The Upanda Era

From Futurepedia, tomorrow’s encyclopedia today.

The Upanda Era is an anthropologic period in the United States of America that extends from 1760 AD to 2030 AD.  The start of the period is marked by the Industrial Revolution,  when the process of making things transitioned from hand to machine, giving rise to a brand new species, Behemoth Entiti Fictionales.  Early Behemoths were fairly innocuous, but they quickly rose to rule the world, demolishing mankind and its once vibrant, diverse culture.

The Rise: the devil wears a suit.

From 1760 to 1960, the Behemoths grew the country, the military, and middle-class salaries.  They connected humans with trains, planes, and automobiles.  But the clever Behemoths knew that the wolf in sheep’s clothing never went hungry, and under the guise of servicing man, the Behemoths subtly began sucking the humanity out of humans.

The Climax: artificial addictions and puppet show democracy.  

From 1960 to 2030, the Behemoths domesticated their prey with advertising, launching campaigns in all mediums to convert humans into walking wallets.  The Behemoths taught their prey what was to be desired, told them how to buy it, and if it wasn’t a necessary, the Behemoths made it addictive to man¹, and if it was necessary, the Behemoths ensured it would breakdown in short time.² They convinced man that freedom was attainable through the things the Behemoths made, and then chained him to those things.

But most damning to humans, the Behemoths fooled man into believing Behemoths were people too, entitled to the fundamental rights accorded to all people.  Accordingly, the Behemoth had the right to [influence the] vote. The Behemoths purchased marionette politicians and placed them in office to protect the Behemoth’s interests.  As the Behemoths did not require shelter, food, water, or oxygen, their sole interest was the propagation of profits.

The Behemoths’ hunger for profits, in no hyperbolic sense, was truly insatiable.  Their very structure and existence allowed no satiation.  The pursuit of profits was their sole obsession and fueled the Behemoths unflinching massacre of the human spirit.  Exploiting the exchange man had devised to convert the value of his finite time into a tangible form called currency, the Behemoths drove man onto hamster wheels, unending cycles of craving and grasping, Upanda.  Be more like me, preached the Behemoths.

The Fall: the return of village economics and loss of corporate person-hood.

The immortal and soul-less entities had long fended off attackers with an ingenious defense: hide behind the American flag.  Our many workers are not the backbone of capitalism and freedom, argued the Behemoths, we are.  Challenge our tax breaks, unlivable workforce wages, and political donations, and YOU SIR, ARE UN-AMERICAN.

But their fallible logic was outed decades before the fall of the Behemoths:

The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.³

By 2030, mankind had held the Internet for 35 years.  Borders and demographics once used to divide humans grew extinct, and as a species united, mankind turned against the other fiction that ruled their lives, the Behemoths.  Armed with the Web, mom, pop, and the guy down the street slaughtered the Behemoths en mass.  And as it turned out, this killing was no crime, as the Behemoths were never alive.

Like impaling a woolly mammoth with his own tusk, the Internet and related tech products re-started village economics.  Local producers of goods and services reconnected with local buyers and even non-local local buyers.  Backyard gardens re-emerged and neighbors traded bananas for kale or homemade soap.  Single family homes and traffic became a thing of the past as people discovered co-ownership and worked from home or within their immediate community.  As simple as it sounds, it eviscerated the need for many of the Behemoths; the pipeline of cash from consumer to shareholder ran dry.

While several Behemoths survived the extinction event, they are presently confined to infrastructure and other pursuits requiring large capital investments or expenditures.   All it took was for humans put their angry birds to the side, and pick up their tools.

¹  Two classic examples are junk food and cigarettes.  See the extraordinary science of junk food and even more addictive cigarettes.

²  Planned obsolescence is a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.  On other words, the Behemoths invested large sums to specifically make shittier products, stimulating demand by encouraging their prey to buy sooner if they still want a functioning product.  See planned obsolescence.

³  Robert Kennedy.