Oh, oh. It’s THAT post.
Earth is an amazing place even without humans. But humans – they are amazing in their own ways too. Human imagination and the technology that comes from it changes everything. From stone tools to ethernet humans create new worlds around our world (of course not always for the better but that’s a topic for another day).
So here we are changing again. The issues are complicated and contradictory. For example: along with living longer than any human generations in history comes the cost, the literal cost. of doing this. And looking to past methods for dealing with health care can’t directly inform our policies for the future because everything about medical care is different than it was even 25 years ago. Never before have humans had the ability to intervene in so many medical situations for the better – as long as the money is there to pay for the medical knowledge and pharmaceuticals. How does society adjust to this new reality? By ignoring it and pretending it’s still 1946? Have a cigarette and your throat will feel better…
A few other examples: online shopping will eventually mean that service sector employment will diminish. Self driving vehicles will eventually mean job loss at a massive scale for one of the most reliable catch-all industries – trucking.
Buying books online, buying ebooks, NOT buying books but binge watching Netflix. It all changes.
And it’s often scary. And confusing. Especially as we age. Things were just so much BETTER when we were young, right?
No, that’s not true but those bygone days represent something more important than BETTER. They represent times we felt we were in control because, and here’s the contradiction, because they are in the past! We are comfortable with what we have already experienced. We make sense of things in the past because we have already experienced and ‘mastered’ them. We can look back and see the outcome of events that at the time were scary. And we can say, “It worked out.”
We can’t do that about the future and especially when the future is speeding at us at a million miles an hour via technological change unprecedented in human history.
But the future is where we belong. Not the past. Look forward, work to move forward. The past is – past. Maybe 120AD WAS the greatest time ever (to be a Roman, maybe…) but it is over.
Don’t be afraid and don’t look back except to learn from our mistakes. Do not look back in hopes of replicating some imaginary world of ‘better’ because it never was. It is an illusion. The ‘better’ waits for us only if we choose to move forward.