I often think about the future and how things will change… Today I felt particularly inspired, for whatever reason, and I have decided to write on the topic. Without further ado…
(Divided into Academia, Religion and Politics)
Changes In Academia
The Archeology of the Internet: all facets of humanities will be affected tremendously by the sheer amount of data storage that started from the ’80s onward. All academics in all humanities fields will look over the late 20th and early 21st centuries with great curiosity and it will prove incredibly insightful. I imagine that there will be great efforts to peer into the individuality of our era, and it will prove a great burden as well as a great boon to all of these fields.
When it comes to sociological, political & historical analysis the blogs of ‘nobodies’ (as well as famous blogs) will be put into massive databases to analyze ‘true public opinion’ of the time. There are errors in the “objective polls” that occur, as pollsters themselves have sometimes admitted…
There will be an entire class of scholar branding themselves as ‘Archeologists of the Internet’ or perhaps ‘Internetologists’ who will strive to classify and order blogs of all types in order to analyze us in all manner of light; they will even do their best to determine biases within this period (e.g. were there more liberal bloggers than conservatives? Were more of the conservatives prone to knee jerk reactionary attitudes, and were the liberal bloggers more prone to more extremist stances than they would hold in real life? etc.). It’ll be an amazing field…
The Arts (particularly music): the study of music and art will change drastically.
I am not qualified to speak on visual arts… But as far as music goes: scholars will look back to our time and dedicate great effort into the analysis of electronic music, hip hop, punk, metal, etc. and all ‘alternative’ forms of music.
The people who will be viewed as our Beethovens, Wagners, Vivaldis?
Naturally famous musicians like John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne, Bob Dylan will be regarded highly but I predict that scholars will be most interested in the seminal, early works of each genre of music — whether it is stuff like Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin in electronic, or NWA, Tupac, Jurassic 5 in hip hop… And of course, our dear metal music.
As far as my favorite goes, Black Metal, I do believe that the material of Burzum, Mayhem and Darkthrone will be studied, but also the revolutionary and breakthrough works in lo-fi music with ‘unique’ sounds like Eisenwinter, Drowning the Light, Ildjarn, Absurd, Beherit, etc. will be studied for their individual interpretations of lo-fi art. More progressive black metal acts (which I am generally less interested in) will be studied — this will be a particularly difficultl field because the sheer number of quality acts is astronomical.
Music itself cannot progress much further than where we have gotten to — the realm of electronic music, of course, seems to be ‘inexhaustible’ but in reality the human ear is already reaching its limits as we speak. My guess is that there will always be ‘revolutions’ occurring in sound, but these will all be easily compared to what we were developing between the ’40s & today.
We will find professional music scholars who specialize in everything from ‘classical’ to ‘hip hop.’
I imagine there will be people in the year 2090 saying stuff like, “I am a Black Metal fan… Of course, I enjoy the classics like Burzum but I am more of a fan of the 2040s-2060s Latin American lo-fi black metal that experimented with lo-fi EBM mixed in, not dissimilar to some of the Drowning the Light and Eisenwinter albums from the early 2000s.”
People will make bands that focus on the imitation of specific styles… I imagine there will also be bands dedicated to covering the incredibly extensive amount of music from the 1980s – 2090s, and it will be respectable to ‘cover’ and ‘re-interpret’ classics. Just as a school orchestra seldom (if ever) composes their own material, there will not even necessarily be a need to ‘song write.’
Artists will be respected for ‘digging out’ gems from this period and putting their own interpretations on them.
Probably by 2030, there will literally be enough of a history of Metal (and other forms) to have musicians specialize in simply ‘rehashing’ old pieces.
There will probably even be people who will gain some recognition for releasing albums that are nothing more than “1990-2030: A Journey through North American Black Metal” that might even ‘mix’ these one into the other. DJing music will be elevated to a higher form of art. There will probably even be DJs for genres like Death Metal who will host little parties and specialize in playing 1-3 minute clips back to back of a mix of well known and unknown tracks from the previous decades of music.
My guess is that religions like Baha’i will perhaps become more popularized due to the world ‘getting smaller.’
Traditional religions like Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism will probably prosper; scholars will be liberal and more widely allowing, as a general rule. Buddhism and certain sects of Hinduism might become more popular due to their ‘philosophical aspects,’ and Christianity & Islam will also begin emphasizing their respectively large pools of philosophical thought and experience their own sorts of theological renaissances.
Atheism & Agnosticism of course will exist and may even encompass a larger segment of the population but I believe that the friction between ‘nonbelievers’ and ‘believers’ will diminish greatly. The reason being that religion’s more liberalization will give less reason for opposition, and like any movement… When it attains ‘acceptance’ it becomes a shadow of what it once was. In a sense, atheism & agnosticism will be de-fanged by their relative success.
