For us, however, the future looks pretty grim but that’s only because it is different from the world in which we grew up. A note to a friend just sent:
We have lived in the best of times, but those who come in the future will think so too about themselves. All of the innovations we have become used to will still be around, plus a few more. But freedom and self-directed lives are not for everyone so when they largely disappear hardly anyone will notice. We are heading into a modern mediaeval feudal structure with the popular will as irrelevant as it is possible to be. The people I deal with who are grateful to Dan Andrews astound me, but they are happy with the lockdown and wonder who wants to go out after 7:30 at night, since there is nowhere to go. And the slow deterioration of our living standards, to the point where things like world travel are only for the elites, will just become part of life. We will live in genuinely fascist societies, the kind of national socialist communities set up by Mussolini. My best paper as an undergraduate was titled, “Fascist Criticism of Liberalism”. I wrote it from a liberal perspective while recognising millions of others agreed with the Fascists. You have to be a philosopher to believe that free speech and free thought are positive features of society. All that is coming to an end, and may not be resurrected for a thousand years, if ever. The future will think of us as an aberration, something in the way we now think about ancient Athens. Just saw this as a comment on a blogsite:“Estimates peg the population of the city of Rome in the 4th century around 1.7MM. It was the greatest city the world of that time had ever seen. Two hundred years later less than 100k lived there. Sic Gloria Transit.”The best book I may have ever read is The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt. It overlaps historically Rome in biblical times, Rome in Mediaeval times and Rome today. Cannot recommend any book more highly. What it does is underscore the way the future is never determined, that societies break down and that the world as it will be is for all practical purposes unrelated to how it now is. One of the great lessons I learned in studying the History of Economics was that living standards in Europe reached their peak in 180 AD with the death of Marcus Aurelius and then fell for the next 1000 years only returning to their previous Roman heights in around 1600. When Europeans first reached China in numbers around 1700, the Chinese found nothing we had to offer of any interest to them. You just have to enjoy the world as you find it and then get on with life. Sad, but could be worse. I guarantee your daughter won’t find things as pessimistic as we do, but when (and if) she does, she’ll just have to go with the flow.
Every one of the bits of tech in the vid were the latest thing as I was growing up. Many of them no one born in the last thirty years would even know what they are.