Some times on a quiet day there is time to ponder on the world of the future. Not always the exact details of how folks will live day by day, but how they will remember us, that is, relative to the people reading this around the time of immediate publishing. It is somewhat selfish that when thinking of the people of the future, it turns into a mirror on our favorite subject - ourselves. But that is the way most people behave, constantly looking after "number one" and figuring out the rest at a later time, preferably once in the middle of said future time. The Ego is a funny thing like that, it cannot get out of its own way no matter how hard it may try.
It is not likely that we will be living in what they call ‘the singularity’, a hyper technology utopia shooting off to Mars for a holiday and flying around on jet packs. No, the future we are most likely going to get is the one that follows the same well worn path of every civilization that has come before us. That is to say, some people come across an ecosystem that has been untouched by humans entirely or for a few hundred years, an environment that is favorable in terms of resources, they settle, grow into a civilisation, overshoot the environments carrying capacity, peak as a society and then decline and fall over the next 150 to 300 years as it all falls back into line with the sustainable pace of ecological time.
This is the path of all civilisations, it is as inevitable as the cycle of life and death. Something that could be considered a fundamental law of the universe. This is something that a lot of people today either do not think about or are desperately trying to ignore, for those folks, it is a shame that we have the ruins of all civilsations past to remind us that all of the goodies around us can and will come to an end.
For all the information we create today, it requires the entirety of our energy and resources to maintain it. What knowledge that doesn’t get maintained by these means will eventually be subject to information triage at the hands of technological triage in an age of growing limits and thus most will eventually be lost to the sands of time. This is what we call a Dark Age. There are periods of mass creations, followed by declines that fall into dark ages, a time when the bulk of records, knowledge and skills of an era are lost or forgotten only to pickup the torch of what is left centuries down the line. What comes out is always very different to what went in. Large gaps in knowledge, wrongly recorded, wildly reinterpreted stories of the ages or just discarded as being ‘pointless’. This is what will happen to all our culture as well with enough time. Look at just how little we know about the Roman empire and you can start to grasp at how it looks on the other side. For as much of the major events that were recorded, the details of the arts and the finer details of society have been lost of the sands of time. Turned into figurative and literal dust.
But through that level of decline, a few whispers of our time will remain. A distant echo of what we have achieved - both good and bad.
So how will we be remembered?
What will be the legacy and legends of our time on this planet? I cannot tell you exactly but I can wager some guesses and they will not be pleasant to say the least.
We live in a world of astounding excess; firstly in terms of material excess. Levels that have never been achieved before and maybe never again, riding on the back of a fossil fuel powered party fever dream. To break free from the typical ecological pace and live on an energy scale unprecedented in any fashion seen before.
That I am typing this on a computer that has a central processor made out of 63 material elements, sending information around the world in a fraction of a second without so much as a thought onto the obscene scale of it all in terms of energy and resources just goes to show a tiny sliver of how we live. This is a computing machine feeding on a constant 240V - 50hz power signal that runs day and night even through winter, all done on the back of a half billion years of stored solar energy being burnt as coal and natural gas. Disposable bottles and plastic cutlery that, by design, are not meant to last more than a single use. Motor vehicles that weight 2 tons plus and use the nectar of earth just to move a single person to get a hot dog at 11pm. 24 hour over seas shipping all handled by flying stock in one of the most energy wasteful means conceivable. Needless fads of plastic iconography and excessive demonstrations of disposable wealth all trying to impress people who don’t really care about it all.
All the while we have produced a wave of ecological waste that will last millennia.
Secondly is the ego powered excess of the self, at the same time as we have an excess of resources, we ignore those that need help all in the name of buying more stuff that has no function or purpose. Ignoring the natural world being crushed and the weight of these demands, to melt the arctic poles in the name of a few more drops of endorphin rush fueled excess.
These are just some of the short sighted ideas, one that throw the ecosystem under a bus for the sake of a short term gain, they are the kind of things that will doom our legacy to being one that is negative. Worse than negative, we could be the devils and foreboding evil that is used the scare those in the future - evil individuals that devour everything and everyone regardless of how it impacts others. I could not see a better villain and I could not see a better description of out times than that.
We will not be remembered fondly, we will be remembered as the single most excessive, short sighted, and down right destructive beings that have ever existed on this planet. Worse than a plague or an asteroid. A force that could not be reasoned with no matter the long term consequences. For all the good we see in people today, will be brushed aside to show the stark and bare nastiness of our consumption based ways. A plague is merely biology at work, an asteroid is pure physics in action.
Selfishness is just down right avoidable and it is that same selfishness that makes us think we do not warrant this title of evil.
But we deserve it. That is out action. Our Karma.
To have the illusion peeled away and to expose us for the nasty individuals we can be. The careless actions manifest in word and lyrics as a lasting testament to our legacy. For the folks that desperately produce technology, businesses, off spring all in the name of "leaving something behind" - they are fueling the demise of that same legacy. That is not to say that technology, business and off spring are bad - but it is the intention behind it. To blindly do it without thinking of the long term and wide scale impacts.
There is lots of good in people and we do see it everyday but it is a matter of context of social conditions and time that lets others see it in their means. What may been kind and thoughtful today, may in the future will be a signal of corruption.
Our legacy however is not written in stone. There are many people trying to make changes, in themselves at first and then as a community by living demonstration. They may be seen as the rare glimmer of light that shines through the darkness. That element that shows that even in the midst of what seem like impossible odds - the good can still shine through. Those people are out there today and they will leave behind the faint glow of good will that be the seed of hope in centuries and millennia to come.
Luck should have it that these folks do not and will never be aware of what they leave behind, for they do good through their own will and by the virtue they are blinded to, that true invisible virtue, and not for some great symbol of egotism. Maybe that can be something to leave behind only we cannot plan to do this, the more we try to make it happen the further away it will get - it just has to happen of its own accord - that is how really legends are made.
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