Our Future World

The other day, I read a post that stuck in my head.  It was about the future of mankind.  About our ever evolving world.  Later that night, I walked into my clothes closet where my eye wandered along a row of garments ready for spring.   Linen garments.  I prefer clothing made  from natural fibers.  I enjoy looking at the warp and the weave of it.  The feel of it.  I began to postulate a world in which natural fibers no longer exist because such fibers would be considered too expensive to produce.  There would, after all, be no room in the pods for growing cotton or for tending silk worms or for raising sheep.

Would our aesthetics change?  Our tactile senses dull?  Our visual pleasures evolve?  If so, they would evolve into what?  Already, I have replaced my long silk underwear with some space age synthetic fabric guaranteed warmer than silk.  It is.  My wool socks are now made of synthetic fibers that are more absorbent, cushier, and more comfortable than wool.   They do not shrink or lose their shape.  The underwear feels fine; it does not feel like silk.  The socks are superior to the old wool ones, but they are not wool.  I tell myself that.  I still like the new socks better.  What will people wear in the next century?  I cannot imagine.  I do not believe the fabrics will be linen, wool, cotton or silk.  There will be no more zillion-thread count Egyptian cotton bed linens.  The ones made of wood either.  School children will visit the textile museum to view my bed sheets and giggle.

Will the future denizens of our planet live above or below the ground?  I suspect they will dwell in cubicles surrounded by walls made of much more efficient materials than wood, slate, natural stone or handmade bricks.

Handmade Bricks

 

Austin Stone Column

Will they see the sun…ever?  The real sun, I mean.  Not the artificial, piped-in and digitized spring morning complete with fake blue sky, fake birdsong, and fake sunshine.  Will these people have a memory of sunshine after the second generation?  Or will they no longer require even the representation of a natural world?

First thing in the morning, I think I will sit in the wooden pergola and watch the hybridized grass grow.

31 Comments on “Our Future World

  1. I detest synthetics. I permit no more than 10% to intrude into my clothes, and only if I can’t find 100% natural fibres. Fortunately, there are more and more manufacturers experimenting with vegetal fibres. I do allow 20% synthetic in woollen socks, but prefer those made from a mixture of angora, sheep’s wool and silk. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any since I moved back to Australia. And why do manufacturers perist in lining silk and wool (or any other natural fibre, for that matter) with polyester? Thank you George for giving me the occasion to grumble about this.

    When I walked into a local shop a few years ago and enquired about “natural fibres”, I was asked if I meant “hemp”. I was rather stunned for a moment. (Did I really look like a hippy? Note to self: next time, wear stockings, high heels, below the knee skirt, twin set and pearls. Remove four of the six earrings in the ears. Remove all but one ring on each hand.) Gathering my dignity about me, I carefully enunciated, “Not necessarily. I mean silk, wool, cotton, linen… That sort of thing.” The saleswoman didn’t think that the shop had any of that. A few minutes later, I triumphantly waved an “all cotton” top at her. Two sizes too big, but at “sale” price and all natural. (I have since grown into it.) “Hemp”, indeed!

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    • Ha Ha! Yes, you really do have to lose at least three or four sets of earrings in order to be taken seriously by the discerning eye of a salesperson. I’m still laughing at your description!

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      • I only wear three earrings in each ear but, surprisingly, this seems to astound young people more than the older ones. Apparently, the elderly are not allowed to have “piercings”. I only have them in my ears. Nowhere else. However, the lady in the shop looked older than I. Or is that just wishful thinking?

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        • I don’t think we are good judges of how we appear to others. I have been surprised to hear how others perceive me. We are strange, you and I. Ha. You are funny. “Only three in each ear”? Young people are flexible, though, and more accepting of strange older people, I think. I am guessing that young people are surprised by the earrings and pleased too. I am sure they sense something of a connection with you once they process all of those earrings!

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    • I don’t require many “decades” to get out of here. Thank goodness. I am not a much of a blissful adventurer if it involves discomfort of any kind. 😉

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  2. We will all plug directly into the internet and beam up to the next reality where we will pretend to live in a world full of natural fibres and fresh air. Maybe we already have, but forgot, and now the computer software is running itself. Check out Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams.

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    • Lord, I knew it. I was waiting for that. I have this creepy feeling that I’ve been here before. You are doing absolutely nothing to dissuade me. Don’t you dare go there! I KNOW the software is running itself. If I close my eyes, it all disappears. Did you know that you can see images on the back side of your right eyelid? If you don’t, you aren’t looking. (Hint: it works best in daylight, but is possible in the dark…) That, my creative genius friend, is our reality…glimpsed on the undersides of our right eyelids.

