One little known aspect of the old regime of the Pahlavi Shah of Iran was the interest in futurism. While one result was abolition of the Islamic veil, other aspects included a commitment to nuclear energy (the Bushehr Nuclear Power complex was started with American assistance), carving Parisian style boulevards through the traditional cities of Iran, a regional union of Aryan powers in the Indian Ocean (the Aryan Brotherhood was to include Iran, South Africa and India), and plans for a university where only Esperanto, the universal language of the future, would be spoken.
One Iranian futurist was FM 2030 (born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary), whose many books on the future are still available used. I first encountered his books more than 30 years ago. He envisioned the Internet, infinite wealth for all and the abolition of property, abolition of the family, space travel, immortality, and failing that, freezing your head for ultimate revival (his head was frozen by Alcor in 2000: the details are discouraging).
Here is one of his articles on the high tech future he envisioned for the world, and of course, for Iran. This article was written in the wake of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Tomorrow: Up-Wing Priorities. Future Life, No. 27. June 1981.
(F.M. Esfandiary is a telecommunicator-writer-long-range planner-university lecturer. He has taught Up-Wing philosophy since the mid-1960s-first at the New School for Social Research (New York) and currently at UCLA (Extension). His most recent books are Optimism One, Up-Wingers, and Telespheres.)
Esfandiary says: “I am universal. I translive all over the planet. Learn via telecom. Have many professions. Am involved with many people. Consider all children as mine also. Neither right nor left-I am Up. I have no age. Am born and reborn every day. I intend to live forever. Barring an accident I probably will. I also want to help others live on indefinitely. My philosophy: optimism-abundance-universalism-immortality.”
Around 2010 the world will be at a new orbit in history. We will translive all over this planet and the solar sphere-at home everywhere. We will be hyperfluid: skim on land-swim in the deep oceans-flash across the sky.
Family will have given way to Universal life. People will linkup/linkout free of kinship and possessiveness.
We will stream ahead propelled by a cornucopia of abundance.
Life expectancy will be indefinite. Disease and disability will nonexist. Death will be rare and accidental-but no permanent. We will continuously jettison our obsolescence and grow younger.
At 2000 plus ten all this will be the norm-hardly considered marvelous.
But why wait for 2010? A new ideological thrust-a new set of priorities can help accelerate our upflow.
All the old guidelines are now off target. Capitalism and socialism for example are burned out industrial-age constructs. They have helped propel us to this time zone. But they have no scenarios for higher orbits. At best they want to realign existing social systems.
The Right/Left has no program to screen out aging and death. No grand designs for our new civilizations across the solar system. Right/Left planners are still committed to the “industrialization of space”-orbital communities with three-story houses-eight-to-five jobs-schools-farms-Italian restaurants! Is this why we want to trailblaze across the universe?
Throughout the 20th century the world has veered Left. In the coming years we will wing beyond Right and Left. We will move Up.
Up is a triumphant new trajectory-a coalescence of all the Big Bang Breakthroughs of our times.
The following Up-Wing priorities are interdependent-to advance rapidly in any one area we must leap ahead in all areas.
These priorities are accelerators-targeted to speed up our forward thrust to the first or second decade of the next century. By 2010 we will have splashed through so may Time shifts that we will need entirely new accelerators.
Physical Immortality: The most basic and urgent problem facing us is death. All other human constraints are derivative. Death casts a pall over all of life. So long as we are terminal we cannot enhance the basic quality of life. So long as there is death no one is free.
Accelerators: Slow down aging through genetic/cellular intervention. Telemonitor every person for continuous protection from internal and external hazards. Reformat our terminal bodies into versatile telebodies with easy plug in replacement parts. Facilitate freefly to reduce gravitational wear and tear and rapidly break away from natural disasters. Provide universal cryonic suspension in case of unavoidable death. Spread a Psychology of Immortality-the will to live forever.
Space Colonization: We must urgently accelerate colonization and exploration of the solar system and the universe beyond. Why is this a top priority? Because such a trajectory opens up a Pandora’s Box of infinite space-infinite energy-infinite raw materials-infinite growth. Quickens transition beyond industrialism. Accelerates evolution from Earth-programmed animal/humans to post humans. Multiplies chances for interconnect with other intelligences which could instantly lightspeed us ahead a million years.
