Fifty years ago we were encouraged to imagine the future. The Vietnam war was at its height, but my generation appeared to be fighting back. “Give peace a chance!” was apparently all we were saying. My generation was not going to repeat the mistakes of the “Squares” who ran “the Establishment” that had no idea that we were entering an era when love would steer the stars, with harmony, understanding and love abounding.
By now I’d imagined life would be a lot like what was envisaged in Back to the Future, part 2. When I last checked, Toyota’s maintenance schedule for my Corolla doesn’t yet include a hover conversion. *Sigh*
In 1969 my Year 8 (Form 2 back then) class were asked to envisage life in the twenty-first century. Surprisingly, my classmates and I got a lot of things right, but like Marty and the Doc, our visions have been shattered in many ways.
As a 12-year old, I was sure that the anti-war movement would gain momentum. All those protestors putting flowers in the guns of the National Guard would surely ensure a peaceful tomorrow! As an avid follower of The Jetsons, I envisaged a workday of pushing a button and rushing home after a solid 3-4 hours to a four-day weekend.
Sadly, we baby-boomers turned out to be as square as our post-war “establishment” parents, and our dreams remained just that. As a 12-year-old, I envisaged a life of peaceful coexistence with our fellow man, and a care-free world where technology released us to do what really mattered. Like Captain Kirk, I was sure that war, hunger and poverty would be distant memories.
We dreamed of three-four day weekends, and going to work and letting technology take the drudgery out of our labours. Everyone would be well-off, well educated and employed gainfully.
As I thought of the technological gains of the past decade or two, I realised that nothing has substantially changed for the better. If anything, technolgy keeps us chained to our work-desks long after home-time. The worker of the twenty-first century still celebrates Labour Day once a year, but that celebration of the 40 hour working week is more of a joke today.
Real wealth has been concentrated in the pocket books of an elite few who control an ever-increasing proportion of the world’s cash. The “middle-class” of our youth is fast vanishing, replaced by the Orwellian Proles, fed a diet of cheap entertainment and fast food. Earlier today I heard the new presidential press secretary lecturing the press corps. It sounded more like a bulletin that would have made Goebells proud. The press will now tell the truth according to us, or there will be consequences. A press secretary who obviously has a good grasp of how the Ministry of Thought should operate. I’ll give Mr Orwell the final say.
“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”