Sunday, November 13, 2016
What Can We Expect from the Future? My New Series of Mythmaker Posts
The current stressful political climate in the United States has stimulated me to make a new attempt to expound on my concept of future history and how the Mythmaker philosophy fits into it. The best (and most painless) way to learn about my thinking is to read my books, particularly The Termite Queen, v. 1 and 2, and Fathers and Demons. The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars still hasn’t been published, but it will contain the best exposition yet of my vision of the future. Even my termite series The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head contains passages that reflect my thinking.
The Termite Queen contains a somewhat lengthy section that encapsulates the future history of Earth. I’ve excerpted that in a separate page of this blog. Find it on the Pages cross-column above.
Lately I’ve seen three foreshadowings of elements that I predicted in my future history. The first is obvious – the prevalence of religious fanaticism leading to vicious wars. To quote my own writing in The Termite Queen: “The militant religionist movement that began early in the 21st century resulted in a succession of conflicts known as the Zealot Wars.” I’ll address that problem in later posts.
The second element is what I called the Fractures, and the third is the rise of the TWLs (the Techno-Warlords). To quote again: “In the 22nd century the period known as the Fractures began, when time-hallowed nation-states – the ironically named ‘Great Powers’ – of Earth began to break apart and make war with each other and within themselves. It was the time of the Techno-Warlords – the TWLs – dictators who sought to seize for themselves the remnants of the petroleum reserves and who lived by advancing technology exclusively for the purpose of producing an increasingly horrific war machine.”
So are the Fractures already beginning? The European Union is in trouble, and lately there has been secessionist talk in California, which is certainly big enough to be a country to itself. Texas has always wanted to be its own country. French-speaking Canada might like to go it alone if it were encouraged.
And then comes Donald Trump, who wants to wall off the United States and ban immigration as much as possible (or at least so he says – no telling what he will really do). At a time when we should be encouraging globalization and a unified Earth, he and a lot of people whose livelihoods are threatened want to retreat from it. We need to become expansive and inclusive – to learn to work together, not bicker with each other and fight and kill our own kind.
Fractures encourage the rise of the TWL. In my conceptualization, Hitler is considered the first Techno-Warlord because he was the first to use rockets as weapons. There is a passage on this in Fathers and Demons (laid in the 28th century), where Chaim Oman is recounting the history of the Jewish people post-20th century:
Everybody stirred a little, because the atrocities of the 20th century were tenaciously included in the history curriculum. Linna said, “That marks the onset of humanity’s descent into the Second Dark Age. It’s not only because the first radiant bombs were exploded then. It’s also because of that Uropian dictator – I don’t recall his name right off – who set out to cleanse the human species of elements he judged inferior. I think he murdered around ten million people.”
Dr. Yow added contemplatively, “His name was Hitler. He used the primitive technology of the time for his racial purification and he was the first tyrant to use rockets as weapons. For those reasons he’s known as the PTWL – the Proto-Techno-Warlord. He wasn’t the one who exploded the first radiant weapons, though. That honor goes to the government of the Old Ammeriken States.”
That’s why anybody with a sense of history is afraid of Donald Trump, because he has seemed to encourage his followers to commit violent acts and to hate those who are unlike, and because he exhibits demagogic tendencies, to want to be able to dictate rather than cooperate and legislate (his overweening battle cry “I alone can fix it.”) Again, I’m not really sure whether he is serious in these statements or whether he is a clever actor, playing the “sucker born every minute” card, and playing it very well. After all, Mr. Bloomberg didn’t call Trump a conman for nothing.
Basic to my future history is the depletion of the Earth’s oil reserves. When I first wrote my future history (around 2002), I checked on the amount of oil that was left and it was about 50 years worth. I was appalled. Do you know how short a time 50 years is? It passes in an eye-blink! I’m 76 and it seems like just the other day that I was 26.
So just now I checked the figure again to see if it had changed. See this post from BP where it is stated “In June, BP provided an intriguing update to its global oil reserves estimates in the company's yearly review of energy statistics. It raised its reserve estimate by 1.1% to 1,687.9 billion barrels – just enough oil to last the world 53.3 years at the current production rates.”
So I figured that unless the Earth gets its act together, we’d better find other means of producing the power that our ultra-high technology consumes, or we’ll be in real trouble. My view is pessimistic. We’re going to use up all the oil and have nothing ready to replace it by the beginning of the 22nd century. At that point the electrical grid collapses, communication and transportation break down, and we head for a return to the Stone Age, or very near.
Of course, run-away climate change plays its part, too, with coastal cities disappearing under the sea, along with drought and water-famines and the rise of mutated disease organisms ... However, I’m not getting into all that here. Let me just say that all that will feed into the Fractures and the rise of the TWLs.
So, yes, I’m a pessimist about the future of Earth – in the short run. But I have not been pessimistic about the nature of humanity (although I’ve been having my doubts lately). There will be people who keep the best aspects of humanity alive throughout the coming Second Dark Age. And that will be the subject of later posts.