By George Stahl
As far as history, archeology and other studies of the past go, there wasn’t much that happened in the world 1,000 years ago. No earth shaking, time changing, life altering events. At least none that the internet or Google know about. So, in that respect, the past is pretty boring. On the other hand, what will people say 1,000 years in the future about 1,000 years in their past? Ah, yeah, that would put their past in our today.
You are a scientist in the year 3018. You are trying to piece together the average life of 21st century man. You start with his use of tools. He has evolved into a techno-geek from what you discover. He has implements that enable him to communicate over vast distances and they are no bigger than the thing he called a wristwatch. He has also harnessed the waves of electricity that travel over the air of his world. He called these things the internet, as best you can decipher his writings. Something labeled an instruction manual for an instrument called a PC has diagrams and words explaining how the device can be connected to something he called a WiFi router.
The more you look into this device, the more disturbing your findings. For years, as you were going through training, you have heard of something called social media. Never too sure what it was about, you dismissed it as some fantasy or folk lore about a time in the past. It seemed to have started in the middle of the 20th Century and then died out sometime in the late 21st. There was a hint at it having been banned, then destroyed in a violent conflict of some kind. Neither its existence or its demise have ever been proven in your time, however. At least until now. You have proof that it was real. You have something you found in your diggings called Facebook. It was on one of those PC things you found in that cave, and it has something called a user name and password. At least that’s what the instructions on its use read.
That means that all of those stories about the social media were true. It was a way to communicate, and it was away to both build and destroy what those people knew as civilization 1,000 years ago. You have determined though, that because it was abandoned, it did not have the chance to show what it was fully capable of. Then how did all of that stuff about mankind happen way back then?
As your search for the past continues, you see that a trend was developing among people back then. Could it have been the beginning of their end? You find evidence supporting the idea that those people had a fixation on not having to do anything for themselves. They had cars that actually parked themselves, toilets that flushed themselves and ovens that cleaned themselves. People were required to do less and less for themselves as their time progressed. They even got to the point where they didn’t have to work to support themselves, their government did that for them. It was even expected. Laziness was the norm it seems and working, exerting energy was something being replaced by machines. They had somehow managed to put a different twist on the phrases, conserving energy and being energy efficient. They had become energy deficient.
Physical immobility was not where all of this stopped. As a scientist in 3018, you are finding things that point to a downfall in human thinking as well. People back then had something called a television set, or some simply called it a TV. It was a box that showed pictures that moved. More than one of those moving pictures had the name ‘Housewives of…. somewhere or another,’ and they called these reality shows. As you uncover more, you see that compared to how you live in 3018, there was nothing real about those shows at all. They must have been used by a certain faction to show how people really lived, and the rest of the population was forced to envy them and encouraged to emulate the behavior of those characters on the shows, and not to fight against it.
It seems that what you actually find is that the thing they called television was a waste of time for the most part. Between reality shows, game shows, soap operas, and fake news shows, it wasn’t worth the time it took to turn it on.
What about great events? None. 2018 was not that exciting. In fact, nothing of any real significance actually happened. Unless you count the near to, close call, threat of a nuclear war with North Korea exciting.
So, 1,000 years in any direction, past or present, the year 3018 is not going to be one that I think any of us will see, but wouldn’t it be interesting? The strides we have made since 1018 have been either impressive, constructive or destructive. How much more can we do in the next 1,000 years? Most of what that 31st Century scientist will see hasn’t even been thought of yet…or has it?