Looking back at common practices from yesteryear can be pretty funny, from a modern perspective. Not all that long ago, medicine relied heavily on leeching and bleeding to cure just about any ill. They believed you could somehow remove an ailment by draining the patient of their blood, either with animals that sucked it out or just by opening up a wound and allowing it to pour from the cut.
Modern medicine is way beyond this, of course; but that doesn’t mean the next generation won’t view popping pills the same way we look back at leeching or bleeding. Most likely, we haven’t even heard of whatever treatment will be most common a century from now; and just as likely, that future practice will be nothing but a source of amusement a hundred years after that.
Like social issues, government structures tend to swing wildly from one extreme to the other; it just takes them a little more time. A hundred years ago, Americans were scared to death of a socialist country invading and taking their freedoms; now a sizable portion of the same population is convinced socialism is the only answer. Unless a whole new method pops up, nations across the globe will probably continue to play musical chairs with their politics; we’ll colonize space the same way as we did our planet, and the same set of problems will keep being recycled for many generations to come. They can make fun of the way we do things, when looking back; but in essence, they’ll be doing it much the same way.
Very few actual recyclables will be recycled, of course; but that’s one of those new problems, whose longterm consequences have yet to reveal themselves. It’s also a thought that hurts to think, which is why we talked about it last week in Littering used to be legal! There may be a solution to this, and it can’t come too soon; but for now, we’re using synthetic products like no one in recorded history. If we don’t kill them off with our practices, the people still around in a hundred years will surely laugh at us for that. Most likely, any change in those ways will happen gradually.
Other things will shift rapidly, like they already are. We have no way to foresee what devices people will carry a century from now, or if they will just implant whatever they need into their android bodies. What we can be sure of is that the next best thing probably won’t be the iPhone XXX; it will be some new product, as unimaginable to us now as the modern devices we casually carry were a hundred years ago. Maybe this subject will eventually intersect with the first one, and future generations will have devices that easily heal wounds and cure the common cold. As cool as it is to wonder what their lives and gadgets may be like, we have no way of really knowing.
Except that they’ll be laughing at us.
We can be pretty certain of that.
Cars and clothes have done a lot of changing in the past hundred years, but not everyone is laughing about that. Some people pay big money to own an automobile built decades ago, and spend more time making it shine than they do driving it. Others dress like they just time warped here from a prohibition era speakeasy, or a Vietnam war protest. Maybe people in the future will expand this trend as they continue to explode the population, and all the looks that ever were will become popular again all at once. Or maybe people will start to dress as their favorite fictional characters while they go about their normal lives, and the world will start to look like one big comic book convention.
It may sound amusing, but we won’t be around to laugh at it unless some really great life extension drugs or technologies come along. Almost everyone alive today will be gone in a hundred years, if the current trend keeps up. I’m personally hoping for some solution to death that lets me keep my body, since I don’t think the classic suits I like will ever go out of style. Also, I’m not against cosplay. I don’t imagine the first few generations of android bodies will look great in a suit, or dressed as a zombie; but I’d rather find out than not be around when it’s my turn to be laughed at.
Today’s cars probably won’t be traded tomorrow like yesterday’s are today, since technology is on track to end the problem of bad drivers forever. You might see them in museums, probably poised to crash into each other to show the dangers of putting humans behind the wheel; but people won’t be allowed to navigate roadways themselves in a hundred years unless those people are enhanced by technology. Not to nitpick, or risk sounding prejudiced to folks a century from now…but those people won’t technically be people any more. They’ll be androids, and they would agree that humans without the proper enhancements have no business driving a car.
Also, they don’t make them like they used to. I know it’s a tired old phrase that gets trotted out whenever you bring up just about anything to an older person, but they say it because it’s true. Planned obsolescence is such a common thing among manufacturers today, buying new stuff in not just a thrill; it’s a necessity. From appliances to furniture to clothes and cars, very few things are built to last these days. It’s entirely possible that most of the antiques that exist a hundred years from now will be the ones we’re already collecting from a hundred years ago. The only thing left intact from today may be a bunch of toys still in their packaging, and you can bet tomorrow’s children will laugh at us for that.
Exercise wasn’t very popular a century ago, for the most part. With the trend toward android bodies I keep alluding to, we may now be in the one slim slice of history where common folks got pretty crazy about working out. Mechanical limbs will easily run any distance or speed you want them to, so testing their limits is kind of pointless; and the chemical benefits of exercise will come in pill or app form by then, so there won’t really be any kind of payoff for athletics in the future.
Surely they’ll laugh at us for that.
Between now and then, though…we’re likely to see some changes nobody thought were coming. Not long ago, we all knew what a marathon was; we may have even known someone who ran one. Now people of all ages are doing extreme physical sports, and long footraces have gone from twenty miles to fifty, then from fifty to a hundred, and from that to two hundred fifty miles! Holy crap, have we forgotten what the original long distance run did to the guy who ran it?
I mean, come on…
The first marathon was fatal!
Are we still honoring that guy at this point, or is this all getting to the point where we’re kind of insulting him? We’ll talk about that guy, and his reason for running, next week. Then we’ll wonder why folks are doing what they’re doing these days, and maybe we can figure all this stuff out together.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,