I have seen the future. And in it, people will not find pleasure and status by acquiring, using and displaying the latest electronic devices. Instead, the people who carry no electronic device will be those who command attention, respect and even envy.
In the future, the wealthy will pay others to carry and tend to their technology. Artists and spirit-seekers will give up wearable computers to find inspiration. Lovers will unplug because ecstasy and devotion are far more impactful powered only with the electricity of eye-to-eye and skin-to-skin and soul-to-soul connection.
You want future facts? Try these:
- The Big Die-off - We are in the midst of the 6th great extinction. Hundreds of species have died out. Thousands more are endangered.
- Urban Explosion - 66 percent of the world population will live in cities by 2050 - a mushrooming from 3.9 billion (2014) to 6.3 billion (2050)
- Loss of Human Habitat - Climate change means the sea level is rising fast. This leads to more flooding for the coasts where many people live (39 percent of the US population). By 2100, depending on how much our ice caps melt, London could be submerged and many coastal areas where people live in Africa, Asia and the Pacific could be rendered uninhabitable.
We will crave sitting outside, unencumbered by earbuds or video, uncoupled from computer games, free from the digital design equivalent of potato chips, the eating of which only makes you want more.
The fortunate will sit patiently under the stars and wait for one to fall.
We will aspire to listen to the tide lap up the beach, to climb through a wood and feel our legs and lungs work and see the steam pour from our mouths and rise from our skin.
People will pay top dollar to wake up first thing and go outside to watch the sunrise and pray.
In the damp forest, questers will saunter and stop and celebrate the find of a large red-domed mushroom.
Caffeine lovers will pay extra to drink coffee outdoors and stare at the java steam lifting skyward illuminated by the morning sun. Others will look on and be impressed. Imagine - to have the time to drink from a cup without a lid!
The minions indentured to their own electronic convenience will yearn to revolt and shake off the shackles of being on-line all the time.
The lack of possessions will be seen as liberation.
And the idea of enough -- not too little, not too much, awareness and appetite in balance -- will seem like a melody of such enchantment and rarity that men will trade gold just to hear it for a few moments and women will offer their dearest gift, friendship, just to sing along.
So, here's an idea.
This year, turn Thanksgiving into Thinks-giving.
Yup. The whole day without digital engagement. No screens. No big balloon parades. No football.
Just people. And nature. And reflection. And breathing in and out. Oh, singing and dancing, too. You can watch or participate. It just has to be happening in front of you, or around you, or in your imagination.
My guess is this kind of inhabiting the future will not only be a shock, but will probably bug the hell out of anyone who tries it. You see, the noise of our lives echoes in our brain long after we power down our modern tools for connection.
Still, it's kind of tempting. An adventure. To give up your handheld to actually hold another's hand. What would it be like? To go to the future and live like a king simply by turning everything off. Except your mind. And your heart. And your spirit.
What might you learn?
Cross-posted on Thinking Philanthropy.