The Retro Future: Looking to the Past to Reinvent the Future
One of the lessons people seem to have learned from Star Trek and other sci-fi properties is that scientific advancement will make things better. The future is in good hands, because science will fix it. But…what if it won’t? What if the solution to many of our current problems rests not in our future but in our past?
That’s the argument presented by John Michael Greer in The Retro Future, and he makes a compelling case for it. The centerpiece idea of the book focused on how to scale back our energy usage by abandoning the idea of future advancement and scientific salvation, embracing technologies of the past that we know work without taxing our environment and resources.
Greer offers numerous examples of how a paradigm shift like this could be accomplished, but unfortunately, he undercuts his argument with airs of superiority that are tremendously off-putting. In particular, he blames television and entertainment for a “lack of imagination” in the current generation, which is complete condescending nonsense.
That being said, the central premise of The Retro Future is one worth taking seriously.
New Society Publishers
John Michael Greer