I am a writer of speculative fiction. I am not ashamed. I consider it the highest calling to imagine worlds as yet unseen. To imagine futures not yet realized. My very existence is the speculative fiction of my ancestors. I wield powers they can only dream of. I can fill a room with light. I can carry light in my hand. I can move faster than the fastest horse that has ever lived. I can fly like a bird, swim like a fish, I can take command the very elements themselves, mastering the terrifying forces of lightning and fire as my playthings. I have an understanding of the Universe which allows me to shape reality using technology in ways they never imagined.
It is my lot in life to think about not only what is happening now, but what may happen a decade from now, half a century from now, a millennia from now. I do not have to be accurate. It is unlikely that I can be. My goal is to plant the seed of possibility. To say to someone as yet unliving: We believed in the future. We believe in you. We believe you will find a way to undo our mistakes, our limitations, our inability to see past our hubris, our arrogance, our greed, and make a world we would be proud to live in, if we weren’t so damned fearful.
My task is to imagine those futures beyond the realm of the corporate thrall wrapped up in his acquisition of money, sacrificing his family, his friends, perhaps even the world itself as he gathers money to his bosom, heedless of the actual cost to us all. My task is to predict wistfully, the future the politician is too invested in preventing because he seeks another term in office and has allied himself with darker forces who care not one whit about him but can use his desperation to create yet another scheme to separate people from their money. My unenviable mission, to imagine a brighter world, one where we have had the vision to lay down our arms, retire our armies, manage our populations, reduce our wastes, value every citizen, retire old religions, create new philosophies which shall guide us free of this island, Earth.
I recognize many speculative fiction writers want to write about the end of the world. It is their right to do so. It is easy to imagine our world, writ darker, more fearful, more disenfranchised and then talk of the struggles to be free. Easy to write, easy to create plucky heroes for, and easy to assign blame. What’s harder is to take the swirling shitstorm that is our current reality and imagine something better. A future worth having, one worth envisioning; a future worth believing in.
Go ahead and mock those scientists who created this image. With your lack of scientific knowledge and your great Human capacity for learning squandered watching Monday Night Football and drinking two dozen cheap and tasteless beers. It is also your right to not participate in any endeavors which may better the species. Know this. The greatest failure of the Human race is not our capacity for war. It is not our industries which poison the air and water. It is not our foolishness in turning the only place in the Universe where we can truly call home, the place written into our very genes.
It is our ability to waste the potential of every person on this planet. Each of us is a treasure trove of creativity, of reasoning, of opportunities as yet unreached. Instead of giving every person the chance to be their best, we have segmented the species into those who would do whatever it takes to rise to the top of a dying planet, and those whose potential lies as yet unrealized because of said fact.
Our future, the one where we harness energies beyond our current imagination, like the energies we now casually wield in our modern world, radio, television, lasers, nuclear power; powers our ancestors never imagined except as stories of myth and legend. There will come a day when, if our species is wise enough, we will come to realize our future geniuses, those who will discover the philosophies, the sciences, the humanities, the arts, the legendary leadership necessary to save us, may lie starving on the floor of a village somewhere on Earth.
Our technological development has been amazing. Our social development, the realization of our individual and species capacities for growth have been abysmal. If we cannot square this circle, we have no future worth imagining. Technology without restraint, without vision, without love, without an awareness and empowerment of all of the Human potential of our world, can only lead to a virus-like exodus into space, consuming the cosmos with our every gigantic step.
It is not our technology which shall take us to the stars. It is when we realize the value of our shared humanity, our shared dreams, our shared fears and hopes that we will transcend our many limitations. It will be an understanding of our commonality that will free us from our failings. We can do better. I envision it. I shall inspire someone to recognize none of us have made it until all of us can make it.
Such future are merely a realized possibility away. All we have to want to do is dream of a better future.
Then make it reality for everyone.