At my usual daily post time of 23:59 we enter the calendar date 2020 CE. The visual and aural symmetry of the new date appeals to me, and in English, the number 2020 refers to clear vision.
The intellectual turbulence of the previous millennium will come to an end because of the now available transparency of people’s needs and hopes. What will replace that former chaos will be more intrusive and powerful than the present tracking by Amazon, Facebook, and their Chinese commercial equivalents. The real calming and stabilizing of society will come about because of governmental observation of every individual’s behavior and offering that person a few choices that they will find more acceptable than what they are presently doing. This won’t happen next week but by 2030 it will be commonplace.
For me, these forms of social control appear impossibly oppressive, because I have lived eighty-four years within a bubble of almost total personal control. It has been my choice to obey public traffic laws. All the laws of the road I endeavor to obey. I stop at stop signs, even when it’s clear. Why? Because it’s easier, more comfortable, and leaves time to figure routes that are more interesting, and usually I get where I’m going quicker than the racing people who are stuck in force you way ahead and gety trapped in traffic at stoplights.
Conforming to social laws is even easier. However, in college, and after that in turbulent Berkeley in the 1960s +, I was at the center of many tipping points of action. It’s strange, but if you are right there, at the tipping point, a tiny, innocent action like the classical planting of a flower can change everything.
The observation by computers of my thoughts, and yours too, and the incessant pushing me to buy something will probably be gone soon. The system will know what I want and need, and instead of a blizzard of unwanted things, it will narrow it down to a simple choice of things it knows I will like. Our lives may become filled with beautiful choices.
The 2020s may not be oppressive with demands of obedience, but more like a beautiful art gallery of choice between doing things we really like.