When writing the future, it’s a good idea to think about the past. There’s patterns in history that echo through the ages. From human nature to how certain elements of history repeat, to the little things that seem mundane.
Beds, pillows, and definitions of ‘comfort’ change according to the ambient situation. ‘Wealth’ is relative. The modern definition of ‘wealth’ is yesteryear’s definition of ‘everything’.
Croesus, who invented coins, would have likely been a struggling middle-class man, compared to the likes of Jeff Bezos. About the only thing they likely have in common is forcing people to work for them for next to nothing, but I digress.
The very word ‘car’ derives from ‘horseless carriage’, but when there were only horses, carriages were also called ‘cars’. Some things are older than we thing. Other things persist and are re-made or re-purposed for the more modern era.
Humanity went from writing on clay tablets, to learning to write on slate tablets, to typing novels into electronic tablets. From reading scrolls to scrolling through their social media.
Very little changes.
A while ago, I tripped over this advertisement:
It’s a burger that’s meant to be shared amongst six people. Or horked down by one enormous glutton. Take your choice. But there’s something about the design of the bread that seemed… familiar.
And then I found one they made earlier. Like thousands of years earlier:
Circa: Pompeii, earlier.
Pompeii’s loaf is divided into eight, but the principal remains. It’s a sectioned wheel of bread, designed to be pulled apart for use or eating. The only real difference is the sesame seeds and the seal.
It’s entirely plausible to extrapolate a future in which a wheel of bread, stuffed with ingredients or otherwise, is also sectioned in a similar way for easy distribution.
Similarly, we have two toys, also thousands of years apart, and the only real difference is the materials that made them:
The one on the right is from ancient Macedonia, as I recall.
And more recently, we have the FLIZ, a non-pedal ‘bicycle’ that allows one to run along the streets like Superman. Which is cool and awesome until you realise that it’s just another form of Velocipede. A concept that even the inventors admit to re-visiting.
Humans keep making old things new, and not learning the hard lessons of history. Like: when you have a leader that only cares about their own ego, there’s a huge gap between the rich few and the poor masses, and education standards are sliding steadily downhill, then it follows that society is due for either a revolution or a collapse.
If you’re offended by the parallel, then you might want to prepare for the inevitable instead of jumping down my throat. Just saying.
The point I’m making here is… some things are immortal. Some things will pop up in a pattern. It’s up to us as writers to shape a future that could be likely, given what we know. And thus, throw a mirror up at what’s happening today.
Hopefully, those who don’t learn from the lessons of history will take a few cues from the lessons in fiction.