On August 2nd 2011, Dutch philosopher, editor in chief and journalist-commentator of NRCNext Rob Wijnberg published a tongue in cheek column entitled “A travel guide to Planet Earth” in the dutch daily: NRC Handelsblad. The same article was entitled “Lonely Planet” on NRCNext. In concordance with his statement on Planet Earth’s Media – i.e. earthlings blogging on whatever they read in newspapers – I hereby ‘blog’ his column (in translation) on ‘a thousand tomorrows’:
Planet Earth is located in one of the most isolated corners of the galaxy. Earthlings are known as hospitable, except to strangers. Please read this guide carefully before departure.
Journey: Between two and four million light years. Consider a jet lag.
Climate: The best time to visit Earth would be between 2011 and 2100. After that the tropical season will start.
Currency: The main currency on Earth is debt, a fictional currency based on which earthlings manage to maintain their non-existing wealth. Debts are the only currency in the universe that are being reproduced in case there are too many of.
Geography: Earthlings have divided their planet randomly into 196 countries. Free travel is permitted, unless you’re poor, hungry, or on the run.
Politics: There are two political movements on Earth: Left and Right. Left hugs terrorists, right breeds terrorists. Terrorists themselves are lonely lunatics who have lost their sense of reality.
Religion: There are two religions on Earth: Islam and anti-Islam. Muslims believe that all people are equal, except gay men, women and non-Muslims. Anti-Muslims believe that all people are equal, which makes them superior.
Points of interest: Earthlings were known for their cultural traditions, until the multiculturalists helped to kill the culture. The last bit was retrenched in order to save banks. The only remaining attraction is the Nationaal Historisch Museum in the Netherlands, which has on show a model of the Nationaal Historisch Museum.
Media: Most earthlings get their information from the so-called ‘Internet’. The Internet is a gathering place for bloggers who write about what they have read in the newspapers that day. In the newspapers of the next day, pieces of what’s been said on the internet are being published. In addition, on Earth every year a thousand books on how the Internet causes people to read less and less are being published.
Hotspots: Greece is the place to be because of low prices. Expect a high credit card bill after returning home. The United States were supposed to be closed by now, but will remain opened until the end of the season - (check usdebtclock.org for opening. Who wishes to visit Belgium will need to hurry.
Although Wijnberg mainly reflects on a future inspired by the present and currently ongoing events, he chose a format not unlike that often employed by futurists to shake people out of their perspective and look at the world through the eyes of a timetraveller or someone coming back from a long journey after 20, 30, … years time. The column shows how ‘distancing’ in either space or time is a powerful perspective-changing tool stimulating critical reflection.