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Today: The Future of the Past

Miscellaneous By: Sir Squab
Science fiction


A person from about the sixteenth centuries has a dream about an average day for an average person from modern times, then reflects on it. Presented as the real writings of a (fictional) sixteenth century nobleman is a literary device.


Submitted:Apr 15, 2013    Reads: 12    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


Editor's note: this writing was found preserved in the ruins of a burn down estate in the English country side. It was found in a metal case buried under a layer of bricks. The preservation seems intentional. It is estimated to have been written sometime in the sixteenth century.

As I write this, I cannot help but wonder if I'm mad. I shall write it here, in this book that shall not be looked at until the day I am deceased.

Still, I feel compelled to write this.

For several months, I have had dreams. Dreams of what I believe to be the future. They feel completely real. I will talk to somebody about some magic that the future brings for us. Then I awake.

I feel as though the knowledge is driving me mad. Hopefully writing it down will help clear my head.

****start writing****

I awoke to the blaring of my alarm. 6 am. Time to get up. I got out of bed, flicked the lights on, turned off the alarm and went to shower. First I relieved myself, flushed the toilet and washed my hands. Then I turned on the shower, water spraying from the shower head. I waited a few moments for it to warm up, then I washed myself. Stepping out of the shower, I blow dried my hair then toweled the rest of myself off.

This is the first part of my dream. During the dream, each part of it feels so mundane, yet everything is so extraordinary! The magical device with glowing numbers showing the time. To ensure that everyone wakes up in the morning. I know in the dream the reason I am so tired - I simply stayed up too late the previous night. The reason one is able to stay up so late in those times is the light they have. A small switch, and suddenly the room is filled with light. You can completely ignore the darkness of night, simply stay up with the artificial light.

The bathroom is remarkable. Yet before I describe it, I must offer a warning - this paragraph is not for the faint of heart. For those with delicate sensibilities, I would suggest you skip the next paragraph.

The washroom offers a place inside where one can relieve oneself. Bodily waste is relieved into a vast bowl of water. It does not stay here - one can "flush" the waste away. The bowl opens up, water comes rushing from it and all the bodily waste gets sent far away to an appropriate place. Then the bowl is replaced with clean water. In the dream I did not think about where it went. The important part is that it is dealt with. I can vaguely recall mention of some sort of "sewage plant" from the dream. Perhaps some plant that deals with bodily waste.

Inside the shower is amazing. Turn the tap and warm water is expelled from a device near the ceiling. The shower is closed off with sliding doors so none of the water escapes, except through a drain at the bottom. With the water and soap, one cleanses oneself daily. It is a morning ritual. I know, somehow, that plagues are all but non-existent in the future. I feel as tho bathing is part of it.

Stepping out of the shower, I can remember drying myself and my hair. I used some sort of device that warms and expels hot air onto my hair to dry it while making a horrific roar. It is noisy, yet truly remarkable! Like many things in this world I saw, it is powered by a magic known as electricity.

This electricity is marvelous, yet simple at the same time. I do not know how I know it, but I know that electricity is produced from mills. Watermills, windmills and other forces cause spinning to make electricity.

Done showering, I dress myself. Walking to the kitchen, I grab cereal from the cupboard, milk from the fridge, bread from the freezer and butter from the counter. I put the bread in the toaster, turn on the kettle then start to prepare my morning coffee.

So simple, yet so amazing. The fridge and freezer are one combined unit - a giant cupboard and a small cupboard. When the door is shut, it is airtight - sort of like the hull of a ship to keep the temperature in. The purpose of the refrigerator and freezer is a special cupboard for keeping food cool!

The refrigerator is kept just above the temperature of freezing water. In this, meats, milk, vegetables, etc. spoil much more slowly. The freezer has a similar function, but has a temperature just under that of water freezing. Ice itself is stored here, for putting in drinks you want cold.

On a cold day, we can make heat with fire, but on a hot day it is hard to cool oneself. Imagine drinking from freezing cold water on a hot summer day! There are things in the future that are considered so mundane in those times, yet currently not even a king can acquire such luxuries!

The kettle and the toaster work similar to kettle or toaster of modern days, except the heat is generated by electricity instead of fire.

