What if the air conditioner had not been invented?
By opting for excessive use of technological innovations, we have degraded the ecosystem. Can we think ahead and set right things?
Most people and many Hollywood films fantasise about rewriting history. After anger breaks out in a talk, we wish we had not said something that triggered the anger. After buying a pair of footwear that bites into our feet, we wish we had bought the other pair. Sometimes we wonder if we had left for the family trip one week earlier, we could have escaped the monsoon rains that spoiled the holidays.
Life is a golden opportunity of tremendous possibilities, which we may be frittering away on most occasions. The dreams of leading an ideal, happy, content and healthy life dominates us so deeply that half the time we wish for a time machine that could reverse the past into favouring us, mostly individually and selfishly.
Despite the logical reaction that would ridicule this mental exercise, we may still continue wondering what if the air conditioners were not invented, ecologically an extremely harmful product. What if air travel was not explored, today among the major causes for greenhouse gas emission? What if the western culture did not support a consumerist lifestyle, which is sweeping the world today?
What if return of investment, GDP, quarterly net profits and such others were not to be the litmus test for success, which lets business dominate over happiness? What if individual earnings could be based on needs and not on maximum limits of earning capacity?
For the future
It is futile to continue with such millions of what if’s for the past, but imagine we are able to foresee the future, forecast the occasions when we may ask ‘what if’. If we could do that, may be, today itself we can avoid that questionable action. Does this hypothesis sound like another fantasy trip? It may be so for some, but in deeper reality, it is not. Many futurologists have been suggesting what can be anticipated tomorrow, simple examples being water crisis, home automation, fragmented families, reduced personal bonding, artificial intelligence or robotic assistances.
Many of us have realised the opportunities we have lost in making the world a more humane place to live in. The least we can do is not to lose out on the future opportunities also. May be it’s time to promote solar and electric cars; use bio-degradable short-life materials instead of manufactured long-life materials; reduce travel to localise the living or ban food chemicals that do not serve health.
If we are dreaming of seeing a different world tomorrow — sustainable, justifiable and equitable — we need to act today. ‘What if’ we do not act is as clear as the writing on the wall.