When you were a little kid, did you ever wonder what the world of the future would look like? People zipped around on jet packs, and electric highways were high above the city, with noiseless electric cars flying smoothly along them. The world would be free of disease and war, because we had finally learned how to conquer these things. Did you ever imagine it would actually turn out the way it has? Last night I was watching a program about body scanners that are being implemented in airports. In other words, every time someone gets on an airplane, they will be visually strip searched. Has anyone questioned that this may be an infrigement of civil liberties? Why are body scanners necessary? Because there is a group of militant nut-cases in the world who feel it is their duty to kill anyone who doesn't belong to their particular cultural group. Could you have even imagined this a decade or two ago?
Soon Vancouver will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the CDC is recommending that everyone who will be involved, or attending any event, should get a flu vaccination. Well, yes, that makes sense. I sometimes think, though, that we are becoming overly-anxious about contagious infections. The best way to prevent them is by washing our hands. But, how much damage are we doing by using so-called "antibacterial" soaps? Bacteria are sneaky little buggers. We can't really kill them, they just learn to mutate and adapt. So we are effectively creating super-bugs -- ones that we will not be able to fight off. Our worse enemy won't be the fellow with the explosive powder in his underwear, but the teeny tiny microbe we can't see.
Can we collectively control the direction in which our future is going? Can we change the trajectory it is on right now, which seems to be heading more towards a "Mad Max" 21st Century than a more gentle "Jetsons". We are guided by a collective paranoia about perceived threats, but the way I see it, the real threat is ourselves. We are creating a world of over-reaction. We're using machine guns to kill mosquitoes. It used to be that full-body scanners were used only in prisons. Now the family is required to go through one as they board the plane on the way to their vacation at Disneyland. Do they still have Future World at Disneyland? Is it anything like the world we are creating? I sure hope not.