot meals at the push of a button. And AIR CARS and  MONORAILS! Where are these things?

I remember watching that charlatan Ralph Story (actually, I loved  Ralph Story ... everyone from LA loves Ralph Story, but in this  instance he lied to me!) tell us about "Los Angeles the Hovering  City". I checked -- LA is not hovering. It's not even flapping its   wings. There is no "community air transportation", no homes pillowed  on air balloons above the smog, no fun roller coaster rides through  shopping malls ... none of it and it really SUCKS.

Fortunately, the current future is so chaotic in the minds of most  modern futurists that they can't come up with a decent guess about  ten years from now let alone fifty. The futurists who make  predictions are all called "overly optimistic" and even  "hyperbolean" (and not in the fun McKenna sense) but then I remember  that two years before I was born, Sir Harold Spencer Jones wrote in  New Scientist that generations would pass before man would walk on  the moon. Well, not so much. Now Ray Kurzweil, apparent engineer of  hyperbole, is talking about amazing stuff happening. So is he too  optimistic or too pessimistic? Is nanotechnology the new floating city?  It's not that the future didn't  arrive -- it was just remarkably different than the one we expected.

Then again, the dystopian futurism didn't come about either. No one  is having to eat Grandma.

But what happened to the happy and optimistic future of the 50s and  60s?  Two words: Republican Revolution.   The sizing down of hope and the privatization of dreams.  The collective requires a common pool of information and resources in order to evolve.  The GOP mindset takes all the resources and information and preserves it in the hands of the wealthy -- which is how they are kept empowered.   We need to remember that evolution is a group process (but then not all of us believe in evolution). 
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As we face a new year and a new, very different President, perhaps  we have some cause for hope.

Even if I am almost 50.
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I am self-employed as a writer and internet traffic consultant. I have a degree in cultural anthropology. I've been married for thirty years to my college sweetheart. We have one son. My family has been in the USA for 350 years. I take (more...)

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