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      • For $2.99, I just downloaded the secret of our existence. Cheap enough, huh? My people will get back to your people on it.

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        • You could have gotten it for $3.03 on E-Bay and they would have included a bar of Nirvana soap and a bottle of Epiphany Lotion.

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          • I am hoping my next epiphany doesn’t come in a bottle. Nirvana would be nice however it arrives. Ha Ha You are too clever!

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  3. I am somehow reminded of the movie “Blade Runner,” but I am optimistic that humans will adapt. I have already seen so many incredible changes – and adapted to – in my lifetime. Some I am glad that I will not have to experience! Enjoy the grass…

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    • I am sure humans will adapt as long as there is oxygen. It would be fun to drop in a hundred years from today. Maybe. 😉

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  4. Wonderful post, George.

    It’s funny you should post about this . . .The other day I was speaking with someone at a local coffee shop. As we chatted about this and that, somehow the topic turned and I learned that she is an ancestor of Sacajawea, and better yet can prove it; this of course led me to asking more questions, where I learned she receives money for college, and special perks that we non-Indian folk won’t ever see. Anyhow . . . she mentioned an heirloom of sorts that has been passed down from her great-great-great grandmother to her; a hand-made, beaded satchel. For whatever reason I got to thinking . . . What on Earth will the generation bringing up mine’s rear leave for their children? Bedazzled iphones? Ipods? Uggs? I feel as if we are drifting further and further away from our heritage and ancestry, and heading straight for base consumerism. I hope we can find a way to preserve the things that are truly special.

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    • I think you just expressed the essential conflict that we all feel now. What does our society value most? We no longer make things with our hands. There is no connection between the things we use in our lives and the people who made them. We lose our sense of place and eventually of identity in such a society. I have always had a sense that our technological advancement is outpacing the evolution of our sensibilities. I fear that we will come headlong into a conflict of technology versus value systems. If we produce nothing of intrinsic value with our hands and our minds, we are in trouble.

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  5. Thoughtful post. From a person who has sheets with a thread count of 12, I personally don’t have much experience in the warp and woof department. I’m still always pleased, though, when I occasionally see rice and sunflower seeds and such sold in real burlap bags which i use to protect the peonies and roses in the winter.

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    • No, you really have to view that fabric under a micron microscope to find a thread! Ha Ha.

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  6. I don’t know, George, there is a movement now to return to natural fibers. We are learning more about how clothing made with synthetic fibers, for example, when it is laundered, ends up killing sea life (when the minuscule plastic fibers end up back in the ocean). I am noticing more and more special labels on clothing and towels and sheets indicating “made with 100% natural fibers” so that they will stand apart from other items, and more and more people are seeking out those products. There may still be hope! Children care about the environment; they may make the right choices and turn things around. Here is a related link to an original post that was re-posted on another blog that I follow: http://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/synthetic-fibers-and-our-oceans/

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    • I saw the documentary on the floating Pacific garbage dumps. They are miles long and wide. That’s scary enough, but the tiny plastic threads and particles that now make up a great percentage of the ocean plankton is even scarier. The blog you linked to is fascinating. I clicked to follow it. Thanks. As the article describes, among other equally frightening observations:

      “Charles Moore has found that in some areas, plastic outweighs zooplankton – the ocean’s food base.”

      This is serious business.

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  7. Let’s post more pictures for future generations to know what they have missed! 🙂

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    • Good idea. You know, they’ll probably think we were sweet and innocent and naive, won’t they? I wonder what their world will be like. My mother lived to be ninety-six almost. She looked forward to technological and scientific discovery and wished she could live to see the world in the next 100 years. She was more optimistic than I am.

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  8. There was a TV series a few years backed called “Firefly”. It was awesome. A friend of mine turned me on to it and I just ordered the DVD’s from Netflix and we are presently watching the one season’s worth of episodes. It was not renewed. It is a story of a time far in the future and so amazingly true to life. I really wished it had been continued. The writers certainly had a grasp of what life will most likely be like in the future. I think we will be able to successfully clone any natural substance that we need and not have to rely on the laborious planting and harvesting as now, but still have the materials the genetic twin of the ones made by nature. As has happened over and over again….I think our world and our nature will adapt to the changes required.

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    • My mother said a number of times that she would really like to see the world in a hundred years. She was optimistic that the future of technology was bright. Lots of people do not think so. I think you are probably right. Thanks for the insightful comment, Sue.

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  9. Your post reminds me of a movie I saw a LONG time ago–Logan’s run starring Michael York and Peter Ustinov. Thank you for a thoughtful post.

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    • I know. I’ve read a lot of science fiction. Our world is slowly approaching a more real-feeling science fiction place all the time!

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