Visitors in the 21st Century

This thread is really for all of us that were born before 1980. Yeah, you guys that are 30, 40, 50 and 60 years old.

We are now 20th century people in the 21st century. We have all the mores, sensibilities, reactions, frames of reference, education, history and ties to the century that just passed. Will we be an anachronism in the new age? Will they think we’re quaint?

Think of all the pictures, movies and documentaries you saw of 19th century people in the 20th century and how old fashioned they seemed in that modern age. Will we seem the same to the new breed born in this century or just at the close of the 20th?


Oh, and how do you think we’ll be different?

Not until next year, we aren’t.

David, why do you always have to cloud every issue with facts? :slight_smile:

A seminar on time travel will be held two weeks ago.

Sorry, it’s a bad habit of mine. :wink:

Oh I dunno…the way bell-bottoms keep going in and out of style, our generations may be seen as the height of fashion…but I certainly hope not!


Yeah, I feel it already. Quaint. Anachronistic.

Really. I miss the 1900’s already. They were, for the most part, very very good to me.

I know the date’s just an artificial contrivance – but it’s impossible not to feel the effect of the symbolism. That make sense?

And listening to Arthur C. Clarke yesterday – speaking with such certainty that we will be among the stars by the end of the next thousand years – I feel like a relic. Like I should immediately jump into a tar pit and make way for the next 300 generations.

Kinda sucks. Kinda doesn’t.

It bothers me that I might not be around to see someone land on Mars. But then again, if you believe in reincarnation, maybe you can come back and take the trip yourself. :slight_smile:

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Heck, I’ve been anachronistic for over forty years. Why should I change now?


Well, think of it this way:

1980 was about the same as 1979.

1990 was about the same as 1989.

2000 will probably be about the same as 1999.

The 20th Century probably won’t start to seem like a “quaint relic of the past” until 2015 or so.


Well, yeah, but you know what I mean. For all intents and purposes we are.



Been meaning to tell you that.



Ahem, every?



Saw 2001 last night on Cable. That took me back to the 60’s, big time.

What did Clarke say exactly?



I agree with you. I think that’s accurate. The 60’s, for example, didn’t really take its own shape and aura till 66 or so. I suspect that the 1800s were the same way and probably lasted till WWI. Each decade keeps its flavor for years into the new decade and I suspect a century would be the same.

OK, we’ll be the old men and women of a past century, still using our outmoded TV’s, PC’s cars - fill in your choice -


John John: Well for one thing I think we will be thought of as short and getting shorter. As the cartilage in our spines degenerates we will get shorter. I am a tall man (a little over 6’2"). In my day I was considered tall. These MONSTERS they raise today make me look like a shrimp. I know 12 year olds that are taller than I am. I think it is a combination of nutrition and perhaps something genetic.

My father and mother met just after the war, I think of their time as frought with difficulties just as ours was, but they were different difficulties. They didn’t have the drug issue, no hallucinogenics for one thing.

I have been giving this matter a lot of thought during the past few days. I think it is an important question.
Thanks for the thread!


For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes.


Expand on that? It would be interesting to compare impressions. Was it our age, in that we were filled with hope and had more years in front of us than behind? Or was it the time we lived, the age itself? Combination of both, I would guess.

You’re right about shrinking. I used to be 6’ 2" but after a recent exam I see that I’m now 6’ 1", or a tad under that. Am I gonna look like the small guy from Fantasy Island in 20 years?


Thank you John John for the invite.

Your name reminds me of John Kennedy Jr. and that brings back a lot in itself. I fairly worship the Kennedys even knowing their faults. Camelot was a time of great hope for me.

What will be?

