On television there was a movie in which the leading man and woman were sitting beneath the stars, holding hands. The woman pointed to the star filled sky and said “Look! A shooting star!”
“I see it!” replied her beau. “Did you make a wish?” The woman replied that she had and asked if he too had made a wish. Yes, he too had made a wish. Sharing their wishes, they had both wished that they could remain there on that dark porch forever, feeling the love they had for one another as they sat beneath the starry sky.
“Oh, crap!” I said, frowning at the television. “If you losers are going to make a wish, at least make it a good one!” For crying out loud, stay right there forever? No bathroom breaks? No bathing or changing clothes? Just sitting there like fungus on a log is the zenith of their imagination? Man, that sort of thing makes me weep for the future.
Had I been sitting there and granted a single wish, it would be that everyone would develop a personal shield. A force field that disallowed them to come to any harm. They couldn’t be beaten, shot, stabbed, moved in spite of their wishes, poisoned, gassed or set fire to. Every person on earth would find it absolutely impossible to threaten or harm another.
Think about the changes that would entail. Governments and warlords would be totally impotent to employ force or terrorism to get their way. If people wanted something to happen they would have to use logic and persuasion to get agreement. Crimes against persons would become a thing of the past. Now, since there were two people on that veranda looking at the starry sky, suppose the other wished that property could not be taken or destroyed without the agreement of the owner. With those two things in place, well, now THAT’S a world I’d like to see. To eradicate the concept of any sort of threat against others would change the human landscape.
But let’s go further. Let’s say that no one was permitted to permanently harm the planet. That government’s only function was administrative and their only power was to oversee the logistics of caring for the citizens. The whole ‘cannot do harm to another or the environment’ thing would pretty much eliminate the exploitation of politics to favor any particular group over another.
Suppose accolade was heaped upon those whose intellectual achievements rather than upon celebrities in sports, theater, or the collection of wealth? That money was seen as a tool to improve the human and environmental condition rather than a means to power and status so that those who amassed great sums actually were job creators. Their money would be used to do research that would generate new products that would need companies and employees to manufacture and distribute them.
Talk about fantasies! But then, if we lived in a universe in which wishing on a meteorite could produce actual results, well, these ideas aren’t really far fetched. The thing is, if we humans, as we are, lived in such a universe, then each of us making wishes would probably just wish that the world stayed as it was while elevating them to a position of power and riches. After all, that’s what we have done down through history. But there was a time when those who amassed wealth did exactly that. Ford, Westinghouse, Flagler and men of that ilk built sweeping industry that caused our nation to become the agricultural and industrial center of the world. Of course, they had to be forced to give their employees decent pay, reasonable hours, as well as vacation time and medical packages. But at least they used their great wealth to expand the value of the country and even the world. Today, money is made for the sake of acquisition. There are no more efforts to expand the marketplace with with paradigm shifting and infrastructure building invention. The great potential of the world’s nations lay virtually stagnant, not to mention the infinity of space. Instead there are a few who try to increase their holdings by merely finding ways of taking from others.
As I sit in my twilight I think of the accomplishments and growth I’ve seen in my sixty-seven years and how most of the truly great achievements are all in the past. My youth a much more exciting time of change and creation than I see now as I approach the end of my allotment of life. Perhaps age has affected my vision and I simply can’t see that that there is still a consistent drive to create and improve people’s lot in life. I can only see the new and improved same old thing, screen doors and a paint job trying to cover the shabby and deteriorating future hurtling towards us.
Maybe it’s just that we don’t know what to wish for anymore, or how to make our dreams happen anyway when wishing doesn’t get the job done.