During these trans-century decades orbital societies offer excellent opportunities for clean rapid break from Earth conditions which for millenniums have perpetuated human suffering. Under no circumstances should we replicate Earth-like societies: no exclusive procreation or parenting-no families schools hospitals or prisons-no money economies or subsistence work-no slaughter of animals for food-no leadership governments-no nations-no cemeteries. Orbital civilizations should start off with 21st-century telespheres.
Telespheres: Let us speedup the orbit shift from industrialism to the new age. The world of telespheres is flowing from the confluence of breakthroughs in many areas: limitless energy-interactive telecommunication-ultra intelligent machines-biological and cultural revolutions-space colonization. These and other forces are recontexting life in fundamentally new ways. We are creating electronic environments that integrate all peoples and services. No one need remain waterholed near stationary centralized sources of learning livelihood or decision making. You connect from wherever you are. For example the rack beyond school is teleducation which facilitates transmission of continuous updated info to anyone anywhere anytime. Beyond hospital-preventive telemedicine. Beyond bureaucracy-telemanagement and teleconference. Beyond vindictive judicial systems-preventive crime telemonitor. Beyond profit retailing-direct teleshopping form production decenters. Beyond leadership government-teledemocracy via universal referendums…
Telebrain: How do we fast forward the human brain? Continued mapping of more and more of the brain. Implanted slow-release drugs to self-regulate moods and biochemical shifts. Genetic engineering to regenerate aging brain cells-upgrade intelligence-deactivate vestigial parts of brain.
Plug in/plug off super microchip implants to amplify brain versatility and power. For example: millisec computations in the head with visual displays-instant access to info-hi-speed playback-simultaneous info retrieval/transmission. Implanted transceiver for direct brain to brain interface. Implanted sensors for continuous monitoring of all body functions and self-regulation of biorhythms and mood swings. By 2010 the human brain should emerge asa super telebrain-a powerful autonomous transceiver free of the animal body-able to connect with new replaceable bodies.
Universal Life: We need to hasten the transition to universal telegenesis universal parenting universal life. Mating is no longer necessary to perpetuate the species. We can now reproduce through insemination-inovulation-telegenesis-in vitro births-in vitro cloning. As mating loses biological function family-marriage-coupling phase out. Humanity is decoupling. In our rapidly converging worlds we need to grow fluid and universal-able to connect with more and more people without getting blackholed in exclusive commitments.
Accelerators: Fertilize only those screened sex cells most likely to spawn healthy wholesome new lives. (Later we will mix most desirable elements of many people’s cells.) Identities of those whose sex cells are selected for reproduction are never disclosed. Therefore the newborn belong to no specific parents. They lift off in mobilias-with many trans parents. Shared parenthood eases burdens on parents and reduced the child’s early programming to lifelong painful traumas of imprinting and possessiveness.
As coupling phases out people flow within a global network of linkups. By 2010 exclusivity will have phased out. Whose child are you? Whose parents? Whose sister or brother? Who are you involved with? All these will be flashbacks from our tribal past. People will connect openly freely universally.
Teleconomics: To stream full blast to 21st-century teleconomics we must speedup development of solar energy-nuclear fusion-hydrogen fuel. Energy is the central accelerator. Abundant energy means overflow food and limitless raw materials. The new wealth-particularly solar energy-is nonmonopolizable and will reinforce global decentralization of wealth-information-power. The new abundance also accelerates development of intelligent technology which will cancel out subsistence work and labor force. Work will be transformed into a voluntary creative process. By 2010 the glut of energy will hasten phase out of money which in turn will help phase out profit and competition-imbalances in wealth-conflicts of interest-cycles of inflation/recession-exploitation. How absurd all this emphasis on finite resources and sacrifice at the very moment in evolution when we are opening up the infinite resources of the universe. We have superabundant resources to last us a million years-a billion years. Enough to last for as long as there is a Universe.
Teledemocracy: All forms of leadership are intrinsically authoritarian-the differences are in degrees. Voting for leaders and representatives (who then make unilateral decisions for the people) is not democracy. Let us stop deluding ourselves. In our times democracy means direct participation in all decision making. This means voting not for leaders-but voting directly on issues.
Accelerators: Every week every month-or as often as necessary-people deploy their transceivers to vote directly on issues. All sides of every issue are regularly telecast. Computer flash-forwards of probably consequences of each scenario are simultaneously aired. (Because there area no struggles for leadership issues are depoliticized. The focus is on merits of each plan.) Temporary committees (picked at random every month) supervise the referendums and the implementation of decisions. In the age of two-way interactive telespheres leaders and representatives are as superfluous as scribes. By the first decade of the new century government will exist mainly in name as power will shift to the people via direct consensing.
