November 5, 2011

Science Fiction

It's hard to tell my African friends about America without feeling like I'm describing the plot of a science fiction movie. Maybe my memories of the United States are tainted with nostalgia, or perhaps the gulf of living standards between Los Angeles and the village of Chimupati are this vast, that to view one from the other only the lens of fiction is appropriate. So this is my view of home, ripped from the pages of comic books.

In the space colony of America, our hands our not calloused by rubbing soap into dirty laundry, we have robots that spin our wash in cycles and beep, happily content with a completed job. Meanwhile the buildings raise towards the sky, occupying the vertical, as pipelines for motorized vehicles, one red, the other white, span the horizontal.

Our personalities have been drastically modified by living in the cloud, being able to jack into cyberspace at any given moment, and through social networking, have cyberspace jack into us. Our memories have been replaced by YouTube videos. No questions are left unanswered, even the queries that cannot be framed, their answers appear in front of us, always. There is no mystery left in this world, everything has been spoiled.

Rarely are we aware of actual weather phenomenon as we move from one climate controlled bubble to another. In fact, with the amount of time we spend indoors, our rooms and offices have become our ecosystems, and we continue to evolve together. We have become the Homo Cubicus, our movement is confined to the grid, hunting and foraging, metaphorically only, from box to box.

Produce is available without regard to seasons, it has become kiosked, so much so we have forgotten where it comes from. In fact, its origins are purely mechanical, a timeline of gene splicing and eternal modification in pearly white laboratories. Our animals are born already processed: piles of raw meat shrink wrapped and styrofoamed.

I hope you know, the United States of America, science fiction has become your reality, and this is a minor step away from a robotic revolution or an apocalypse not removed of its irony. I just hope the future tastes as good as I remember it.

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