The movie is what I’m talking about. It came out in 2015 and while it is fiction it attempts to address the question, “What happened to the future people dreamed about 50 to 100 years ago?”
It certainly seems that the sentiment of the 1950s and the power of science has changed significantly. Back then, science was the future. It was powering industry. It was increasing longevity. It was solving the world’s problems.
Skipping over the science for a moment, the movie addresses a bigger issue. One of feedback loops. In the movie, they discuss showing people a catastrophic future, but rather than address the challenges needed to overcome that future, society revels in the coming inevitable demise. The end is coming because people are told it is. Breaking this cycle is the key to saving everything.
Social media and the internet is a great weapon in the fight for information that society has battled for centuries, but as a weapon it’s closest analogy would be a double-edge sword. While the internet is filled with all the knowledge anyone could need towards starting down a solution to any problem, it’s even more filled with people to tell you will never be successful. It’s filled with people that will tell you even if you are successful, they’ll never follow you or adopt your solution. It’s filled with people ready to tell you that tomorrow isn’t going to get any better and it’s time to accept it.
What is the problem here?
The problem is the feedback loop is pushing everyone to be more average. Yet, as we can see from history, the average person has never made the major breakthroughs that push society to a better place. The average person didn’t invent the air conditioner, without Willis Carrier you’d wake up thirsty after sweating in bed on summer nights. Without Alexander Graham Bell, you wouldn’t be able to connect to your family easily when living far away. Without Henry Ford, we wouldn’t have the production capabilities of the modern factory to produce enough goods to have a higher standard of living.
Tomorrow offers more opportunity than yesterday ever did because we are wiser, more experienced and more knowledgeable. However, we have to use the tools available, not to push to average, but towards incredible. 100 people making TikTok videos organizing themselves to write, act, direct, and edit a major cinematic piece is no doubt going to be more extraordinary than the sum of their videos individually. This is what social media should push us towards. We need organizers as much as we need creators these days. Tomorrow depends on it.