Am I prepared to “boldly go where no man has gone before”? I doubt it. But ready or not, that’s what we will all be doing in a few hours. For 2014 looms ahead, unknown, unexplored, unfathomable.
Think about it – 2014!
I remember when the future was – according to George Orwell, anyway – 1984. And I recall taking one of my children to see 2001 A Space Odyssey. Those fantasies seemed far in the future then. Now, they’re in the past. Many of the predictions they include seem amusingly quaint – and some (like some of those by H.G Wells and Jules Verne) have proved dead right.
One of the most chilling futuristic fantasies – a book I read in my teens – has yet to stand the test of time. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was set in the year 2045, but many of its predictions already have come true.
Yes, we already live in an age of human engineering, an all-seeing state and mind-altering drugs – to name a few.
We have yet to achieve the lifestyle of the Jetsons, unfortunately. But we’re close.
Rosie is almost ready to make our lives a lot easier. The Japanese are creating robots able to free us from those onerous housecleaning chores, for example. And jet packs are getting more sophisticated every day.
Even more amazingly, someone is developing a space ship powered by plasma, which will supposedly be able to take tourists to Mars for the weekend.
For better and for worse, technology is advancing at a dizzying rate.
And the powers that be are placing their bets on science and math as the magic beans of the future. Studies in the arts and humanities are shunned and discredited.
Meanwhile, we humans seem to get less civilized every day.
As the Mandelas of the world die off, primitives like Ted Cruz and clumsy clods like Chris Christie step onto the global stage.
The world lurches crazily forward, sometimes toward Utopia, at other times toward the Planet of the Apes.
All you and I can do is hang on, Sloopy, hang on.