How will history textbooks in the future read about us now? Will they talk about our urban structures? Will they talk about how we flew?
These are my questions every time I find myself strapped into a seat next to hundreds of other people inside a large, winged metal contraption about to lift itself thousands of feet into the air, i.e. an airplane. I remember two things at once: a. that I feel comfortable, and b. that that’s crazy. I mean, we even go to the bathroom in these things, at those elevations. This is no small deal.
Once I’m in the air, though, especially on a cloudless night, I forget to breathe. The vantage point trades the fact of on-the-ground chaos for the fact of infrastructural organization never seen like this before. Modern society looks like grids of neighborhood houses, intricate freeway systems, trails of reluctantly-moving dots, pin-point lights of blue and yellow sprawling, just sprawling, across miles and miles of land. It’s the trendy urban plan of our century.
I imagine this all, framed on a glossy textbook page flipped by future generations of students learning about us. And they will probably imagine us as distant a human species as we imagine the Romans or the Incans or the ancient Chinese to be from us.