Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Looking ahead. Tuesday, August 10, 2010.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln

When I was a kid, people talked with great excitement about the 21st Century. “The Jetsons” lived in a round house up on a pole, accessible by flying cars, equipped with robots and machines that made life effortless. “Logan’s Run” portrayed a utopia – a glistening city beneath a giant dome, where there was no crime and no disease, and with only one catch – they killed you when you were 30. (As a kid, that didn’t seem like such a big problem – 30 was OLD.)

I was very excited when we celebrated 2000 (even though, technically, the 21st Century wouldn’t begin until 2001). I wasn’t worried about the Y2K bugaboo, and I really believed we were ushering in some sort of magical Age of Aquarius. The future was so bright, I needed to wear shades.

Alas, it was not to be. September 11, 2001, set in motion a number of frightening things. Not only did Americans become afraid on their own soil, and begin to distrust their neighbors of different colors and religions; the United States became enmeshed in two costly wars and the economy began to wilt.

Today, things are downright scary, and doomsday heralds peek around every corner. Will there be a “double-dip” Recession? Will we sink into a worldwide Depression? Will the cost of health care rise 400 percent? Will the streets fill with homeless people, once comfortably middle class? Will Social Security disappear? Medicaid? Will drug-resistant diseases wipe out half the population? Will “loose nukes” be detonated in our cities? Will we run out of fresh water? Will global warming result in the destruction of our coasts?

Holy shit! It’s a wonder everyone on earth isn’t suicidal!

If you’re an optimist, you probably aren’t too concerned. You know that many times in the past, doom and gloom was predicted and didn’t happen. (Remember when Mikhail Gorbachev was supposed to be the Anti-Christ?) But if you tend toward pessimism, as I do, you might be really frightened right now.

Among those of us who have made a conscious decision to live, we must accept the fact that we don’t know what the future will bring. And we have to be OK with that.

I’d still really like to live in The Jetsons’ house, though.

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