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Life can only be understood backwards,
but it must be lived forwards

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

What is the Time Warp? It's a glimpse into our past and a look into possible futures. We will be looking at how we saw ourselves, what's changed, and what is no longer here; we shall also take the role of futurist and give some insights into where we think we are going. These insights will be open to debate as are most predictions - we are notoriously bad at predicting our short term future. For instance, during the 1939 World's Fair it was predicted that by 1960 there would be floating dirigible hangers that could be easily pointed in the direction of the prevailing winds thus facilitating takeoffs (think water bearings). However by 1946, economics, advances in aviation, the war and the Hindenberg spelled the demise of the blimp and the necessity for hangers to house them. Today, what hangers do exist are mainly used for other purposes and blimps and blimp hangers have become a curiosity. Not being immune to curiosity, a couple of years ago I ran in a 10K "Run through the Hangers" at the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, California, home of the largest blimp hangers in the world. Running through one of these immense hangers now housing a number of modern aircraft, I got a personal feeling for how large these giant, obsolete airships must have been and how far off the 1939 prediction really was.

It's been said that true enlightenment is moment-to-moment awareness. This is significant since our sensory systems are designed for change - not constancy - and we should be programmed to reach this form of enlightenment somewhat automatically. This however isn't the case. We filter our inputs to keep the barrage of sensory information from overwhelming us. Thus is it any wonder that on a perceptual basis we go around largely unaware of the small perturbations around us and thus fall prey to loosing touch with the big picture? Being aware - moment-to-moment takes work.

Come with us. See where we have been. Let us know where you think we are going. If you have any ideas on topics you would like to see in The Time Warp, please email us.

© 1996, 1997 Gary Fisher
(Gary Fisher is co-director of Armchair World)

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