Last Friday’s post got me to thinking a bit. Specifically, it got me to thinking about the future…and about my vision of it.
The first stories I wrote were intentionally light and easy, largely positive/optimistic. While I never tried to paint the Star Trek land of puppies and rainbow-shitting-unicorns, I also glossed over a lot of err, reality. An awful lot.
In what I’m writing now, that “glossing over” ain’t happening. I am focusing, very intentionally, on the darker side of life. Corruption, inequity, marginalization, exploitation…you know, all the shit Gene Roddenberry said would be gone!
Now, one thing to keep in mind: I am a cynic. Possibly even a borderline pessimist, some would argue. I’m gonna stick with calling myself a cynic. And no, the glass being half-full or half-empty doesn’t matter. I just want to know which bastard stole my water!!
Ahem. Never mind.
The thing that helps me most when I imagine the future? Studying the past.
History is full of highs and lows, and the future will be no different. I don’t, however, see the future as totally bleak and hopeless. Quite the opposite, actually. But I do see the centuries ahead continuing all the sins of the present. We very much will continue to visit on our children and grandchildren all of our sins. Just as our parents and grandparents visited theirs upon us, and their parents upon them. Call it the birthright from hell.
Humans as a species don’t change much, and certainly not quickly. Aside from utopian dreams and naive idealism, there is no realistic situation where human nature itself will change. If we haven’t changed all that much in the previous ten millennia, what makes anyone think things will be any different a few centuries from now?
The technology and locations and names have changed, but humans are still doing the same shit we did back when Ramses thought throwing together a big pile of bricks would be fun. Julius Caesar could step onto the scene today and have to change nothing but the language…
We will, quite simply, always have peace and war, saints and sinners, winners and losers. And, yes, we will always have drugs and booze and hookers, too. Just like we will always have art and literature and music. Not to go all gnostic on you, but there is always bad to counter the good.
I’ve written in the past about the first items in those pairs I mentioned above. In Connor’s stories, and in his world, I am writing about the second ones. I’ve mentioned before that it is more effective and more interesting, for both writer and story, to write about broken people than it is to deal with the perfect (here’s a link to that post), and that very much still holds true.
I could be writing about suicide and alienation and hopelessness from the perspective of a quiet, wealthy suburban kid…but those stories would lack the power and visceral, immediate reality of writing about a couple of street kids.
Besides, in all honesty, it’s just more fun to write about the sinners than the saints…