Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Future World

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.



Nancy said...

And the outcome? I'll bet less flyers. I will not be taking vacations that require that I be nude-looking in a scanner. I will fly only when absolutely required to fly. We need to start hunting the terrorists, not the weapons. And I agree about the bugs. We are a world bound in fear. And I think we are only creating more of it.

Indian Pundit said...

Excellent post.
Body scanners are a perfect example that we are letting the terrorists win.
Whats the point of security without liberty??

"We are guided by a collective paranoia about perceived threats, but the way I see it, the real threat is ourselves"

Absolutely. and our governments who first create terrorists then after a few years declare war on wonder they hit back hard.


The Panorama said...

It's really strange but I was thinking exactly on the same lines just the other day. We humans are on a self- destructing journey and we are going to take all the animals, flora and fauna down with us.
But I often sit and wonder what can we do? Scanners are not going to stop the terrorists, unfortunately.
Like the bacteria they too learn to mutate and adapt.

Alissa said...

As a kid one of my favorite library books (I checked it out again and again) was a book with all sorts of ideas about how people might be living in the future. I was fascinated by it. I don't recall full body scanners getting a mention in there. It's a weird world we live in.

houndstooth said...

It is a rather daunting thought, and it sort of feels like a no win situation.

Katy said...

Interstingly enough, at the current moment, the stated them of all Tomorrowlands at all Disney Parks is "The tomorrow that never was". I think that speaks volumes about were Disney Imagineers see us heading. Not towards flying cars and helpful robots...

greenpanda said...

The predictions about today people made 30 or so years ago are so outdated and outdone. Shame really.
These days so much is different. We've just really gotten used to it. I never really thought of it that way tho until now - well done! :)

Russell said...

I have a grade school reader from the 1950s and early 1960s. One of the stories is about a boy who goes with his father to a space colony to live for a while.

The year is .... 1975! And the air is filled with rockets going back and forth and large space stations connected together to make cities.

Then in 1968 we had the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Little did we realize the REAL advances in technology would be made in communications. But we are moving closer and closer to the future every day.

I saw on the TV today that we will soon have wireless TV.

Now where did I put that new ribbon for my typewriter??! And has anyone seen my carbon paper?

Kathryn said...

I am rather anti-vaccine. I believe that they have been hyped, done the spin, & fear tactics have been employed to try to encourage, push, shove folks into getting them.

I totally agree with you on the anti-bacterial soaps. Bad news!

But i'm on the side of "soil not seed" belief. I believe that 90% of the time when folks get sick it is because they were not really healthy to begin with, & their immunity was down. (Their "soil" - body health - was the problem, not the "seed" - the germs. Germs can't grow well when the soil is not going to sustain them.)

But then, that is my experience. I'll go with trying to improve my own immunity with good food & supplements rather than ruining my immune system with drugs & vaccines.

Paula Slade said...

It is sad that the present was once a bright and promised future. The world changed in an instant on 9/11 - that's for sure.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jo, you show more common sense in your posts than most cities contain.

I often ponder how today's world differs from the future I imagined as a child - when Orwell's 1984 was still in the future. I also deplore the idea of body scanners that can see to my bones, and even more, I deplore that this has become a necessity - even for those visiting Disneyland.

Cloudia said...

Very well done!!

Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I don't get flu shots. Only had one in my life and had twins 7 months later. Logically I know that it wasn't the shot, but, still, what a coincidence. Antibiotics are too commonly used for things like colds.

Sometimes I long for simpler times, more innocent times.

the walking man said...

The trajectory towards the future can only be changed if individuals begin to act as a collective with a similar desire for a specific outcome.

Mary Ellen said...

I refuse to fly anywhere at this point. I won't subject myself to a scanner or having anyone pat me down as if I'm a criminal just so I could board a plane. I have the feeling this is going to affect air travel greatly and the airlines are going to be begging people to fly again. It's not the fear of terrorists that will keep them away, but the fear of being man-handled.

I'll drive for now on..takes a little longer, but at least I am in control in my own vehicle. Maybe by the time I retire and go on the trip to Europe that I was planning, the world will come to its senses again and stop treating innocent by-standers like a bunch of prison thugs.

Charles Gramlich said...

I always did that as a kid, and I still do.

Marguerite said...

Very interesting post, Jo! It is a shame that the airlines have had to resort to the full body scanners. And as for the vaccines, I don't believe in them. I think that if you keep your immune system healthy through a good diet, exercise, and adequate rest, that you will not get sick. And also, that positive thinking plays a big role in the health of an individual.

Land of shimp said...

This is a subject on which I am torn, and remain so. The question of screenings. On the one hand, I don't particularly care if a screener gets to see my naked form, faceless, etc. if it helps keep people safe. Truly, there is nothing so remarkable about my body in either the positive, or the negative that I'm going to make a particular impression of any sort.

Besides, I gave birth to my son in a teaching hospital, many years ago. At one point, an instructor brought in twenty students to observe. I was asked, "do you mind if...?" but at that point I wouldn't have minded if all of the U.S. filed by, I was past the point of caring about things like modesty.

But, and this is a crucial but, modesty is not the only thing at play here. There are issues of unreasonable search, civil liberties, and having dominion over ones own person.

The truth is, Jo, I don't know what the answer is, I'm still mulling. I do not mind for myself, but I'm still pondering whether I mind, or find alarming, this practice for the greater number, or the larger questions.

Still, it is a sticky one, because there were full body screeners available for the Undiebomber....but is that really the crux of the matter? A one way ticket, purchased with cash, no luggage checked, flying from the Netherlands to Detroit, by someone from parts other than the U.S.? Shouldn't that have been enough to raise concerns?

I'll just be over here continuing to mull. No profound wisdom in the offing, just a lot questions. However, I think that's part of the problem, part of what I'm encountering is that there are no good, or easy answers, nor highly apparent ones.

What do you do when there is no good solution? Only a mixture of bad, for different reasons, ones.

Mia said...

This is a good video about the world of the future