Abayomi Ogunwale | Klo1
The wind is howling again. The temperature outside is dropping by the minute and the sky is gradually taking on the colloidal face that I have come to accept as one of the signs of approaching autumn. After fifteen years of living in this section of new Hamburg, it is so easy to hear (even from this distance,) the metallic whine and groan of the humachins trudging home after a hard day’s work at the city center. My tired eyes wander from the reams of history tapes, discs and the old pictures (borrowed from the museum) stacked on my desk, and away from my computrome, microchips and electrochips which tell in astonishing and embarrassing details the forgotten sagas of the civilizations that existed here before us. Then, I rise from my desk, take a few steps away to retrieve a bottle of spirit stashed away in the secret compartment of my bookshelf and pour myself a shot. As i sit sipping my drink, my eyes and imagination exit the clear window of my forty-second floor acardillon, to settle briefly on the complex mix of human beings, humachins, robots and other inhabitants of the Milky Way in distant view- hover like roaches ahead, before alighting on the dark earth in the far distance. Old faithful earth! I close my eyes and try to imagine the numerous layers of civilizations buried under her and the rich mix of history enclosed within each grain of sand. Finally, I imagine you, the object of this exercise and I return to my desk. Oblivious to the sound of an age so unlike that described in every book on human history, I plunge into the task before me with renewed vigor. If you get to read this lettrix, then we must have succeeded -where your astro-scientists failed- in sending information across the chrono-g barrier.
The year is 2218 and my name is Ungol. I was released into the mortal cycle some thirty-six revs ago and raised in a remote place, far from new Hamburg both in geography and in character. A place called Tanuka, – on the other part of the world-, near the world farms (the continent you grew up calling Africa) and closer to the remaining parts of nature as you know it now. That may explain my fascination with natural history in part. To give you a clearer mental picture however, I will need to educate you a bit. Funny, isn’t it? I will be quoting from what is my history but will at the same time, be declaring what tomorrow holds in store for you!
With the emergence of a united Europe and an increasingly overbearing United States of America, a war for world supremacy was inevitable. It took some time arriving, but,my dear, it did. In the winter of 2030, three years into the tenure of Wilheim Krautz (a German Diplomat) as the sixth chancellor of the European Union, the ‘mother’ of all World Wars finally started. What began as a poorly managed show of political power soon spiralled into a full blown nuclear war, with alliances quickly struck, sides taken in haste. After ten years of blood, tears and rubble, the US fell, China and Japan with it. But, victory came with a heavy price. A quarter of the world population had been destroyed and major water bodies had been contaminated with nuclear waste. Needless to say, it was a barren victory.
The world became one indivisible socio-political unit under the leadership of the European Union chancellor working with a Supreme Global Council (SGC), with the resources of all the continents pooled together for the common good of humanity. This arrangement at last eliminated war and the Middle East crisis, as Jews, Palestinians, and in fact, everybody had a right to live anywhere they chose. Barriers were pulled down, boundaries erased and the world experienced peace for the next seventy years.
In 2089, world population hit eighteen billion and in the face of dwindling natural resources, famine seemed inevitable. To forestall this, the world chancellor, Otto Mielder proposed a bill to the SGC making indiscriminate conception and delivery illegal. Under this bill, all citizens of the new World were required to be sterilized using gamma rays and procreation became a government controlled exercise. Then, using a complex system integrating in vitro fertilization, cloning and organ recycling, the government started producing ideal babies, assigning the task of raising them to specially selected and trained gravi-maids. Initially, there was mass resistance. But, when people realized the sexual freedom it offered, the uproar gradually gave place to muted celebration. Thus, any two consenting adults could mate without any fear of unwanted pregnancy and sex became a recreational activity. HIV-AIDS? No problem! Sixty years earlier, a scientist working on the cure for breast cancer had stumbled on its cure in breast milk. Ever dependable mammary Juice!!!
We colonized Mars in 2101 and the first flying cars were made. Humachins, a complex creature made out of human parts, silica alloys and a specially configured brain box were first introduced in 2108. Having no freewill, greater strength and the amazing ability to function in any capacity depending on their specific programming instructions, they soon ‘cropped’ up everywhere, operating in one capacity or the other.
Emotions as you know them: Love, anger and hate are gradually being phased out as the government gradually releases genetically prefigured babies into the cities with a singular desire, survival. – If need be, even by natural selection! Let’s just say that, I am one of a rapidly disappearing population of True-Borns.
Schools no longer exist. The government simply configures all progeny with specialised abilities to meet specific work targets in a need-based system; and these progenies can be programmed to be doctors, teachers and engineers, musicians, artists or even cooks. Prisons also belong in the long forgotten past. Now, offenders are simply re-programmed!
Enough of my world! I am burning with my own old, stubborn and still unanswered questions. Primordial Adam, extra-terrestrial Christ?… What’s the taste of pork? What is the psycho-physiological basis of love? Huh! My questions go on and on. I will spare you, at least for the moment.
As I watch this bit of ‘foreknowledge’ radiopirise through my computrome mainframe to appear on a simple computer in your age, I can’t help but marvel at the irony of it all. Size wise, the earth has undergone little or no transformation, but we now know of a certainty that ours is not the only life-system inhabiting this beautiful universe. There are others just like us, (and some, even better!) on other planets out there.
Though there be no love, no hate, no pregnancy and no faith, life on this planet still has its peculiar pleasures. We may be totally dependent on recycled food and cadmium isotopes as the primary energy source in place of fossil fuels, yet i will not trade the wonders of this age, even for yours! Through books we now know what road led the human race here and why things must never be the same again.
Finally, I imagine that since I told you that I live in an age where black, white, Jew and Arab mean nothing, you may assume that the earth has changed in the past couple of hundred years and I am tempted to say yes! But, I look through my window at the moon hanging in the early evening sky like an ageless sentinel- privy to our deepest secrets and mutual destinies- and an impartial witness between you and me. Somehow, I can’t shake off the urge to offer this reassurance: My friend, don’t worry, it is the same, old, reliable mother- Earth, alright, but what a brand new world this is!