A Future Society
By E. Prelog
The early years
It is the year 2050 and we are currently looking back to 2020, when the first global standstill was caused by the first Corona Pandemic. Curfews were imposed worldwide for fear of spreading the virus, air travel and general traffic were completely suspended, trade came to a halt, and sporting and cultural events were suspended.
Borders were closed and, although everyone was crying out for solidarity, there was no solidarity except amongst those staying at home. There were fights over protective equipment, tests and vaccinations, which were withheld, stolen or simply not delivered. In this misery, business went on, and severely affected regions received no support from those who were even better off. The number of unemployed and people in debt increased out of all proportion. Although there were hardly any Corona deaths at that time, the resulting economic standstill led to a worldwide recession.
However, that was not what actually happened. More climate catastrophes followed, including droughts and floods, as well as frosts in spring, which destroyed harvests. Whole swathes of land became deserts or swamps. The continuous use of pesticides and herbicides to increase yields ultimately resulted in the ruin of the soil and to worldwide famine, the likes of which had previously only been seen in Africa.
The omnipresent suffering, the national debts, the numerous wrong decisions made by the leaders, the mutual recriminations and the fight for resources finally reached their peak in 2026 due to further virus pandemics. Mankind had reached the point of no return. Poverty and desperation now characterised the previously rich G20 countries and the huge, previously wealthy cities.
In almost all countries, elected parties could no longer agree on coalitions. Public discussions about what could be done dried up. In addition, humanity was saturated with the horrible images that were broadcast every day at one-minute intervals across the media. Some people fled into isolation, some retreated into religion. “Social Distancing” had lost its social value and the mental illnesses associated with it were included as a separate disease in the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) diagnoses in 2021. Within their own four walls, people lived out their frustration, argued and fought, took drugs or tried to kill time and isolation in any way they could.
We owe “The Change” to the dreamers and idealists, the optimists and innovators of that time, who slowly came together to form a united social movement. In the midst of the chaos, regional communities and associations sprung up to counter the despair. They succeeded in motivating people to live again, to listen to each other and to remember the personal resourcefulness they had forgotten. Everyone was welcome in these communities: The old and the sick, the sprightly, the children, the doers, the providers, the keepers, the gatherers, the hunters, the creative, the strong and, of course, the weak.
The Internet was rediscovered, but because of the high energy consumption of the servers, it was only used for networking and exchanging know-how, knowledge of old-fashioned crafts, education and culture. Surfing the Internet for pleasure and self-expression had become obsolete. As humanity was not only starved of food, but also longed for new stimuli, the new social network quickly grew on a global scale, which, due to the lack of alternatives on the one hand and new and attractive opportunities to get involved in the community on the other, was quickly followed by many people.
A new image of humanity was born, according to the following principle: The life and happiness of others is as important to me as my own. Humans – not profit – are now the focal point of world affairs.
A new collective form of government was born called “Global humanistic altruism”. Every human being should find everything he or she needs for living, working, self-development and happiness everywhere on earth – nothing more, nothing less. In turn, this meant: access to water and toilets for everyone; food for all; a roof over everyone’s head; work for all; love, respect and compassion for all, everywhere.
Furthermore, it means that each person assumes responsibility for society within the scope of his or her abilities and directs his or her actions towards its well-being. The principle of solidarity – rich providing for poor, healthy for sick, young for old – experienced a renaissance, not „institutionally decreed“, rather chosen, understood and experienced by the people themselves.
Education system today
Today’s global education system enables not just every child, but also every adult, to exploit and develop their natural talents. Only what is needed is taught. Judgments no longer exist. The community checks whether each member has been given enough to develop. Furthermore, each person can learn and adopt the things he or she wants to.
Today’s „school“ no longer takes place merely in classrooms, but above all in woods, meadows and fields or in deserts and swamps. Children can move freely, even climb trees and play in the mud again. The new school system not only increases their social intelligence but also their physical dexterity. Comprehensive education, one of the most important values in society, is now financed with money from the former weapons industry.
In the communities children play together in larger groups and are looked after by older children or grandparents. The many different types of residential community that emerged from our different needs now provide security and show us the many advantages of a community lifestyle.
Men and women have finally given up their unspeakable competition after 200 years of gender battles in favour of partnerships that complement each other and value and honour the abilities of the opposite sex.
Work and leisure
People in occupations that serve to maintain the infrastructure and the system (cleaning, road construction, care and maintenance, teaching and training, food production, etc.) now receive a correspondingly high salary in addition to their guaranteed basic income. In the same way, farmers and gardeners were upgraded. The ground is fertile again, alpine pastures are being cultivated once more and profitable, even (in the meantime, excessive) urban gardening led to many cities on Google Earth already merging with their green surroundings in daylight.
