Stretching your self-definition will help you when, in later life, you are forced to become something your parents could not even imagine. This is a likely fate for you.Your parents were born in the 20th century. Soon their 20th century world will seem even deader, weirder and more remote than the 19th. The 19th-century world was crude, limited and clanky, but the 20th-century world is calamitously unsustainable. I would advise you to get used to thinking of all your tools, toys and possessions as weird oddities destined for the recycle bin. Imagine starting all over with radically different material surroundings. Get used to that idea. […]

Steampunk’s key lessons are not about the past. They are about the instability and obsolescence of our own times. A host of objects and services that we see each day all around us are not sustainable. They will surely vanish, just as “Gone With the Wind” like Scarlett O’Hara’s evil slave-based economy. Once they’re gone, they’ll seem every bit as weird and archaic as top hats, crinolines, magic lanterns, clockwork automatons, absinthe, walking-sticks and paper-scrolled player pianos.

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