Knee-jerk reaction atheism & agnosticism will disappear for the most part.
The ‘great debate’ that is the existence of Godhead will dwindle down to personal feelings. I think that religion, overall, will ‘gain ground’ as it entirely disentangles itself from the archaic fundamentalism — but we must also understand that ‘fundamentalism’ as we know it is mostly a 19th century reaction to what was perceived as the ‘threat’ of science.
But such a “threat” cannot exist for long as science deals with the observation of the natural world while religion deals with the larger philosophical question of what is beyond the natural world and what is the potential origin of life. Even if the very origin of life is explained in scientific & natural terms, the ‘prime mover’ concept of existence will carry on.
Politics: Resurgence of Populism/Fascism In Its Myriad Forms
It’s been a long time coming.
Democracy is the sacred cow of the 20th century. Democracy implies that ‘the majority of public opinion’ is correct, and should determine our leadership…
But there is a total recognition of many people now, more than ever, that there is something misleading about this. Occupy Wall Street is evidence of it — the Left is pointing out, as usual, that the people are manipulated by media, education and existent power structures.
Meanwhile, the far Right Wing movements have been temporarily silenced in this moment but as the very concept of Democracy is pushed and challenged over the next decade we will see a resurgence of what can only properly be called ‘early Fascist movements.’ Do not think of Nazism… Think merely of the idea of generally autocratic governments run by single parties pushing a singular cause.
Perhaps the continued form of government in many places will be ‘democracy’ but the pointlessness of it will be questioned further, because ‘objectivity’ can only go so far as all societies erect ‘sacred cows’ and instill them into their general populace to produce the results that they desire.
“Truth” never has been and never will be determined by what the majority of people think.
If Democracy goes uninterrupted in this period it will be in spite of the fact that of the general realization of this…
There may be movements for the fracturing of nations and more regionalized government.
Moralist Movements & Regionalization Continued
They happen on both the left and the right; Democracy affords a lack of public morality and merely replaces it with the idea of ‘civic consciousness.’ Civic consciousness is not enough to quell the thirst people have for fulfilling right & wrong.
Moralistic movements, whether it is something like environmentalism, socialism/communism, veganism, anti-sexism/racism/homophobia, are already well on their way.
Right wing moralistic movements are under fire more than they ever have been — the mistake in thought is that this is because they will somehow be extinguished and rendered irrelevant.
In reality, these will grow of their own accord. Whether it is of a religious, nationalist, ethnic nationalist, Third Positionist or just a general out & out “fascist policial/sociological system” being advocated, they will grow.
A vacuum is created by ‘pop culture’ and the non-committal nature of democracy — the relentless straddling of the center leaves a bitter taste both in the mouths of the Left & Right Wing…
In a more individualist society we will probably see more honest fracturing of our nations.
What is the purpose of California & Texas being ruled by the same federal government? It seems incredibly relevant that the “Union is preserved!” but the idea of the all-encompassing nation state meant to essentially subjugate regional desires will be rendered archaic as people become more & more conscious of the shortfallings of democracy.
There is absolutely no reason why liberal Tehran should have the same government as the conservative areas around Shiraz; there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be more regionally deterministic.
As the biting dialogue between left & right are fanned further & further by media organizations there will be no ‘winner’ in the conventional sense… But a mere movement towards separation.
Even if “one side” were to re-assert a dictatorial control of public education, media, etc. and opinion manipulation this will be seen for what it is: the fascist seed that exists within democracy.
We’ll all realize that we don’t have to compete for control of a Federal government, but instead that we can all win on our own with more regional governments being implemented.
All governments based on subjugating a liberal or conservative opinion of a region by their own will find themselves on more tenuous ground as the Sacred Cow of “democracy” (as we know it) is sacrificed.
We all make the mistake of thinking “Our Conservative values will always triumph” or “Liberal ideals are the inescapable path of the future,” but politics is incredibly complex; not even the Right or the Left are even unified in their opinions…
And there is no reason why 300 million people have to be joined together at the hip and all be generally unhappy together.
The Moralists in all of their stripes want to see their ideas propagated, and there’s no reason why 100 million+ people should be subjugated by 200 million+ people’s interpretation of it.
The speed of this process will depend on the economy.
In fact, all of this depends on the economy…
But it does seem clear: our conventional notion of democracy is dated by 200+ years of idealism and is unsustainable unless these ‘democratic’ governing bodies decide to literally assert themselves just as a Fascist would and crush under their heel their opponents through propaganda campaigns.
(We’re already seeing these seminal propaganda campaigns on a thousand fronts and they will only grow.)