When the Lion Lies Down With the Lamb

 6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

(Isaiah 11:6-9)

Will the lion (or wolf, as it actually states) ever lie down with the lamb? That evocative image of a dreamlike impossibility from Isaiah forms the frontispiece of the United Nations entrance, but it would seem to be as far from Earthly realisation as ever. Or is it? It speaks of a time when the weak and strong will be able to dwell together, with the gentle lamb having nothing to fear from the lion. It may not yet be upon us, but several changes happening to society will make this possible at last.

One thing is the rise of a technological equality that previous societies couldn’t even have imagined. That is, through the medium of technology, democratically distributed, there are spaces and forums to which anyone can have access, pretty much regardless of background. Already, millions around the world have access to the internet in some way or another. When the next generation of interactive internet emerges, it will be an even greater part of our lives. It doesn’t mean everyone will be absolutely equal in their worldly status, the flattening affect won’t go that far. Personal development and effort will go a long way to defining people then as now, yet background will have a lot less sway. The society we presently live in is comparatively feudal in the emphasis paid to birthplace and parents. This will be increasingly unsustainable in the future.

The reason why the lamb will be able to lie with the lion is from having nothing to fear anymore from his bite. The lion, seeing clearly the benefits of the trusting and gentle ways of the lamb will likewise be freed from the primitive aggression he once felt towards those weaker than him, in a system so devoted to physical survival. Although self-restraint is currently urged upon the strong, in a world where such strength is seen as one of many attributes and not necessarily the most important one, mutual respect will make such consideration natural.

The words are held to refer both to nations and to individuals. The prophecy states that there will be a ‘healing of nations’ making this possible. This suggests reconciliation and forgiveness, though not necessarily forgetfulness. The memories will be shared as a heritage of primitive times that have long passed, ‘long’ referring to cultural distance and developmental progress, not just Earthly years. They won’t be angrily brought up, as the sense of reconciliation will have made such resentment impossible. The same will be in the personal space. Inner reconciliation will be the theme, not only forgiving in this way those that have wronged us, but more deeply reconciling the ‘strong’ and ‘gentle’ parts of ourselves, so that they healthily co-exist. Whilst much of history has been the story of bullies and their victims, the strong and the weak, a new chapter of humanity will open in which these roles are rendered redundant.

Technological advances will play their part in this, with the brightest designers fully aware of their millennial achievements. The technology will reflect the advances in thought and identity, not bringing such essential progress in itself. A society will emerge finding much more time and pleasure in enlightened learning, yet will appreciate the small features of daily life all the more as well, seeing them as just as much a part of the whole as larger issues.. As our hearts pulse more nearly as one in this peaceful unity, means to share experience with no delay, immediately even, will be fully developed. ‘computers’ will no more be the PCs we use now, though there may be data centers of a sort holding and backing up the great stores of information accumulated, just as there are now. Yet the usual ‘computer’ will be a light, wrist-watch like device capable of holographic projections to produce a whole field of interaction. The somewhat ‘ghostly’ nature of 3D as we now experience it will be far richer and more involving, and in fact will involve projections viewable from any angle, yet subtly different from matter all the same.

Although much of the arts will be digitised to be presented in such a manner, this won’t mean an abandonment of the analogue realm, as in many cases tools that create directly into the digital space will for a long time be far cruder and unexpressive than their analogue equivalents, which themselves evolved over centuries. It will still be easier to digitise a very sensitively produced analogue work than to improve a simplistic digital creation, for example digitising a marble sculpture rather than trying to achieve the same level of depth and feeling in CG. What digital will bring along with the greater convenience are its virtues of easy accessibility and near-infinite reproduction. In fact, in the wake of such great advanced in both the analogue and digital realms, a new field will open up before us like never before, but need even more careful guardianship; the genetic phase, in which life itself is created, modified and attempts are made to improve.

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