There are two things I have noticed generally about how people in the past imagined the future.
- First, it’s generally optimistic in terms of the technological side of things.
- Second, their visions usually exceed the reality.
Take the article below from the USSR. These wonderful images are in keeping with the idea of Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland. A place that was, and largely still is, about rockets, technology, living in the future and living better than we currently live. In 1955 there was a moon mission ride which was finally updated in 1975 to be a mission to Mars since man had already reached the moon.
That’s an example of an optimistic vision of the future coming to pass. Walt Disney was always optimistic about the future and the potential for man. Take the below cartoon about the highway of tomorrow and see how many predictions, such as the review mirror being a television picture, have come to pass.
Star Trek was also a show with a view of man’s future as one of advancement where technology was man’s assistant. Even today we compare new inventions to Star Trek or some other science fiction show or novel. Progress is the hallmark of man.
The Soviet Union in the 1960’s was a place in the minds of most Americans that didn’t think of the future so much as simply worked to exist in the present. But these images show what they thought 2017 would be like. As we enter that selfsame year we readily see their vision didn’t come to pass. It’s fun to imagine a wonderful future and such musings have lead people to be scientists and inventors and come up with new things for the real world from wonders that were only just imagined.
Though there are also a host of dystopian pictures of the future those are meant as warnings about going too far, about abuses, generally meant as allegories for the modern age. While it can be worthwhile and sometimes fun to explore the dank future like the Matrix, or Terminator, there is a point where this just because pessimism.
True futurism expels the darkness and focuses on the excitement and wonder of tomorrow.
Amazing images from the height of communism showing how a futuristic and all-conquering Soviet Union might have looked in 2017 have emerged in Moscow.