November 08, 2004

Far and distant

One hundred years from now historians will call this presidential election the turning point of world history. Two hundred years from now it will be a footnote in college texts on 21st Century political and economic history. Three hundred years from now it will not even warrant being a footnote. Beyond that, it won't even be remembered.

Five hundred years ago Europeans "discovered" the rest of the world. I was nearly thrown out of my high school history class on the day we began "The Age of Exploration" when I raised my hand to ask, "How could they discover something that already existed?"

Two thousand years from now some graduate student will be digging through the sediment covering whatever city now holds the server carrying this blog. They'll find the disk more or less intact, but the array structure will be gone and the data will be unrecoverable. The pitted and chipped remains will be gently cleaned, catalogued, added to a carefully labelled box, and then forgotten.

As the dust from the virtual firefight in the continental US settles and as you watch with horror as dead Marines, innocent civilians, and the bodies of children are pulled from the rubble of Fallujah in the coming days, bear in mind that this, too, will pass and your great-grandchildren, if you have any, will have trouble remembering your name.

And that, my friends, is the only political commentary I will ever take the time to write. In the end, the only true judge is history, and history eventually forgets.

Reflections from the future: December 17, 2012

I didn't know it at the time, but when I wrote Real Virtuality on October 26, 2004, I was changing the entire nature and tone of "Brian's Meandering Mind". In November 2004 George W. Bush won re-election as President of the United States. Thanks in no small part to his bungling (as well as bad intelligence from our "allies" in France) the United States had become involved in two wars in the cradle of human civilization. The war in Afghanistan was justified and necessary. The war in Iraq was a colossal mistake. Here in December 2012 we are in the process of exiting both countries, the rest of the Middle East has just passed through the "Arab Spring" series of popular revolutions, Syria is embroiled in a bloody civil war, and Barack Obama (our current "president" who seems to think of himself as a grand messiah) grows more and more tyrannical every day.

Everything changed for me that year. My children were planning their colleges, my wife's career faltered, skipped a step, then took off like a rocket, and I once again began to be more involved with events in the United States. In 2004 the internet became the world's town square and I suddenly had access to up to the minute information on events all over the world. Before then, all I'd really had to go on was whatever CNNj decided was worthy of broadcasting in Japan. I didn't realize how badly slanted the coverage was because I had nothing to compare it to. I knew it was incomplete, but it was only starting with the explosion of superfast internet connections in 2004 that I finally gained access to alternative viewpoints on a global stage.

2004 was the year the world became a global village. 2012 was the year the village began to ignore the chief and organize itself. I wonder what 2013 will bring? Do we stand at the threshold of a new "Dark Age" or at the dawn of a new "Renaissance"?

In order to find out I suppose I'll just have to wait for whatever year the next round of "Reflections from the Future" takes place in.