I turned on the TV and watched a bit of the local news. Seeing nothing interesting, and having some time to kill before work, I switched to a show I recorded during the night.

The Tv. Television. Absolutely amazing. Imagine the greatest painting of the greatest painter in the world. A completely lifelike painting, capturing everything you see with your eyes with complete accuracy. Now, imagine those pictures move and you almost have the television. It appears on the screen of the TV. Add in sound, recorded along with the moving pictures to recreate anything the camera has caught. These are called videos. More of what is accomplish with the electricity magic.

Great cameras can record all of these things for you. Some cameras, like the ones used to record for the TV are very fancy and beyond the reach of the average man. Yet there are cameras available to the average person, to take either a completely lifelike picture or even a series of moving pictures, with sound to go with it.

Looking at the time, I realize I need to head to work now or I might be late. Walking into the garage, I open the garage door as I walk to my car. I exit the garage after climbing into the car and watch the garage door close down before I start driving to work.

Cars are truly amazing. Horseless carriages, powered by the ancient remains of creatures long since dead; creatures terrifying and fearsome that have been dead for thousands of thousands of years. It is powered by the blood of ancient dragons, known as gasoline.

The truly amazing part is how common they are! I drive through the neighborhood and I know that every house has one! As I reflect on the drive, I realize that the average house is much larger then that of a commoner. And every house heated and provided electricity.

I remember exiting the garage, watching the door close down before me. It is the size of a small barn, yet the door opens up and down instead of from the sides. I do not open it myself, no - it is again powered by electricity.

As I drive through the neighborhood, I see streetlights with regularity. Like the rest of this unfathomable world, they too are powered by electricity and turn on automatically once it is dark out.

Reaching the highway, I find it busier then usual. I check the time - 7:15am. Running a few minutes late this morning, I realize that rush hour is starting. Checking the speedometer, I realize that I'm still making my regular speed of about 100km/h or 60m/h. The traffic isn't thick enough to slow me down yet.

The highway is an amazing sight to see. Mile after mile of smooth paved road, much, much smoother then cobblestone. At regular intervals the edge of the run will circle out, over and around the highway. It is a truly remarkable feat of engineering! A bridge that simply exists to go over another road! To see the road curve up and over another road, without aid of natural terrain - simply held up man-made supports.

And the speed. Those speeds seem like pure science fiction, yet they are the speeds one travels with alarming regularity in the future. The powered of one of these cars is measured by how many horses would produce the same power - and they all have speed in the hundreds. Imagine a horseless carriage, powered by the might of several hundred horses. That is what a car is.

And the size of the city is without compare - hundreds of square miles by hundreds of square miles. The horseless carriages seem amazing to us, yet are a necessity in the world of tomorrow. These highways are like the veins of the city, allowing fast travel from one end to another.

I reach downtown. Driving between skyscrapers, I finally reach my office tower. Driving into the underground parking, I leave my car and head up the elevator. About a minute and twenty-three stories later I reach my destination.

Sights considered so normal leave a person with our perspective absolutely agape. To drive amid these tall towers, aptly called skyscrapers because of how high they reach into the sky. Imagine a thousand men, each standing on each others shoulders. That is what it would take to reach the height of these towers. Truly unimaginable.

And to reach the top with such speed. It barely feels like one is moving except when the elevators are speeding up or slowing down. It is marvelous - yet considering the speed of cars, I suppose it is not that surprising.

Walking into my office, I spent hours working on the files on the computer. Crunching numbers. Yawn. Bored, I took a quick brief break to browse the internet.

Computers. They feel almost impossible to describe. Like the TV, it has a screen to show anything and produce sounds t go with it. It can preform mathematic equations that would take an excellent mathematician weeks to complete in mere seconds. There is a keyboard that can make any letter or number appear on the screen by simply pressing it.

And then there is the internet. A collection of all of man's knowledge in one place. An anonymous place only accessible via computers. It is a remarkable place, yet not entirely good. It is a place where anything can write and publish anything. Any writing, any picture or set of moving pictures.

