lunes, 26 de noviembre de 2012
viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2012
The Future (one month to go)
Some people have chosen to live in the past and couldn't care less about what lies in store for humanity. Others would rather not think ahead, happy to let events unfold one by one. Que será, será, they say. There are those who prefer to leave it all in the hands of the experts, and face the future with religious philosophy – insha'Allah, god willing. But the vast majority of us enjoy having a bash at fortune-telling, thinking we can make intelligent guesses from the available information. Unfortunately our track record is not very encouraging.
1984 came and went, and Big Brother turned out to be no more than a TV show, a gossip monger's paradise. It is true that a great number of people feel that their lives are controlled from above, or afar, but it is also true that the controllers are under the very same impression. There are sporadic outbreaks of Dictatorship from time to time, but as in all contagious diseases, isolation is the key. In general the death toll is tolerably low if dealt with in time, and the antidotes appear to work in most cases. In all it would appear that the world is more likely to go to pot than to Pol Pot.
Nostradamus forebode that Paris would be invaded from the sky by Asian hordes. Sounds feasible, to some it may even sound recommendable. Unfortunately he chose to put a date to this – 1999. No doubt when he wrote his prediction 1999 sounded terribly remote, but as the British found out with Hong Kong, time has a nasty habit of catching up with you.
The year 2000 was to herald in any number of media inflated catastrophes. Planes would fall out of the sky, and computers would lose their binary minds. Our digital Lazarus would fail us and we would all tumble ungraciously into the ditch. But the fuse fizzled out and there was not so much as a whimper. Perhaps because the year 2000 only applied to the Gregorian calendar, not the Jewish, or Chinese, or Inca calendar. Maybe these universal disasters are yet to occur and that magical number should be reached according to the calculations of the Muslims, or better still, the Mormons, so we have more time to prepare ourselves.
Now the extinct Malayans tell us we have one month to go. Oh well, never liked Christmas much anyway.
Some authors insist on alien contact as a safe bet for future predictions, but to date the results have been a little disappointing. Maybe because we are under the delusion that Homo Sapiens is the intelligent species they wish to communicate with, when in reality they have come to make contact with the trees, the whales and the dolphins.
One future event we all seem to agree upon is that we will all die. A comforting thought. Some poets try to soften the blow with lines like 'when we are no longer here to listen the birds will still be singing'. Very true, but not the same birds. The dawn chorus we enjoyed in our youth was sung by the great great grandparents of the birds we heard this morning. What persists is not the individual, but the species. Perhaps we should glean from that that only the childless really die, whereas parents die in proportionally decreasing percentages, like homeopathic pills. Small solace.
Personally I have no idea what the future holds in store for us, but one thing I do know. While I was writing this, I neglected the pot of beans I was preparing for lunch, and they have burnt.