Sometimes it’s easy to dream about the past, or the future, and think how much simpler life would be if I lived there. In the past of fiction and imagination the pace was slower, the living simpler, the possibilities seemingly boundless. Then I start remembering all the stuff I take for granted, and frankly enjoy, that didn’t exist in my favorite time periods. Health care, indoor plumbing, personal hygiene in some cases, not to mention general sanitation. If there’s one thing I despise it’s stinky smells, and there would be a lot of those.
I suppose if I were born in the past I wouldn’t mind that the streets ran with effluvia or that indoor plumbing consisted of a chamber pot. But to go back to there from now? Realistically? No ta! Besides I’d probably be a serf, not a princess or other high-status individual, and life would be not just stinky but short and hard.
As for the future… Well, I’d like to live in the kind of future where money doesn’t exist, where each person’s talent is carefully nurtured and everyone is equal (yes, I know, I’m back to Star Trek again, aren’t I?) but again my realistic nature makes me question that dream. Humans are strange beings—competitive, argumentative, egotistical, to name a few characteristics—and the traits that make us human would seem often to be impediments to that kind of Utopian ideal.
Then there’s that pesky thing called ‘technology.’ I don’t hate it—believe me, my computer is one of my favorite possessions—but that doesn’t mean I actually understand it. Every year technology advances and I know, without a doubt, at some point in my lifetime it will far outstrip my needs and ability to keep up. So, should I jump forward in time say two-hundred years, would I be even able to function? I wouldn’t have the necessary implants given at birth or have the chance to learn how to use them seamlessly, like those future children do, should that be a part of future humans’ lives. Even if technology isn’t that intrusive, I can picture myself curling up in a corner, gibbering, as someone tries to teach me how to get the replicator to feed me!