In the glass train of time – the world in a hundred years

Illustration by Sharon Calman /Text by Claudia Conen

It is a day in January 2019 – I love life in the here and now

There’s a transparent train I get on. I can see everything around it. I’m going above, along a mountain, way up. Below I see streets – but as I slowly float above them, I notice that there are no people there. But I see roots of trees lifting whole streets and pushing up cobblestones.

Nature recaptures its territory

There are many trees with strong trunks, beautiful and strong. These trees want to live and they want their place to shine in all their beautiful colours. And then I also see people – they fly through the landscape in transparent capsules that have the shape of eggs. Usually there is only one person per glass capsule. It looks kind of strange and hectic up there in the air. Have people moved upstairs?

The train continues on in time

I can see wonderful landscapes flying by, green and criss-crossed by big blue shimmering rivers. Yes, what about before that? It’s all so bare. It’s crazy, there are no cars. I must have been driving for 25 years. Because when I look back on the track I see lots of cars, congested roads and a lot of traffic jams. It is stuffy and dusty in the cities of the past. Traffic jam, traffic jam, traffic jam again – nobody gets ahead. Yes, I do, because the slow glass time train in which I sit floats over them. The cities there are huge. That’s where we breathed? Unbelievable! When I look back – I must have been driving for about 35 years now – I see all this hectic. And that people take long journeys to get to work. Do they have a family life? Strange.

The modern age

It ensures that we meet people who live in a completely different place and start partnerships on platforms. In this social world there is no harmony and romance of a first encounter. It’s lost, the romance.

In the future, the streets are destroyed

The view from the train to the front in time is so reassuring. All roads are destroyed, but not by people, but by nature – by the trees. Nature has reclaimed its place. The place from which we banished them, with all our cobblestones, has been reclaimed by the trees. We have drilled into the earth, taken everything out, shot into the air and poisoned the seas. Nature has taken it all back, I see over there. It’s quiet and green, here in the future.

Children play there

There are actually children playing out there again, in the future. They paint with chalk on the remains of the broken streets and jump over ropes. It reminds me of a time I knew, but which is already forgotten. How long has it been? How far would I have to travel by train into the past to find this image? Soccer fields where fathers play with their children, I see. Now I float above houses. I can see in from above as I pass through them. They look cosy and yet, as if they were made of metal, a bit like garages. There’s hardly any electricity on the streets. There is little artificial light and lanterns. The night there is of a natural darkness in which you can see the stars shining. There’s no more glowing advertising.

People are nicer

They’re closer together again. They no longer sit individually in many rooms in front of their many screens. There they sit together in a single room and speak friendly to each other. Is that luxury – or is it poverty? They don’t have to agree on a television programme – they talk to each other. We did not see the sad things of life in the past, back there in the time I left with the glass train. We even called these sad developments “progress” back then.

The train passes the time – I am 50, maybe 75 years in the future

Butterflies I see, many colourful butterflies – what a colourfulness! There’s a sign. It says, “Stop.” I hear a young woman talking to a group of other people. She says, “We did it. Here we are humans again, finally. We laugh at school and do math in our brain. We stick together. Even if it meant going back to the beginning.”

I arrive at my destination – 100 years in the future

There is harmony! Before Earth reclaimed her right, we gave it back to her. I’ve reached my goal! Arrived – here progress is in balance. Fascinating! We must have been blind a hundred years ago. Somewhere, on my journey through time in a glass train, young people raised their voices, who here – in a hundred years’ time – will be old people. You said stop No more!”

People in the future will no longer have mountains of clothes and numerous packages

You have said “stop” to tenders that make everything cheaper and even cheaper. They no longer have mass-produced goods, because they value the few things they have. The craft has experienced a renaissance – there are once again cobblers and tailors who produce things that are cared for and last a long time. Energy is no longer wasted, no longer are advertisements shining everywhere in the eternal price war and competition. People are no longer on the phone all the time, all the time. They live in harmony with everything. They explore the world and its things without destroying them. Nature has its place and the seas have fish. The sea did not draw people into its inanimate depths, the land was not flooded.

There will be joy there, in a hundred years. Children play together and no longer kill on the PC. People own gardens and live in harmonious community. They have gone one step backwards and at the same time forwards in their development.

At the end of my journey I am very touched: There are my grandchildren!

They look happy.

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