Blogs > Cliopatria > Our Post-Racial Cyborg Future of 1910

Apr 1, 2010 12:59 pm


Our Post-Racial Cyborg Future of 1910



I was originally just looking for confirmation of a quote I had seen attributed to Harry H. Johnston, who I sort of vaguely knew about as one of the"Scramble for Africa" types that linked the Stanley/Livingstone era to the period of actual colonialism. And then I found this; after a banal (by-the-generic-standards-of-the-race-treatise) observation that"the world of the twenty-first century be divided into two camps: a cream-coloured Mediterranean type of white man, and a brown-skinned negroid," Johnston speculates that race won't actually matter any more because we'll all be wearing our robot suits:
"The godlike heads of our descendants may be shaved all over or electrically depilated; and with hair completely out of fashion we may have ceased to care about its colour or its undulations. Eyes may be screened with lenses for the telescopic or microscopic development of sight; body and limbs be so perpetually protected from heat and cold, germs and bruises, by some closely-fitting, antiseptic garment that only the beauty of its shape be visible and nothing of its skin-colour. In 2100 A.D. there may be no physical or mental reason why negroid and Caucasian should not become one flesh."

Also, for bonus Harry Johnston weirdness, here's his reflections on the future of writing:

BOOKS are often synonymous with boredom nowadays. We have so much more to read through than our parents read before us [if we are to keep abreast of the ever-widening scope of world-interests] that the sight of the printed page is to many people almost a provocation to anger, suggesting a further strain on the already over-taxed eyes and over-stuffed brain. The literature of the almost immediate future may quite possibly be reduced to the pictographs from which writing began. A novelist, a traveller, an anthropologist, or an historian will be required to say what he has to say in a series of pictures—photographs and diagrams—and the letterpress will be confined to little more than descriptive titles and occasional verbal explanations.


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