Thursday, September 4, 2008

The great undiscovering

Staring through a few layers of glass at various angles, I see small trees and the open sky bright and pastel blue. Upon further inspection, the view shifts to the lightpost peaking over the tree tops, the concrete parking lot and its sparse cars of myself and my coworkers, and a skeletal sky scraper. The words "under construction" come to mind as being the words that should first come to mind. The dual layer glass casts reflections of construction cranes and "efficiency" apartments blaring in the technocolor contrast of urban decay and development.

So, where does that leave us? We have reached "the future", but it is not the future science fiction books and films of the past - or perhaps they are of "the present" - promised us. Where are the flying cars? The stilted homes high in the atmosphere? Where is the day-to-day deep space travel? Hell, we haven't even tapped into solar energy yet.

What happened to the worlds of the past? The elegance and honor between swordsmen, knights, and samurai? The grittiness of the Old West gunslingers? We have been tamed. Caged. Dishonored. Evolved. Civilized. For the human race, the human species, the human animal, the words are synonomous.

We keep producing works of fiction about the Old West, feudal Japan and Europe, and galaxies far, far away. We keep hoping that one day we will set foot on worlds beyond the stars. Getting more and more curious about the universe at large as our own world, our city, our own comfort zone grows consistently smaller. Expansionism shrinks the world. We want the future the past promised us. We were lied to. On the outside, we accepted this lie. On the inside, however, we still look to the stars. We still watch films of times of old filled with violence, chivalry, honor, and lawlessness. Somewhere along the way, we let "civilization" become our cage. Cities became our zoos. Our prisons.

And yet, would we be able to survive in the wilds between city-prisons? How many of us could live off the land now that we have been domesticated? Would we be able to survive as feral humans? After domesticating ourselves, we realized we still want to be part of the wilderness. The deepseeded instinct to survive, to stand on our own, to rise against that which would oppose us. We are our own worst enemy, without a doubt.

Perhaps, one day we will abandon this world for a new wilderness. When are cities become one. When cities become city. When borders cease to exist simply because there is no longer space to divide. As we realize just how small our little world really is. How insignificant. Perhaps then we will search the skies of infinite black for another world with blue skies.

One day. When the future becomes the present. When the past becomes the future. When space and time become obsolete. We will search. We will find. We will once again take up the role of explorers. The role we once held here in our own little world when it still seemed so big. New. Undiscovered.

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