Telecommunities: Industrial age cities have a great future-as museums. We should close them down and clear out. What will replace cities? We have some early forerunner of 21st century telecommunities: mobile communities-airparks-global festivals-global video events-space colonies.
A telecommunity can be instant-activated in days dismantled in hours. These new communities accommodate the increasing mobility of people-they are in effect liftoff/landing platforms. They are also fluid and modular-no stones bricks of concrete-nothing that will stay long enough to atrophy into tenements and ghettoes. Abundant solar energy means that these linkup spheres can be set up anywhere. Deploy only automated vehicles and any modules that fly. Streets are obsolete. The new communities are completely telesphered: teleducation-telemedicine-teleshopping etc. The size is nonissue-they continuously expand contract transform as people flow in and out. Telecommunities coalesce the new variables and can act as momentum swings to 21st-century life.
Globalism: In the age of global telecommunication-supersonics and world travel-global economy-nations exist mostly in name. In our times nationalism is a sure sign of backwardness. Nations are like peeing territories charted by dogs. Such territoriality is antifuture-you should be able to pee anywhere in the world.
Accelerators: More and more global infrastructures to accommodate global issues. Global referendums-global telcom networks and publications-global exchange programs-common markets and regional blocs-universal language (Unilang)-anything that will bring us together.
How can you the individual reinforce this process? For one thing publicly disavow nationality. What is your nationality? I am global. But where are you from? I am from planet Earth. Such a stand can help spread the new consciousness. Live global: Each time you travel you make the world a little more intimate. The earlier children translive around the wold the better the chances they will emerge as world people and globalize the rest. There are no more tourists or foreigners no internal affairs or national honor. This hole planet now belongs to all of us.
21st Century Values: Traditional values have issued from eons of scarcity-hardship-brief lifespans-insularity. Late 20th-century breakthroughs are formatting new environments which spawn new values and ideals. A 21st-century consciousness is surfacing increasingly free of Puritan guilt-shame-cynicism-self-denial.
What does the oldworld psychology of sacrifice mean in the new age of abundance? Entire generations are coming on line who have never known poverty and hardship-for whom abundance and comfort are the norm. The new consciousness views hardship as stunting-wealth as liberating.
What does age-old orientation to suffering mean at a time when medical breakthroughs are screening out physical and mental pain?
What does the work ethic mean in the age of intelligent technology which is taking over more and more of our work? The work ethic now slows down growth. the new Leisure ethic accelerates innovation and progress.
What does competitiveness mean in an age of plenty/ Why do we need to know who is best at anything? Why contests? Why winners and losers? Why the Nobel prize the Pulitzer prize the Academy Awards? Systems that pit people against one another are oldworld and manipulative and must be boycotted. Competition saps everyone’s energy. To hyperspeed ahead we need complementation of everyone’s creativity.
What do religions and spiritualisms which demand child-like submission to deities and “higher authorities” mean at a time when vigorous new generations growing up in permissive open environments accept no authorities as final or absolute? At a time when our cosmic leaps are daily proving that there are no permanent constraints-that we are free agents in the Universe?
The greatest breakthrough of our age is unfolding in our self image. A new brand of revolutionary is fast emerging-fired up by entirely new dreams. Up-Wingers are not content with civil rights-equal rights-human rights. These freedoms are no longer enough.
We want to spread a daring new optimism crystallizing from the obvious fact that for the first time in all the eons of life we are no longer blackholed within this microplanet-no longer trapped within fragile terminal bodies-that we are emerging as a triumphant new species-extraterrestrial and immortal.
We want to spread a new optimism and self-confidence stemming from the glaring fact that we who launch probes into interstellar reaches-we who flash signals to other beings across the Milky Way-we who decode light streaming in from the outbanks of the Universe over ten billion light-years away-can surely now mobilize our genius to accomplish anything.
We want to spread a new awareness that from here on we are resigned to nothing-consider no human problems irreversible-no goals unattainable.
We want to spread the awareness that we are at lift off to a beautiful new age. There is a new Hope in the world.
I think he was wrong to dismiss the importance of Italian restaurants in giant orbital cities: Italian restaurants in space would be awesome.