1984 is behind us. We’ve danced like its 1999. 2001 came and went without a space odyssey. Even Back the Future II is in our rear view mirror. So what lies ahead? Are we doomed to Blade Runner’s bleak future or destined to suffer a Waterworld? Will we destroy our planet and desperately seek Interstellar alternatives? Or will our magnanimity expand along with our horizons as we explore Star Trek’s brave new worlds?
I don’t know what tomorrow holds, and neither do you. But I do know our ability to shape the future is defined by the limits of our imagination. We may not be able to create everything we envision, but we will never create a future greater than the one we can dream.
And so I’ve decided to embark on a journey across America to engage people in a discussion about tomorrow – a year-long bicycle journey to all 48 contiguous United States.
Every action we take has consequences for tomorrow. No one set out to create a world of income inequality, racial strife, and religious wars. They are simply the logical result of economic and political systems, which, whether passively or actively, we value more than we dislike their collateral disruptions.
However, acknowledging that we can’t control the future doesn’t mean we can’t influence it. If we can articulate how we want to live, only then can we take steps in that direction. This is why I’m asking the question: “How will we live tomorrow?”
I’m often struck how movies set in the future use retro iconography. The planes in Avatar were vintage 1930’s, Star Wars’ Chewbacca looks Neanderthal. Sprinkling bits of our past into an imagined future unhinges us from the present and makes it easier to access whatever fantasy the director has in mind.
In a similar way, I am accessing an elementary form of transport – the bicycle – to ask about tomorrow. A guy on a bike doesn’t prejudice anyone’s idea of the future. I hope to be accessible enough not to threaten, and quirky enough to elicit unconventional responses.
Please follow me on this journey. I’ll post my progress, tales from the road, and answers I receive to “How will we live tomorrow?”
But consider doing more. Participate in the adventure with me. Send me ideas of where to go, what to see, and who to query. Answer my question for yourself. I’ll also post responses to “How will we live tomorrow?” that you and others write. Add your voice to how we shape our future.