Gene Wolfe, Orson Scott Card, and others.

Sunday, 16 December, Year 4 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Twenty five years ago some people were asked to write a brief note for readers in 2012. Behold :


But the Writers of the Future Contest has asked me to read your palm, nevertheless. Twenty-five years is not great length on the scale of the history, and thus I am conservative, limiting myself to the following five predictions—one for each finger. And indeed, they are less prediction than certainty.

• The Thumb—Power: America and the U.S.S.R. preserve an uneasy accord, each testing the other's will within well-defined limits. No major nuclear war has taken place. Soviets are more like Americans (and Americans more like Soviets) than anyone else.

• The Index Finger—Learning: Vestiges of reading, writing, and spelling remain in the curricula of the public schools. Those who can read a few hundred common words are counted literate. The schools train their students for employment—how to report to computers and follow instructions. (Called interaction.) Fifty million adult Americans are less than fluent in English.

• The Fool Finger—Entertainment: Sports and televised dramas are the only commonly available recreations. The dramas are performed by computer-generated images indistinguishable (on screen) from living people. Scenery is provided by the same method. Although science fiction and fantasy characterize the majority of these dramas, they are not so identified.

• The Ring Finger—Love: There is little sex outside marriage, which normally includes a legal contract. A single instance of infidelity is amply sufficient to terminate a marriage, with damages to the aggrieved party; this is a consequence of the two great plagues of the past 25 years. (I do not include the one we call AIDS, because it began well before this was written.) The population of the planet is below six billion. People live in space and on the moon, but their numbers are not significant.

• The Little Finger—Minority: A literate stratum supplies leadership in government and most (though not all) other fields. Its members are experimenting with sociological simulations that take into account the individual characters and preferences of most of the population. Its aim is to increase the power of the literate class and further limit literacy, without provoking war with the U.S.S.R. or alienating the rising powers—China and the Latin American block. A literate counterculture also exists.

Its products, too, are largely science fiction and fantasy; it tries to broaden the literate base, in part in order that its output can be read. It is of course to you of this counterculture that I write to say, take heart! Twenty-five years is no great length upon the long scale of history. In my time too, the age was dark. But we are summoning the sun.

~Gene Wolfe

Predictions for 2012

We must count ourselves lucky if anyone has leisure enough in 2012 to open this time capsule and care what is inside. In 2012 Americans will see the collapse of Imperial America, the Pax Americana, as having ended with our loss of national will and national selflessness in the 1970s. Worldwide economic collapse will have cost America its dominant world role; but it will not result in Russian hegemony; their economy is too dependent on the world economy to maintain an irresistible military force. A new world order will emerge from famine, disease, and social dislocation: the re-tribalization of Africa, the destruction of the illusion of Islamic unity, the struggle between aristocracy and proletariat in Latin America—without the financial support of the industrialized nations, the old order will be gone. The changes will be as great as those emerging from the fall of Rome, with new power centers emerging wherever stability and security are established. The homogeneity of Israel will probably allow it to survive; Mexico and Japan may change rulers, but they will still be strong. If America is to recover, we must stop pretending to be what we were in 1950, and reorder our values away from pursuit of privilege.

~ Orson Scott Card

It's remarkable to me how it's always the case that any consideration of so called "selflessness" in any shape or form without exception yields failure no matter what's being enteterained, and any reliance on individuality correspondingly yields success, yet everyone, including those with direct experience of this fact continue to ineptly insist.

Forget this bullshit "selflessness" non-notion and be happy already.

Category: SUA care este
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2 Responses

  1. "Those who can read a few hundred common words are counted literate."

    Damn, I'm about as old as the length of this prediction. It describes my public school education spot on.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 28 December 2012

    These people knew stuff.

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