by H.E. Taylor
|Chapter 47||Table of Contents||Chapter 49|
Edie’s Questions , October 4, 2056
Since our talk about Neurolin last spring, Edie had applied herself to her distance courses and done well. She had stopped taking it when she finished the courses. Judging by the steady stream of customers who dropped around for fab created items, her basement business was thriving.
I mentioned it to her once. “I noticed you set up another fab,” I said.
She nodded with a funny little smile. “Yeah, I’ve been busy,” but no more was said.
Several times Edie ambushed me with funny, awkward and/or impossible questions. “Have you ever considered how difficult it would be to describe an ordinary day of your life to someone from 200 or 300 years ago? Even just to talk to them. The language has changed. There would be these words — electricity, radio, computer — words that we take for granted, but which would be unknown to them. And behind the words are concepts — visions of the world and how it works — electromagnetism, radioactivity, DNA, evolution. These would be like invocations of magic to them.
“Look at what you did in just the last half hour. You got home, tried to call Jon and then checked the news on the web. Just think of that. To talk to somebody 2500 kilometers away. They wouldn’t believe it. And microbugs. Hell people living 50 years ago wouldn’t believe that.
“How many of our ideas will seem similarly primitive, 200 years from now?”
One time she caught me off guard with a question that was just the kind of thing dad used to ask.
“Before there were cities, hunter-gatherers laughed at the idea of land ownership. ‘You cannot own the world. The world owns us,’ they said in innumerable ways.
“When people began to live in cities, they started to regard the planet as a collection of resources to be exploited. Gold mines, oil fields, farmland became real estate to be traded with pieces of paper in a gigantic boardgame.
“So here is the question: Now that the world has turned on us, what will define the relationship of people to the world?”
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
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Last modified July 9, 2013