A hundred years in the future, the world will be fully plunged into a nightmare of rich versus poor. The top 1% will live in gleaming cities with access to unlimited income, healthcare, technology and pleasure. The rest of the world will make do with squalid slums where life is short, brutish and nasty. We find some version of this dystopia in so many novels (see mine here) and movies that it has morphed into a trope, and it’s now almost an accepted fact that society is on a path to a dark future that no one has the power to change. All around us, the foundations of that future society are being laid, not by all-powerful governments and mega-rich corporations, but by the choices all of us are making today, right now. No single entity or group is dragging us forward to that future. It’s coming to us as a natural result of millions of mindless individual decisions about the things we buy, the content and media we allow to consume our attention, the officials we elect, the way we spend our time, the lies we choose to believe.
What would our descendants of the far future, the ones who live in the dystopia we are creating for them right now, want us to do differently?
I think they would look back and ask us to stop making mindless decisions, to “live more deliberately” in the words of Henry David Thoreau, to actually think deeply about what we are doing and the kind of world we are making for the future.