Monday, December 03, 2007

Are you ready for the future?

Life is short... or shorter than you might hope, than you might optimistically expect. Then again it can, whilst still being usefully short, be relatively long. I saw an interview on tv with Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazillian architect. He's about to turn one hundred and he can function adequately enough to be interviewed and to provide lucid and interesting answers ('Catholicism was cruel... I met all the most interesting people when I became a communist..'). That's a relatively long human life. The rest of us in the developed world look to statistics and then expect or hope for three score and ten, plus a little index-linked extra. If you're 23 now in northern Europe you can 'expect' to live to be 93.

So we all hope. No-one seriously 'expects', expectation is arrogant, it is tautologically presumptuous. It is not possible to say anything definite about the future. Even the Sun's "inevitable" rise tomorrow morning is only a close approximation to 'definite'. It's still worth worshiping Sun-gods over, or at least it used to be.

If you are at all educated, and even if you're not, our learned world-view is historic in its sweep beyond the personally lived, forcing our minds back hundreds or maybe thousands of years. History allows us to re-transmit a never-ending perspective on the Human condition. The future is largely undealt with besides a soupçon of science fiction and a dash of prognostication. The flat-earthers of our intellectual and power élites confine themselves to carrot metaphors, heavens and paradises, to look forward to as some kind of compensation for a life of toil, tithe and servitude. Or for blasting six-inch nails and your internal organs all over, and through, the shoppers at an outdoor market that the Man-In-The-Big-Hat disapproves of for some geopolitical reason or other madness.

To say that there is in fact nothing to look forward to is an uncomfortable, and highly liberating, perspective of the future. I can look forward to tomorrow with relative certainty, I can get excited about that trip to Italy next year with a not-misplaced expectation, I can fantasise about the big house in the hills that one day I will own and enjoy with, well, my highly developed sense of fantasy. The further into the future you try to optimistically look, the more that doubts and caveats creep in. I'm organising a huge party for 5,000 lucky people for January 21st, 2040. Every guest will receive a party bag containing a credit chip for 5 million Euros. It really will be the best party ever known. Tickets are €1000, first come first served.

So, unless you're over 40, or destined to have an 'unlucky outcome', you have something to really look forward to! You may well be dead in which case, I'm afraid, you will in fact have ceased to exist and certainly will not be in a heaven or a paradise, no matter how the Hats have been programming you. And tickets are non-transferable for security reasons. Apart from that minimal statistical downside have something concrete to motivate you in your toils, a reason to strive towards old-age. It'll be a real celebration of survival and geriatric advances. A feast of medication.
I can't wait!
Oh, and I hope to see you there!

1 comment:

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You probably know aboy this film by the great Les Blanc ?

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