Although many of us feel we can prepare for our future by thinking, acting, and learning using present methods and values, nothing is farther from the truth – especially in today’s rapidly changing world. A newborn child enters a world not of his or her own making. Each succeeding generation inherits the values, accomplishments, hopes, successes, and failings of previous generations. And they inherit the results of the decisions made by those generations.
For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence when technologies were simple or non-existent, this may have had little impact on human life and the earth that sustains it. Each generation of hunters and gatherers, then plowmen and pioneers, passed on tools to the next generation to help them survive. Change from one generation to the next was slow and hardly noticeable. In those days there was little understanding of science and how things worked, and explanations were not scientific.
This is no longer the case in today’s high-tech world where a change that affects millions may happen in a matter of seconds. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation, let alone that from centuries ago. Previous generations left a legacy of, exploitation, occupation, and irrelevant values that present great challenges, but also opportunities to the people of today.
The application of scientific principles, for better or worse, accounts for every single advance that has improved people’s lives. Important documents and proclamations have been issued granting rights and privileges to members of societies, but at the heart of human progress – or destruction – is the rock-solid foundation of science.
For generations past it was impossible to direct the future much beyond the present moment, and forecasts of the future were based on non- scientific methods. Prophets and sages presented visions of the future based on dreams, hallucinations, religious fervor, divination of animal parts, crystal balls, etc. Some may even have been accurate, but this was more because of luck than because of any direct channel to the supernatural.
This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.
Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.
So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.
Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.
You will see this society through the eyes of Scott and Hella, a couple of the next century. Their living quarters are equipped with a cybernator, a seemingly magical computer device, but one that is based on scientific principles now known. It regulates sleeping hours, communications throughout the world, an incredible underwater living complex, and even the daily caloric intake of the “young” couple. (They are in their forties but can expect to live 200 years.)
The world that Scott and Hella live in is a world that has achieved full weather control, has developed a finger-sized computer that is implanted in the brain of every baby at birth (and the babies are scientifically incubated—the women of the twenty-first century need not go through the pains of childbirth), and that has perfected genetic manipulation that allows the human race to be improved by means of science.
Economically, the world is Utopian by our standards. Jobs, wages, and money have long since been phased out. Nothing has a price tag, and personal possessions are not needed. Nationalism has been surpassed, and total disarmament has been achieved; educational technology has made schools and teachers obsolete. The children learn by doing, and are independent in this friendly world by the time they are five.
The chief source of this greater society is the Correlation Center, “Corcen,” a gigantic complex of computers that serves but never enslaves mankind. Corcen regulates production, communication, transportation and all other burdensome and monotonous tasks of the past. This frees men and women to achieve creative challenging experiences rather than empty lives of meaningless leisure.
Obviously this book is speculative, but it is soundly based upon scientific developments that are now known. And as the authors state:
“You will understand this book best if you are one who sees today only as a stepping stone between yesterday and tomorrow. You will need a sensitivity to the injustices, lost opportunities for happiness, and searing conflicts that characterize our twentieth-century civilization. If your mind can weigh new ideas and evaluate them with insight, this book is for you.
“We have no crystal ball. ... We want you to feed our ideas into your own computer, so that you can find even better ideas that may play a part in molding the future of our civilization.”