Old professions such as brokers and stockbrokers, and even trading with imaginary money are fortunately a thing of the past. Investors are not investing to increase their capital, but to give innovative ideas the chance to be realized.
Today’s people are masters of their own time. They use it to further advance the social system, to educate themselves and others, to find new technologies that serve mankind and the planet, and in return be recognized and valued by society – a fact that would have been unthinkable not so long ago.
Foreign cultures and races are no longer seen as threatening, but as a broadening of horizons and are integrated into people’s own powers of perception. Xenophobia and patriotism have been uprooted, since there are no “foreigners” in the narrower sense of the word and we see the planet as our only and common home that needs to be protected.
Living along with Nature
The knowledge of our absolute dependence on nature and on each other has become engraved in our minds as the most important insight. Christians, Muslims, Jews and others realized that the term „God“ necessarily requires humans. Without humans there is no necessity for God. That’s why it is essential to protect and care for Mother Earth, under all circumstances, in order for mankind to survive.
This resulted in new fields of work and research as well as new professions. Today, children, the elderly and the sick are cared for on a personal level, in their own surroundings, in cooperation with experts. The previous paradigm „heal the sick“ soon changed to „maintain and promote health“. Health care workers now visit communities regularly. All this made health care affordable.
Factory farming and breeding-exclusively-for-food-production, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides are now limited to the lowest possible levels, as this type of farming was found to be the main cause of diseases and pan-resistant germs that no longer responded to any antibiotics. The return to natural resources, sustainable agriculture and arable farming had a major impact on changes in eating habits. Diseases of the wealthy such as obesity, vascular calcification and diabetes are now a thing of the past.
Our social life now revolves around the communities we move to. We are largely free from prejudice and fear of social contact. We experience enlightening social evenings where we marvel at each other’s contributions, which inspire us, in turn, to search for and develop further skills in ourselves and in others.
Dealing with pandemics and cooperation
In the meantime, we have also grown used to pandemics. The innovative approach to virus alerts, which was introduced in 2028, showed us the potential that an emergency situation can bring to light. Whilst the initial global lockdown was still being implemented in a haphazard way, when the first alarms were raised, it is now a routine process. Thanks to the concerted, worldwide, disciplined “shutdown”, it is now possible to carry out further and more targeted research into the spread, nature and containment of viruses, and human lives can be successfully protected.
For, in the event of a virus alert, the travellers among us today remain where we are in the world at that moment. We are welcomed like family members by the locals and can seek different employment during the quarantine period , experience new cultures and meet people who are well-disposed towards us. In so doing, we bring our know-how to our host families and, in return, receive useful new ideas and knowledge for our own regions.
However, those of us who stay at home also behave with due consideration, out of respect for the lives of others. Larger gatherings are avoided, and the elderly are specially protected, as was retrospectively proved by the Swedish model to be the best method.
Today I remember with horror how we experienced the year 2020 and the period that followed. Many of my friends and I were perplexed and shocked as events came thick and fast. But we were also cautiously optimistic that things would now change for the better. At the time, we spread messages on social media about the importance of sticking together – globally, beyond national borders and ideologies. Many experts spoke up and sang from the same hymn sheet. Fortunately, we did not know then that a “few” more years would pass.
That I am still able to write such a piece today at the age of 87 is thanks to a) my “health buddies” who visit me weekly, b) the stimulating conversations with the people around me and the video conferences with friends further away, c) my fellow community members, who support and care for me, but also challenge me, and d) the global decision to stop making tobacco products which came into force in 2030. A ban on alcohol is still under discussion.
I am spending my twilight years in a community with twelve family members and friends aged between 1 and 120. We are largely self-sufficient and all work together to make a living. We have a huge vegetable garden, where nurturing and harvesting give us much pleasure.
I think it is wonderful that senior citizens today still have a job and are not left to rot in a nursing home when they are old and “worn out”. After the great changes of the 1920s, we could no longer afford to send the elderly to homes and do without all their knowledge and skills. Indeed, we could no longer even afford to retire, which was a great shock at first, but turned out to be extremely positive in the long run. Furthermore, because of continuous employment and „cooperation“ in the newly created communities, the previously rapidly increasing number of dementia cases sank again.
I was denied children of my own, and am all the more grateful that, in my sixties and seventies, I was given the opportunity, after all, to look after children, to explore the world with them, to tell them stories and have some of them tell me a few.
I am grateful that, as the human race, we were able to turn the corner, and that our previous concerns for the future were replaced by a firm trust in the love between people. But we must not take it for granted. Working on being human takes a lifetime.
Translated and edited by Gareth Evans-Jones 2-5-2020