By Colleen O'Connor
Bored with “La La Land” and the Oscar dust up? Tired of Donald Trump’s tweets and both political parties’ third-grade tantrums?
Want something or someone to lead us to a more responsible escape from those tedious echo-chambers of grievances? Where to find genuine escapism and relevance?”
The best answer comes in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”
Just ourselves. We can and must do better.
So, think about the future and the following escapes.
Start with science and technology.
The stars really are calling, or at least—some new planets. And not just from among the newly discovered Trappist -1 planetary system.
In two years, Elon Musk will send two “civilians”—albeit who have buckets of cash—to the moon and beyond.
Think about that for an adventure. Self-driving cars are already in the rear view mirror.
Robots, artificial intelligence, test-tube babies, artificial skin, and the possible return of a cloned Wooly mammoth—from DNA preserved in permafrost for about 40,000 years—are near passe
3-D printed guns, condo buildings, industrial and architectural plans, surgical tools, and even a unmanned submarine—that can be deployed with horrific weapons and simply stay underwater until another war is ordered—are facts of life.
As Larry Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell, explains:
“You put a submarine under the ocean and hang a few smart torpedoes, smart mines on it, and you go out. And by the way, for the price of a Nimitz-class carrier, a Ford-class carrier, you can build about 150,000 of these submarines, and you go out and kill that $14 billion Ford-class aircraft carrier, or you kill a $4 billion, $5 billion ballistic-missile class submarine, Ohio-class submarine. That’s the new technology.”
The reality is the $54 billion that President Trump wants to give the Pentagon is already an expensive sop to a bygone era.
Think about that.
Cyberwar has consigned traditional “boots on the ground” and tanks to near relic status.
As the 2016 Presidential election has proven, even words and news have been “weaponized” and deployed to great effect.
Called “cognitive warfare,” “big data” and zombie “bots” collect, horde and exploit personal information (from one’s online accounts and shopping habits) not just to make news, but to bend whole countries to their will.
Or as the 1960s author of “the medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan, warned:
“World War III will be a guerrilla information war, sith no divisions between military and civilian participation.”
Think about that, too.
Cash and privacy are going the way of the abacus. Humans are nearing hybrid or cloned status. And “big data” billionaire computer scientists have learned to “weaponize emotions” for global combat.
Yet, Americans are squabbling about grievances centuries old in nature while this real-time future escapes them.
Think about that, too.
Seriously, the speed of disruption, innovation, and almost frightening scientific and technological successes, are not confined to the political, social, or financial twitter-verse.
They are here, there and everywhere. Yet, we are trapped in a backwards wrinkle in time of our own making. The future escapes us. Change is unwelcome. So, “La La Land” beckons.
To refresh Shakespeare, the fault still remains ours, but the answers may be in our stars. Destiny need not perform a fixed orbit. We can alter course.
In a return to Hollywood, and the great actress Bette Davis, I quote her famous lines from in the 1942 film, “Now Voyager.”
“Don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”
And that would be YOU! Think about it. And try to keep up.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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