The singing duo of Zafer and Evans had a hit song that reached number one in July 1969. “In the Year 2525” the songwriter looks at man’s future as he develops more and more technology.
One of the lines of the song expresses that everything you think, do, and say, may be in the pill you take in the year 3535. Today, through the wonders of medicine, many of the problems with the human body can be helped with a simple pill. The only problem is that often financial cost that drive medicine for mankind’s quest for better health can sometimes become as overwhelming as the illness. If a pill to save your life cost $10,000 a month, can you afford not to purchase it or is the cost beyond the ability of some to maintain their health? It is a choice that is made every day by some who must decide between medicine and what they will eat tonight.
A movie now playing uses the premises of a pill that greatly improves mental skills in the person who takes it. Scientists are studying every day how to cure Alzheimer’s and other debilitating mental diseases. With improved technology it is likely sometime in the future many of the terrible diseases and afflictions of man will be cured or controlled by a pill or gene therapy. It is likely in the future that man will find answers to those questions and a pill may improve his mental ability to see the answer. But, will that same pill guide his thoughts for the things he will think, do, and say?
In a lab someone is researching a pill that will change the color of your eyes to whatever you want. Others are trying to find a way to prevent hair loss and stop the process of it turning gray. We already know there are pills and drugs that can enhance physical strength. Athletes are often in the news for using these new technology drugs to improve their playing performance.
In the year 5555, your arms are hanging limp by your sides. Is a line in the song that implies that mankind will become so dependent on technology that physical movement may almost be unneeded. Recently, I watched a news story telling of how school districts around the country are no longer requiring children to be taught the skill of cursive writing. In my day it was called longhand. I can remember my teacher explaining that when you wrote in this style you moved your arm and just not your fingers. If you chose to do the latter she would point out you were being lazy. The most famous signature we usually remember is the graceful cursive signature of John Hancock–a large sweeping signature that undoubtedly required him to move his arm when signing his famous name.
Today children in school are being taught technology to help them better learn in our computerized world. They are skills they will need to function in the ever increasing electronic age of man. It is true it makes our daily tasks easier and faster, but at what cost? Hand held devices that require only thumbs to correspond are a far cry from the days when moving your entire arm to communicate in penmanship was the norm.
Do you remember when in school the girl who sat across from you in class hand-wrote a note and folded it neatly into a small shape and handed it to you when the teacher was not looking? Today electronic messages can be sent around the world in the time it took to quickly hand it across the aisle in English class. It now only requires the use of two thumbs.
In the year 6565 the song envisions those future generations will pick their children through medical technology. Some believe that picking physical traits in their children are something they would like to do even today. Someday you may go out to the internet and pick your son or daughter, their hair color, how tall, and their intelligence level. But somehow that takes the wonder of mankind away. If you designed your children it takes away who we are and maybe even who they will become. On the other hand, what if you could prevent a physical or mental problem before they are born? Would you want technology to do that?
The assumptions made in the song go far beyond what man can do in our world today. But stop for a moment and think back to July 1969. How many of the medicines that help us each day were unheard of and people suffered waiting for a cure? Today the wonders of a small pill can save a life. Computers were devices that filled a large room and the average person could not even figure out how to turn it on. Today a single pocket device has light years more technology and power than the computers that first went to the moon that same summer long ago.
In 1969, my generation wrote their ideas and dreams in longhand and pondered the outlandish lyrics of the song that made its way to the top of the charts. Today, 42 years later, some of the song’s far fetched words are perhaps not so far away. Man’s greatest gift is his ability to think and dream about tomorrow and wonder what lies beyond the twinkling starlight.
If someday those dreams of what lies beyond the distance stars must come from within a pill, we have may have traded technology for our dreams as we look Thru the lens.