Yesterday morning at 9.14 a.m. I was kidnapped by aliens with big heads and small ears. They transported me to the next century to let me see how I, as a human being of 2013, would experience the future. Well, it was pretty tough, I can tell you.
At first sight there wasn’t anything wrong. It seemed to be the ideal society. Everybody was happy, or seemed to be, and the health care was so good that most people lived to over 220. This was due to breakthroughs in genetic technology, but also to virtual reality and what is called ‘dust’ (or what will be called?) and for which two researchers from Radboud UMC had won a Nobel Prize.
Everybody had the substances in their body that cause physical and mental wellbeing constantly monitored and when necessary adjusted. Personalised Healthcare. Due to this, there were only calm, satisfied, well-balanced people. Crime had disappeared and the last protest demonstration was forty years earlier.
But because everybody was content and lived to a very great age, nobody had any ambition. You could have a career later. If there were problems nobody made the slightest effort, let alone really tackle them. The elite were aware that in the long term this was a huge threat to the continuance of the human race.
Another problem was that although people lived to be very old, once they were past 130 they ceased to be productive. Because of that, this society could only provide a very meagre pension for senior citizens. In order to have a pleasant old age (and that could be more than a hundred years!), nearly all of them chose to surrender themselves completely to the substances and to virtual reality.
The substance kept them healthy, content and fit, and with virtual reality they lost themselves pretty well permanently in the most beautiful dreams. Because this way of life meant that they took up very little room they lived in huge rows of bunks in office-like buildings. This idea was inspired by the film The Matrix.
It shook me to the core. Terrible, degrading, inhumane! The aliens asked me why I felt that way and I answered with a long tirade about human autonomy, independence, individuality, the need for something new, for adventure and responsibility for oneself.
‘Ah yes! Yes,’ they said, ‘we have heard of those concepts’. Then they explained that in 2193 such ideas were considered ‘old thinking’ that belonged to the prehistory of the well-balanced human race.
To the well-balanced human the most profound human values are the most important – happiness, contentment, peace, tranquillity, order and longevity. Thanks to medical science they can now achieve these. ‘Perhaps mankind has achieved near immortality, but humanity is as dead as a doornail’, I yelled, and then with a thump I landed back in my own back garden. A litre of something with plenty of alcoholic ‘substance’ brought me round a bit.
A blog by Frank Geene