I had a rather disturbing dream two nights ago. It was a dystopian dream of the future, one that I have never had.
The year was 3024 and society lived in the age of ‘Mechanicalism’ but I didn’t yet know what it was called. Air quality was not horrible, but it was also not good. There was a grey haze that seemed to just hover making everything grey-like such that any light from the sun was filtered with a diffused brightness. Looking up to the sky was an undesirable experience because the diffused brightness made one’s eyes water.
I was with Kurt and we were walking in a bleak and sparsely leased out mall. We didn’t know where we were going but it seemed to get anywhere in this mall we would need what appeared to be Segway-type personal transporters. There weren’t many people there and population in general was rather sparse as well. As we walked through the sterile-looking interior Kurt stopped a small group of three women who were headed in the same direction as us. Each of the women were on their personal transporters. Two of the women didn’t stop right away when Kurt asked his question. The two women were not in conversational distance, it didn’t appear they wanted to talk to anyone. All three of the women looked very odd, almost like what you would expect a full-sized Barbie doll to look like.
The woman Kurt spoke with had tube-like plastic eyeliner. It looked like a very thin rubberized black straw was actually part of her being and it lined her eyes. She didn’t look real. The environment, the weather, the mall, everything made me feel very uneasy. We wanted to know where we could rent one of the personal transporting units. Actually, Kurt thought of the idea.
This woman not only looked odd, but her speaking cadence and voice inflections were not human-like, although she, and most everyone else was ‘human’. She offered to walk with us to show where we could rent a personal transporter. We mentioned that we also would appreciate if she could direct us to an eatery and she said there was one we would pass on the way but they are sometimes open and sometimes not. So the likelihood of finding a place to eat was 50/50.
To our benefit, the eatery was open on this day. But finding predictable and recognizable food was not going to happen. The eatery was essentially a large cafeteria, sparsely stocked and everything was a mishmash. There was no organization of food types and packaging was minimal and very flimsy. Eating anything from this place was going to be an exercise in big compromise. I got a sandwich that was on a thin rectangular ‘plate’ and it was loosely held together with plastic wrap. The plate was so thin that it could not even hold the weight of the insignificant sandwich it was supposed to serve. There weren’t many people at this eatery but those that were there didn’t seem to mind the availability of their less-than food selections.
I don’t remember how we paid for what we got, but there didn’t seem to be any actual money exchange. The person at the register was not a person, but a caricature of what a happy person would look like and their body movements were very animated. After we exited the eatery, we watched as the doors closed and the opening shrunk in size until it was completely closed off with metal. There was no longer an entrance to the eatery. There was not hint that an eatery was there in the first place. It was all so creepy to me.
When we arrived to the personal transporter ‘store’ the interior design consisted only of large rusted steel walls. At one point the walls were of a blue color, but there was so much rust that any bit of color was minimal. The store was dimly lit and it felt damp and cold however no one but us seemed to notice or care otherwise. After the workers entered the room from behind a partition, we were asked many questions and measured for height, arm, and leg length. Nothing about their questioning or measuring techniques made sense to me as it was all so haphazard.
At this point I made a comment to the worker about everything, about how strange everything seemed. And she in her plastic look and strange animated voice said to me, “This is what living in the age of Materialism is all about. It is what it is.”
I didn’t know where Kurt went at this point, but I too left the awful store and without a personal transporter. As I left the mall, it was already dark out and I didn’t know where I was going or what I was supposed to do but I kept walking. All I remember was that it was extremely windy with almost hurricane-like winds. Apparently this was typical nighttime weather. Off in the far distance I caught glimpse of a large spotlight whose luminescence was diffused but all the dust and dirt in the air. I could hardly walk due to the winds so I decided to go into another building.
Another room with rusted steel walls and nothing else but a few television monitors and a sparse amount of people who weren’t communicating with one another. One of the monitors had a televised baseball game and all I could think was ‘Finally, a bit of normalcy!’
Unfortunately, the baseball game was not populated with real humans. There were no fans, and the players were again caricatures of happy people who were controlled by algorithms which ran the game. Play-by-play action was all computerized and the players themselves were nothing more than straw-like stick people with an oblong white head and a baseball cap. Fan cheering was canned. Players facial expressions were a generic cartoon-type expression that never changed. The baseball field was not a baseball field at all. Poorly executed computer graphics was now the game played against a solid color background. How could this be any kind of entertainment I thought.
There was nothing real about anything. Mechanicalism was all they knew and it was good enough for everyone.