»It’s really about sharing abilities, potentials and practices, taking our time and relying on each other helps us to think more.«
– Lena Longefay
Here we are again, reaching out to fumble through the dark of our future history. Using equipment stolen from NASA, we transcend time to talk to a spectre of the last living mortals in the year 2132. Follow us, as we press our noses against the glass of our destiny as the human race.
Asís: Hello? This is Food& calling from the past, into the future. We’re live streaming on Moonchies radio 71.0, is anyone there? It’s 2021 here on Planet Earth and it’s actually sunny today.
Lena Longefay: Hello I think I heard something? Hello?
A: Hello! Yes we can hear you.
LL: Oh I’m sorry, you must be mistaken. We are closed on Mondays.
Ellie: Hmm, we are trying to make contact with someone from the future, are you able to put us through?
LL: From the future? Wait a second, which year are you from again?
Fabian: We are from 2021, what’s your position in time?
LL: Well, we are in the year 2132. It’s the 16th of August today and it’s pretty rainy. I’m just on my lunch break, how did you manage to contact me here?
E: Wow 2132! We’re so glad our radio-waves have managed to reach you. Myself, Asís and Fabian are currently located in a tiny shack in the middle of nowhere using time bending technology that we’ve stolen from NASA (let’s keep that between us). Can you describe your surroundings?
F: Oh and sorry to interrupt your lunch break, do you have time to spare?
LL: Ah no it’s fine! I’m on my own so I appreciate a bit of company. My surroundings? Well, I live here in….erm…how do I explain? It doesn’t really look like anything I’ve seen from photographs of your planet - I actually have an old photo album with pictures from Earth, it must be cool! Where I am, it’s more like…maybe the Moon? But I’ve never been to the Moon either because the trip is too expensive. Yeah it’s pretty quiet here, I don’t have a fancy house and only a few neighbours.
E: Yes, we can see the lunar-like craters of your planet’s surface with our intergalactic radar detector. You also mention that there are others there with you, how did humans come to colonize this planet?
LL: We came by copy and pasting. You know, ‘ctrl C + ctrl V’.
A: Does this mean there could be other versions of you somewhere else? This is really crazy!
LL: There’s only one version of me but you don’t just copy and paste yourself, you can take other details too. Though, what is left once you have copied and pasted just disappears, it gets deleted. You cannot really keep multiple copies because it becomes too messy. Anyway…you know you’re not the only ones stealing stuff from NASA. I shouldn’t really say when or how this technique got hacked but it eventually did, I wouldn’t be here otherwise! I guess you will see for yourself soon…
E: Don’t worry, as much as we like to flout the laws of time-travel we really don’t want to delete you. We’re just curious as we’re calling into the future to try and figure out if it’s possible for humans to survive our mistakes and someday live sustainably. At the moment in 2021 we obviously know that climate catastrophe is just around the corner. Does it get better 111 years from now?
LL: Yeah…I mean, it’s still not easy. I still don’t think we’ve figured out how to live sustainably, but I would say that…at least here in this little village community…it’s more about doing things slowly, being lazy basically! Doing things slowly means sharing tasks and not relating to time in the way we used to – as I believe you do. I don’t have any clocks, clocks are kind of…not necessary. It’s really about sharing abilities, potentials and practices, taking our time and relying on each other helps us to think more. Ecological disasters, pandemics, things like this will still happen but just a bit slower.
F: It sounds so wholesome this slow living, this laziness. In 2021 we have some similar concepts like slow food or slow fashion but in your future colony it sounds far more holistic. I still wonder though, there must be people doing the work, no?
LL: Well it’s quite simple, we come together and decide on which jobs we want to do and when we want to do them. So, for example, I might do a bit of farming here and a bit of administration there. Every person who lives in our community receives like a base amount of…how to say…it’s similar to money, I guess? Then with this you can sustain yourself. But on top of that income we do sell parts of our production. We farm mainly veggies here, I actually started to farm Spirulina a few months ago! Then, with the little extra we make we do nice things together like go on short trips or go out for dinner.
A: It’s interesting that you say it’s easy. Here in 2021 and at the tail end of the COVID 19 pandemic, for the second time in 14 years it has become evident that the economic system really doesn’t work and it must be redesigned. There are, of course, lots of movements that have been tirelessly pushing for alternative economic systems, like universal basic income or a more community based lifestyle. What was it that enabled your people to eventually live this lifestyle?
LL: I would say that when something doesn’t work, it just stops working right? I think my people understood this and so we started to organise ourselves, it’s about what you do with what you have in the now, not about hoping for something better or watching things go to shit. I think change really started to happen when people realised they already have a lot, that they are surrounded by community and they’re not alone. It’s about creating clusters of good living I would say. Of course it’s not easy, and sadly not everyone can access it…the big problems are still here. We just live in moments of figuring out. The future isn’t better, it’s just different, a better future is still something everyone is longing for.
F: So what you’re saying is as a society we have to share more, share more goods, share more feelings, share more knowledge and also share more of the responsibility for the lives of generations to come. I think about this as living less in the linear and more within something circular.
LL: Precisely, you’re not lacking anything. I think it’s more about deconstructing, to rethink our priorities and how we spend our time. I completely agree and share your position about this circularity and that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say, I believe everything is linked together and it’s about understanding these links. But it’s also about remembering that the future is not an answer. It’s really about the now, like how do we live now and be present in the real? It’s also about doing everything with passion, about real interests, not because they have to be done. You know? It can start with watching a tomato plant grow and keeping the seeds to replant them again, or…I don’t know…the wonders of fermentation! Things like this. I mean, at least it worked this way for me.
A: So you’re saying that the solution is not technology, that all we need is already here and it’s about being human, maybe even being more human. Cultivating a better future is about taking the time to do so, sharing and being present. I mean, this sounds very ideal but also hard to reach in the current situation here on Planet Earth when a lot is going wrong. But, after speaking to you it seems there is hope. We have one last question…who are you?
LL: My name is B, like the name of my planet. I feel I’m not someone who can give answers, I guess I would describe myself as someone quite idealistic. I’m just here not doing much and spending time thinking.
F: B, it was really great talking to you. We are so glad that the quantum modulated radio-waves reached your place and timed perfectly with your lunch-break. It’s been super helpful learning about positive social concepts that we still miss……Oh! Err actually our audio is turning down rapidly, we have to leave…kind of immediately. Ellie is already working on the service but…we don’t see…we cannot keep the connection. If you want to reach us, try dialing the radio-waves backwards? We’re on Moonchies 71.0 but for now we must say goodbye!
LL: I’m just very happy I caught you on the radio, I will keep listening to it.