We're often asked, how does one become a citizen of the next century? Excellent question! We didn't want to come up with something too lofty so we took some time and thought about it. We looked for key trends in society and pop culture, we discussed all of our own life lessons, we researched ideas of leading futurists, and yes...we even decided to revisit some of our favorite science fiction books, movies, tv shows, etc.
Below is our final product. We hope you enjoy. And yes, we hope you live long and prosper.
The Future-ish Slightly Sci-fi Inspired 7 Step Guide to Becoming a Citizen of the Next Century.
Here is the short list...
- Get to know your parents and/or the people that raised you.
- Learn about your ancestry.
- Learn about the host culture of the places you live and travel.
- Learn about the places where you live and travel.
- Be Future Friendly.
- Take an interest in science, design, and culture.
- Get involved with shaping the future.
- Get to know your parents and/or the people that raised you.
Whether it was your biological parents, Aunties and Uncles, Grandparents, adopted parents, or some other parental figure...we all owe a lot of who we are to the people that raised us. Take some time to appreciate their contribution and make sure to thank them...a lot! Next time you introduce yourself take a little extra time to mention the people who raised you. We knew that many Indigenous peoples introduce themselves in this way but we were quite surprised to see how prominent the role of parents were in some of our favorite science fiction works. From Spock’s Human mother and Vulcan father to Luke Skyewalker’s step aunt and uncle, the people who raise us are vital to how we grow as individuals, communities, and as a global society.
Many people say that their family goes back one hundred, three hundred, or five hundred years. Well, if you're alive today you actually have a family history that goes back a lot farther than that. You have Ancestors that were alive during the industrial revolution, during the Middle Ages, during the Roman Empire, the Bronze Age, and even farther back. Make an effort to learn the language of your Ancestors, learn about their culture and their worldview. If you can, try to learn some of their traditions and find out what you can do to keep some of their culture and traditions alive. Whether it is Lieutenant Commander Chakotay of Star Trek: Voyager keeping his ancestors' traditions alive in space in the 24th century, the team of Stargate Atlantis keeping the Earth holiday calendar going, or the real life astronaut Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor from Malaysia figuring out how to practice Ramadan in space, we're confident keeping culture and traditions alive in the future is a sure thing.
In our modern times, so many of us live or travel far away from the places we were born, the places where our families are from, and certainly from the places our ancestors lived. Luckily, in every part of our world, cultures that have existed for thousands of years are working to keep their culture and traditions alive and available for generations to come. From Azerbaijan to America, Ireland to India, and New Zealand, Zimbabwe, if you look you will always find a long standing host culture that is active and thriving today. Whenever you move or travel to a new location, take some time to learn about the past, present, and future of the place-specific host culture of that area and you will find your experience much more rewarding. The entire Star Trek franchise was built upon the mission to "explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations". You don't need outer space to do that, simply drive a few hours to learn about a local Indigenous community near your or plan a trip to another part of the world to experience new and different worldviews. Learning about host cultures could involve a lot of customs, traditions, and protocols you're not familiar with. One quick tip: the best way to show respect for other peoples culture and customs is to do your best to do things in the way they do things. Even if you're the honored guest, if you always consider yourself the least important person in the room, you'll never go wrong.
Along with #3 above, take some time to learn about the physical places where you live and travel. When you think about it, you may be surprised at how much living by a certain river, in a certain valley, or next to a certain mountain range has shaped the way you think about your world. And we all know visiting a major natural landmark can be life-changing. We certainly know from many sci-fi story lines that the planet you come from affects your outlook on life and worldview...or should we say 'universe-view'. And of course, one of the first thing the crew of the Enterprise would do when coming upon a new world was to scan the planet for its geological makeup and habitability. Here on Earth, start by learning about the rich geological history of places. Find out what rivers and mountains define the area and bioregion, learn about waterfalls and prairies nearby, and plan to spend a lazy afternoon walking through a forest or hanging out by a pond to watch wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, take some time to learn about the native plants and animals of the places you live and visit. From butterflies to bats, you'll most likely be quite surprised by the number of species that occur only in the place your are living or visiting. And then...AND THEN...add to all that the cultural history connected to the places where you live and travel. Do all this and you'll have a whole new appreciation for the places where you live and travel whether it is here on Earth or Saturn's most habitable moon, Titan.
There is many a sci-fi story line that warns of what might happen when a society does not steward their resources well (the movie, WALL-E, happens to be one of our favorites). In the real world, we already know that human population will continue to rise while resources, like access to clean water, will become more scarce. We here at Future-ish are strong believers that science and design will indeed address some of the pressing social and environmental challenges that face us and we are confident that we can improve and expand local and global economies in ways that have economic, as well as social and environmental value. There may be a need for big changes but each of us can make the world a better place as individuals too. So, whether you are a grandma or Lady Gaga, the average Joe or George Clooney, you can make lifestyle choices that are more socially and/or environmentally responsible, sustainable, or - our favorite - "future-friendly".
We say it a lot here at Future-ish, we believe things are going to be a lot different in the the not-so-distant future. Sci-Fi clearly predicts that we'll all be science savvy in the next century but we already see signs of this today. Children build robots in pre-school and middle school students are studying elements of quantum mechanics. Whoever you are, whatever your job is, it is easy to become get more connected to the science, design, and culture shaping the future that are specific to you. If you have a passion for fashion, learn about the science of textiles, read the biographies of your favorite designers, and keep an eye our for cultural elements that inspire the lines of fashion designers. If you are into sports, check out the science behind your sport, whether it is soccer or Formula One car racing. Do you know who designed the football? Or the architect of your favorite stadium? And there is a lot of culture in sports too. Have you heard of Jim Thorpe (1888-1953)? He's considered one of the greatest athletes of all times and he was part Native American (Sac ad Fox, Potawatomi, Irish, and French). Science, design, and culture shape the future in thousands of ways every day so now all you have to do is get inspired, educated, and involved in ways that you connect to.
One of the most important things each and very one of us can do is to get involved with shaping the future. Whether its following a personal dream, joining the board of directors of a nonprofit, helping a cause you are passionate about, taking part in your child's PTA, volunteering to help out with an election or ballot campaign, or even something as simple as making sure you, your family, and your friends vote, unless you get out and get involved with shaping the future, your unique ideas and opinions will not be represented. Star Trek's United Federation of Planets would never have been formed if Earth hadn't stepped up to unite other worlds in the Alpha Quadrant to ensure interstellar harmony. Back on Earth and right in your very neighborhood...talk to your Senators about your thoughts on science policy, support funding for the arts, and help out with diverse cultural events in your community whenever you can.