The Eventuality of Everything

As he stares at the gigantic iron gate protecting what once used to be Tokyo’s subway network, Shinra Kusakabe voices his amazement: “I can’t believe trains used to run underground.”

What seems to be a perfectly unremarkable comment in the year 2271 and the world of Special Fire Force Company 8 sounds a bit odd to those of us still living in the year 2024. “Trains run underground all the time. How could that ever not be normal?” Thank you! What a great follow-up question!

Take something so ubiquitous it’s almost boring, like a smartphone, roads, or the ability to order anything on Amazon, and imagine a world in which it has become a memory of the distant past. How would that world look like? What else would be different? Did the shift occur because we have evolved or because we have regressed?

Perhaps in the year 2271, the world’s knowledge will no longer be at your fingertips inside your pockets. Maybe communication will once again have to happen on pagers allowing only for a limited number of characters. Or, maybe, you can talk to anyone, anywhere, without needing a phone at all. Perhaps the high-tech lenses in your eyes can render perfect 3D-holograms to chat with right where you stand.

If roads were no longer a thing, would we once again struggle to cover long distances? Would we built specialty vehicles to navigate the terrain, or skip the ground altogether and use jetpacks to fly through the air? If we could no longer use Amazon, would it be because drones deliver everything we need right when we need it without us lifting a finger, or because global supply chains have vanished and we’re back to growing carrots and herbs in our own yard?

The possibilities and explanations are endless, and that is the point: We don’t believe it because we don’t notice its gradual progression from one day to the next, but in the end, anything can happen. Remember the eventuality of everything — for better or for worse — and don’t take today’s reality for granted. It might look very different in a few short tomorrows — perhaps so different even, we might one day say things like, “I can’t believe trains used to run underground.”