Fasten Your Seatbelts – Forward the Future

source site – Fasten Your Seatbelts – washingtonpost.com

When the present promises only economic hardship and political upheaval, what does the future look like?

In 2009, it looks like a world of gleaming spaceships filled with enlightened people who have emerged with their humanity intact after a terrible war. They have entered the 23rd century, shed racism, no longer use money, possess seemingly magical technologies and are devoted to peaceful exploration. I refer of course to “Star Trek” and its powerful story of a better tomorrow, which has been mesmerizing audiences for almost half a century and returns to movie theaters this coming May with an eagerly anticipated 11th full-length feature.

But wait. The future also looks like this: a dark, violent world where a horrific war between humans and cyborgs leads to the near-extermination of humanity. This vision, in the latest “Terminator” movie, is also arriving at your nearest mutiplex in May.

We imagine the future in places other than the movie theater, of course. Still, these two familiar franchises underscore the conflicting stories we tell ourselves in uncertain times about what lies ahead: Either we’re bound for a techno-utopia of adventure, or a grim, Orwellian dystopia where humanity is on the brink of implosion.

science fiction stories can often be looked at as warnings of our future, or sell us hope for humanity. our present day is a complex cacophony of events, disease, strife, poverty, conflicts, discoveries, changes in human behaviours, alliances etc. for those of us with children, we wonder what sort of a world are we raising our children in, and what world is in store for their children. it is often scary. but hopeful.

many of the predictions in science fiction may or may not come true, but one thing that fascinates me is what is the prediction of human behaviours… as this will determine whether our future is bleak, or pleasant. once again, this is the very question asked by the Joker and Batman in Dark Knight.

Are we all madness waiting to come out, or do we have good in ourselves?

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