Wednesday, 30 January 2008


As a young kid, I used to love reading history books. Not the sort of boorish academic works written by wizened old historians, but the really juicy accounts of the unbelievable mayhem, cruelty and insanity that went on hundreds of years ago. You know the sort of stuff: ingenious ways to torture and kill criminals; slavery; forced child labor; illusions of racial superiority; the repression of heretics like Galileo, bizarre medical treatments, etc etc.

It used to amaze me how screwed up humans were 400 years ago; their values and belief systems completely incomprehensible in today’s modern society.

But hold on a second – what about us? Won’t people in 2408 find what we are getting up to today equally absurd and nonsensical?

So what things today in 2008 are the equivalent of yesterday’s flat world syndrome or iron maiden torture device? Here’s my list:

- The insane belief that cars were a good thing even though one million people die annually in road accidents each year.

- The fact that the world’s richest country, the US, allowed 20 percent of its population to live in poverty in 2008 (in 400 year’s time, of course, the US empire will be long gone, replaced by China and India as the new superpowers).

- The adherence to dogmatic classical religions. The question is not if, but when the next religion will come along and replace today’s main religions).

- The concept of “unhappiness”. By 2408, all humans will control their moods by taking medical pills. Subtle differences in mood will be engineered depending on whether you want to work, party or relax, but unhappiness will have become an alien concept.

- No more “dirty” magazines. In 2408 you will be able to have whoever you want – from a glamorous celebrity like Angelina Jolie to deceased Lady Di through the wonders of 3D sexual simulation technology (3D-SST) that will be indistinguishable from the real thing. Just tough luck for us that we won’t be around to experience it!

But then again there might not even be a world in 2408…