This is both good and bad - a true two edged sword. All of man's wisdom is here, as well as all of man's delusions and paranoia. Pictures, videos of great works of art, as well as degenerate pictures and videos. More sensitive should skip to th next paragraph now - the internet is also full of all sorts of pornography. Both pictures and videos of it.

Truly, I could write an entire paper on the internet. Yet my understanding of it is so imperfect, and to write it here the reader would only obtain an imperfect understanding of my own imperfect understanding, so I shall leave it.

I ate lunch, then had a meeting to attend. I barely remember it, for I slept through a lot of it. The boss talks about his trip out of town and new strategies. Thankfully it is a busy meeting and I manage to not get caught nodding off.

How odd, sleeping in a dream. The remarkable part was not what happened to me in the dream, but what happened to my boss in the dream. He had recently flown back from another city!

This is what can happen in the future. Great artificial metal birds, powered by the same gasoline cars use, fly between cities and land in airports - like a port but for vehicles of the air. The cars are fast, but these airplanes move ten times faster, traveling as the crow flies. To know that one day man will conquer the sky! I wish I could have experienced it for myself - I can remember from the dream the knowledge that most people will fly on one of these airplanes infrequently, once a year or every few years depending on the individual.

I left the meeting. Checking the time, I realized it was time to be heading home. Near the train tracks, I got stuck behind a cargo train. I called the friend whom I was going to a visit that night that I would be a few minutes late I then texted a few others out of boredom. Annoyed that the train was still there, I browsed the internet on my phone. I found out about some interesting game and downloaded it. As I was about to start playing it, the train finally passed.

In such a short period of time I see so much more of the future! The smartphone I have is amazing - it is like a little portable computer, connected to the internet. Even normal phones are remarkable - they are a small, portable device you can use to talk to anyone anywhere in the world!

The smartphone is named because of how much more it can do then a regular phone. It is basically a smaller, less advanced, portable computer. With it, II can take pictures, videos, talk over distances of thousands of miles with friends or even send them letters of sorts. Not letters on paper, but letters that appear on the screen of my device and send it to others. Like the TV or computer my phone also has a screen to show pictures or videos.

To have the internet available at any time and place is remarkable - yet the gift is wasted in the future. You have a device which can access the entirety of human knowledge - yet it is usually used for trivial concerns. The future holds so much potential, yet much of it is wasted on us. For with all our advancements, we are still human.

Even in the future I do not understand how this phone works; nor the TV or computer for that matter. It is amazing how little of the world the average person truly understands in the future. So many mundane things, part of everyday life, yet most people have no idea how, truly, most of it works.

The cargo train, at least, is simpler. A device older then cars, they operate on a similar principle. However, instead of traveling with freedom on roads, they use railroads which is simply the future equivalent of wagonways. The main difference is they too have power without needing horses. If cars are horseless carriages, then trains are horseless wagons. They carry thousands upon thousands pounds of materials. There are many wagons hitched up to one another. A single of these wagons is over the length of ten men lying head to toe; a cargo train has so many of these wagons that they are often several miles long, yet is takes mere minutes for an entire train to pass.

Not all of these trains are used for cargo - many of them are used for transporting passengers as well, moving them throughout the city. I am only vaguely aware of this, for nowhere in my dream did I ever use that means of transport.

I ate a nice dinner at my friends house. After dinner we spent some time playing video games. We had some beer. I stayed late into the night and slept at his house, for I had drunk too much to drive safely.

Video games are a remarkable invention of the future! There are consoles to play games on, which are basically special computers to hook up to a TV to play video games. They are playable on regular computers as well, or even smart phones! The app which I mentioned briefly earlier is one of such video games.

It is amazing what I experienced in my dream of the future - yet the truly remarkable part of it is that the dream I had was of an unremarkable person having, by future standards, an unremarkable day. I have so many stray thoughts of random bits from the future - there is so much more to offer.

I truly wonder at my sanity as I write this. Yet there is one sentence that sticks to my mind, said by someone in the future: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The name of the person who wrote that suddenly springs to mind: Arthur C. Clarke.

Editor's note: the above passage is a completely accurate transcription of the writing found in the ruins. I have done many tests and I am certain of the authenticity of the original writing. However, like the original author of this text, I know I will face ridicule if I were to publish it. I shall store it in my personal collection.





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