I think the younger generation now is as incapable of seeing things through our eyes as we were of seeing things thru our parents eyes. There are differences though. I see a new rudeness all around me, road rage, disrespecting elders, and plenty of other signs like that. I know we were pretty disrespectful but there is a breakdown happening somewhere and I am not sure where to assign blame. Mostly, I would say as parents WE failed, we failed to give our kids the love they needed and when we failed to show them how (by example) to co-exist peacefully with others, and they ended up making a game out of shooting those who teased them in cold blood (Columbine) and then we flit over to the sports page. I see a desensitizing effect going on. In May of 1970, 4 college kids were shot for protesting Nam (and it turned OUR world inside out). They were protesting that their lives were just so much cannon fodder, blacks especially. Our parents elected a gov’t that failed their kids and many died, some say fighting a “useless” war.

The kids of today have NO idea what we went thru. My father was a Navy man and he and his father were on Iwo Jima together. My dad was an only child! Shades of “saving Pvt. Ryan”!

I see us entering into a very dark time. Many people are abandoning science because technology hasn’t made their lives better it has made it worse(actually THEY made it worse but they blame science just the same).

I see scary stuff ahead, as a scientist I see the great potential of new technologies but I see their potential for harm as well.

Gene therapy could be great, then again it COULD be a living nightmare.

Television could have been the most important step for education this side of the chalkboard. Yet it was used in the most heinous of ways.

The greater the potential a thing has, the greater the misuse of said thing. I see a new morality taking shape and I don’t like it. It’s ok to insert a pair of scissors into an infant then suck its’ brains out and ostensibly kill it as its’ body hangs outside it’s mothers womb. But, heaven forbid if you so much as swat your dog with a newspaper for defecating on the table. People have become so illogical it is frightening.

I believe in rational thinking, I see that as at a premium today. I believe it will get worse.

We will make advances, I do not believe they will feel our needs. We have lost our way and seemingly can’t get back.

There is a quote of Albert Einstein," It’s become appalling clear our technology has surpassed our humanity". I would like to add a quote of mine. “Make no mistake about it, this is the age of reason, nor is it the age of enlightenment. It is the age of technology, technology bankrupt of reason, technology bereft of enlightenment.”

I think we will discover many things and invent many things. I also think we will love each other less and less. The combination of those two things will bring about our demise.

Instead of loving others we will continue to love ourselves (which isn’t love).

I wrote a poem about this in November and I would like to offer it to you.

Alone at night,
only my thoughts for friends,
wishing on a star,
that ne’er shines,
awash in pain,
feeling the angst,
that runs,
like a freight train through my mind.

Thinking of others,
who lost their precious selves,
by clinging to the pride,
their separateness,
their false hope,
to stave off the pain that only ego brings,
existing in a shell of defense mechanisms,
which is all that is left of their being.

I cannot touch them,
there is no one to touch,
there is no one to feel anymore,
just a writhing sorrow,
from looking inward too long,
their soul is asleep,
their mind has slipped into the abyss,
where non-existence keeps its silent vigil.

A tomb for the non-persons,
who traded their birthright,
for a pot of stench,
that grows more fetid,
every passing picosecond,
all that is left,
of love turned inward,
all that is left,
is a hole in time.

Phaedrus 11/9/99
I know this is more than you asked for and if you wanted more prophesies on what exactly the technology will be, I am sorry.

Hope you enjoy this though and I look forward to your comments.


For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes.

You’re right, of course - it’s simply the nature of the passage of time.

When I was younger, I had great-aunts and uncles whose lives effectively stopped in the last War - nothing really seemed to impinge on them after that. And I realised as we approached midnight that I myself - in my mind - have never really got beyond the end of the Cold War, so I suppose I’m well and truly a 20th century fossil already.

But such is life.

John John – he was interviewed at his home in Sri Lanka – part of the PBS coverage of the new year. I’m sorry I don’t recall his exact words – but he said he has no doubt that star travel is in our future.

He also said that as much as he’d like to believe otherwise, he’s sure that we have yet to be visited by aliens.

And if I’d known they were going to be interviewing a favorite writer, I might have thought to set the VCR. Nice to see he’s still among the living though.