A new species is emerging on Earth - and it is us.
The visionary F. M. Esfandiary yesterday told the World Future Society that the fantasy future of science-fiction has already begun.
"It's happening right now," he said. "We are all really the forerunners of a race of cyborgs, or bionic people. Every person in this room has implants in their body."
Esfandiary, whose three books, "Upwingers," "Optimism One" and "Telespheres" are now in paperback, lives in New York. He has taught his philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York and at UCLA. At one time he held a post at the United Nations.
Before a packed audience at George Washington University, the Iranian-born writer-lecturer who rejects nationality ("I am Universal, I translive all over the planet. . .") sketched the onrushing future.
For the first time in history, within the last "mesmerizing decades" the human race has begun to combat aging and even death. With early cancer detection and the synthetic heart soon to be realities, our life expectancies will be extended to a century within 20 years.
We have broken free of our planet and are probing far into space, "moving toward the abundance of the universe."
We are becoming planetized, developing global consciousness, as feudal concepts of "family, marriage, exclusive relationships, schools, transportation, communication, capitalist-socialist economy and government, nationalities and the feudal democracies we pride ourselves on are all phasing out."
For instance: the Common Market, the proliferating marketing blocs in Latin America and the Caribbean, the projected parliament of Europe, satellite communication, the vast volume of air travel all over the world, the ever-increasing human mobility, in everything from tourism to art exhibits, that transcends, ignores, simply overwhelms nationality.
During an election, our national activities are forzen while we go through endless months of primaries and campaigns. We can't afford this in our rapid world. We need to move more vigorously. What about having ad hoc committees of citizens who would organize a fluid kind of government by referendum?
It's already happening, Esfandiary pointed out. Some states, notably California, rely on referendum and recall constantly. Great Britain had a referendum on the Common Market; Italy had one on abortion and divorce.
The young are moving comfortably in these new concepts, he added: They are less in awe of authority, they are wary of power and the whole idea of leadership, they are less manipulating and manipulable. "The concept of leaders, this papa psychology, makes no sense. Not only in dictatorships but even in our democracy there is a focus on the leader." Which is why he calls it feudal democracy.
In the next two or three years, he predicted, micro-computers will revolutionize our home life: doing housework, cooking, making phone calls and so on.
We are not moving into an age of scarcity; we are moving toward a world of limitless energy." He cited solar, nuclear power, ocean-bed mining, solar electrification (already being planned at Barstow, Calif.), hydrogen fuels which will take us in rocket planes "across the planet in an hour."
"There is no scarcity, there is a psychology of scarcity."
Admittedly a man who suffers from chronic optimism, Esfandiary called the present day "a glorious moment in history. These years are going to be remembered for thousands, millions of years as the point of our breakthrough."