After a five-hour bus ride south of Caracas - interrupted by a rock smashing through the windscreen as a gang unsuccessfully tried to ambush the vehicle and rob us - we arrived at the Venezuelan equivalent of Nasa's Houston space control centre.I am strongly reminded of Heinlein's futures, in which he imagines for us worlds that are both filled with technology and still haven't solved many of the underlying issues that create unrest. His balkanized, mediocre-topias helped form my beliefs about how civilization matures and evolves.
Like the poetry of Donne in another age, Heinlein's subject matter is provocative across a broad range of human experience, so as a 14 year old boy there were ideas that resonated, and as a 40+ year old boy there are even more ideas that resonate (except now I have to sort of wade through the author's own adolescent style, so it's more fun to just take his ideas and let them play in my head).
Our sustainable future will only come about if we succeed in enrolling the disenfranchised and in decentralizing power. There's a mural down the road (painted undoubtedly when the Panthers ran this neighborhood) that says "Power is never given away, it must be seized from those who have it." I can understand that attitude-- though it doesn't match with my experience (there are those I encouraged to find their own power only to have them run and hide). People taking care of people, assuming responsibility for each other, and living in close enough connection to each other is the path to a future I want to live in.
Not that a Heinlein-esque future would be bad... just less equitable for many people.