The future holds as much promise as it does threat
In our current social climate, it seems as if we prefer to look towards the future rather than live in the present. We expect advancement in our community from the next chemo treatment on the market to the latest titanium iPhone. The 21st century has given rise to such a fast-paced way of living that the future is struggling to stay ahead of us. Whether our future will be a pleasant one or the polar opposite is questionable but perhaps “ying and yang” explains it best.
In order to exist there must be a balance of positive and negative forces at play. Other than our Earth’s death that is predicted to take place in the future, the future appears to be rich with potential. Not only does the future promise technological change in terms of advancements in fields like robotics, transport, medicine, holographics, renewable energy, space travel, gene modification and nano technologies but also sociological change. Greater equality, for instance, is a sociological possibility of the future.
In fact, if we track the entirety of human history right from caveman to the internet-dependent homo sapien of 2013, it seems as if progress in gender and race equality has been made already. Therefore, it would not be in humanity’s interest to look back. Greater equality in the future will only increase with women in top positions in the workforce living in a harmoniously multicultural world. We still have many hurdles to overcome as a society in these respects, but, in the future, equality in humanity seems possible.
Globalisation is often referred to as something positive, a stepping stone towards the ideal of a global, peaceful community. Nonetheless, globalisation can equally be seen as a death trap that would eventually induce total war. The world shelters seven very powerful continents which have different beliefs, let alone methods for government. If the time was right, international war could ensue or is it too far-fetched to believe that we could have a government where all nations adhered to one ruling body? Could we assume world peace then?
Would war be a thing of the past? Climate change by far threatens the livelihood of our future more so than any other threat. The world could implode on itself tomorrow with tsunamis, heatwaves, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic explosions borne out of our incessant polluting, populating and overdeveloping. Climate scientists are predicting that “the end is nigh” whether we proceed to do something about it or not. Consequently, the future has as much potential to be grim as it shows promise. Medical advancements are also another positive aspect in the future.
Every day, medical researchers are getting closer and closer to finding the cure for diseases and disabilities such as leukaemia or multiple sclerosis. The future must surely hold the key and be a bright beacon of hope for everyone where exciting new technologies and advancements in the medical field will surface. Yet, for every hope for the future is the risk of an equally opposite outcome. Advances in genetic technology, for example, have brought many benefits but also raise some serious concerns: will such advances encourage attempts to create a “perfect,” high-achieving species, leaving an underclass prone to illness?
An article from the Age tells us that couple Candy McCullough and Sharon Duchesneau selected a deaf man as a sperm donor after being told by a sperm bank that donors with disabilities are screened out. The couple see deafness as a cultural identity and not a disability. Many would categorically condemn this deliberate attempt at engineering a genetically defected child. The release of 1997’s Gattaca prompted much discussion on the topic of bioethics, an idea that has long been put aside as fantasy or “the impossible.”
Director, Andrew Niccol, suggests the theory that genetic engineering is simply a more controlled form of applying the organic “survival of the fittest” in a society where humans fear nothing. Within the film, this association between genetic engineering and Darwinism is disputed at various levels. Vincent’s character is that thorn that snares the ideology of a world made perfect through genetic modification. He, a “de-gene-rate,” an “in-valid,” who is able to make things happen for himself through sheer determination and passion in a world where genetically modified human beings rule.
Vincent succeeds where Jerome, a “made man,” a “valid,” does not, “twelve fingers or one, it’s how you play. ” Therefore, as much as there is room for threat in the future it is clear that in similar proportions there is room for promise. The future remains unpredictable and unattainable for humankind. Within it can lie as many jewels as snakes. Considering this, all we can do is live as much in the present as we can and enter tomorrow hopefully having learnt from the mistakes of our past and having acquired the skills necessary to be equipped for the future.
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