About Me

Pearl City, HI, United States

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Finding a Future*

The next generation; from the eCycle website
*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat 6/8/2007
as "Technology, peace go hand in hand"

Copyright © 2007 by Ralph Couey
Written content only

It used to be fun to sit back and contemplate the future. I remember with great clarity those Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazine covers from the late ‘50’s predicting that the 21st century would be a technological Disneyland, a life free from the mundane and stressful, having conquered poverty, racism, and a host of political and social problems. Those gleeful futurists wrote with great flourish about automated homes, controlled weather, and every husband commuting to work in his private helicopter, leaving behind a picket-fenced Eden in the country.

These were quaint visions, the Leave It To Beaver culture recast into the Wi-Fi age. Of course, reality has been far crueler.

The loss of innocence began with the ‘60’s; lost even more luster during the gas crisis of the ‘70’s and culminated in the soul-draining drug-fueled glitz and glamour of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. We’ve seen violence and poverty explode across the globe and our own country become the torn field of a political and ideological battle, a war waged with a hateful ferociousness unequaled since the Civil War.

Against that background, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that our view ahead has become universally gloomy and pessimistic. The future, once a place of gleaming technology and bucolic lifestyles now is populated by visions of conflict, disaster, and privation. Now we have people predicting that our planet has only five years left. And while I’m inclined to doubt short-term predictions that are cast in round numbers, there is nonetheless the distinct feeling that time is indeed running out.