It’s 4:50 am. My interior alarm awakes me in a sweat. At this time of the day, the world always appears extremely dark (unless you live at the North Pole during the winter solstice). I’m a worrier. Always have been. Proof of that fact is the fact that I’m 76 and worrying over a future—over a fictional tale about reality in my brain—that will have no real power to affect me but that really affects me as I worry about it.
|Find photo here...|
In another 50 years—I tell myself—the bookless and newspaper-less world as I know it will be so different, I truly can’t imagine it, but I’ve got a few favorite dystopian ideas. I see a world returned to the Dark Ages. Lots of information at humanity’s fingertips, but each man jack of us, at his or her starship computer station, will be tuned solely to their favorite world views. Like a villager at the mythological time of Jesus, we won’t know what’s going on in the next village except the hottest gossip and most frightening and disgusting news as distorted by world leaders whose best interests are served by the distortions. Charlatanism will be the order of the day and all sorts of fake systems of knowledge (like clairvoyance or telekinesis or theology) will have new power in the stories that people tell themselves about their personal realities. Meanwhile the zillionaire rulers of Planet Earth, flitting here and there to secret meetings on yachts all over the globe, will be uncontrollably dishonest, beyond punishment, as they accumulate more and more of the world’s wealth, leaving the rest of us to take the hindmost. No longer will there exist a fourth estate with the money and reach to watch over the plutocrats and sound the alarm.
Then, again … the sun also rises and the sky lightens, and I return to the hopeful business of writing a futuristic novel about a worldwide plague as if the bookless dark age ahead will have any place for my fantastic novel.