The Future Will Not be Perfect

Now 16 months after my last post, you might suspect that the sequel to FUTURE PERFECT is done and off to the publisher. Not quite. The only thing that’s “done” is my optimism, my hope that humanity can come together and pull ourselves out of this death spiral that began with enclosure of the commons, through feudalism, colonialism, Manifest Destiny, globalization, and the destruction and monetization of the natural world, and continues through our current Weathermageddons-du-jour, ocean acidification, species extinctions, METHANE ERUPTIONS, economic mirages-masking-impending-collapse, governmental corruption and corporatist-fascist surveillance (1984!) and crackdowns, onward to a future hell that is anything but perfect.  FUTURE PERFECT was a tongue-in-cheek title, a nod to the tendency of utopian thinking to become, in the absence of democratic input, quite dystopian.  Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and when the beholder holds all the cards, cash, and capital, the future is assuredly less than perfect for anyone below, say, 99.9%.

So where does that leave my sequel?  Definitely in progress.  I write to make sense of the world, and the world is pretty chaotic right now. At the start of writing FP, I took a timeout to read (6 months, actually, to read history, religion, political science, physics & quantum theory, philosophy), and I’m deep into that learning now: ecology, more history, resistance theory, high-intensity energy extraction (e.g. fracking), and more on dying, Buddhism, extinction, Permaculture, anti-colonial literature, medieval preservation of knowledge, and alternatives to capitalism.  I’m intrigued by the difference/conflict between Resilience (the latest buzz-word for governmental, educational, and eco toolkits) and Resistance, and whether it’s too late for either.

All of which extends the sequel time. I do know some things:  the story begins in 2022 — a mere 8 years from now — in the eastern US. What do you think our world, our environment, will be like then?  Where were you in 2006, 8 years ago — what were you thinking, how were you living, what dreams did you hold about the future, about 2014?  Would you have imagined then where you are, where we are, now?

Hold on to your hats, we’re in for a wild ride. Pluto isn’t over, it’s just beginning.

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Life again imitating fiction

In the last post, I talked about the predictive nature of FUTURE PERFECT.  Well, I had some idea of the massive surveillance network required for a 1984-type situation, and I figured we were getting closer, but it still was a shock to stumble upon Trapwire, the massive spy network revealed in the latest Wikileaks unveilingDavid Seaman and Australian activist Asher Wolf have been valiantly trying to get the word out, but the mainstream media isn’t biting (and now that the Ayn Rand admirer Paul Ryan has just been announced as Romney’s running mate, the odds of Trapwire getting covered just dropped into Snowball-in-Miami territory).  Trapwire is described as “a technology solution predicated upon behavior patterns in red zones to identify surveillance. It helps you connect the dots over time and distance.” It’s predictive — think Minority Report‘s “pre-crime”.

Trapwire is one step closer to FUTURE PERFECT’s Meta system — just add corporate data (Facebook, Google, Visa, etc), throw in a little home videocam and AI, and there you go:  reality beginning to resemble fictional dystopias.