I have been thinking about a lot of science fiction shows that featured “suspended animation” or “hibernation” – characters who go to sleep for long voyages in space or wake -on Earth – centuries later than they expected. Movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey or television shows like Twilight Zone, Lost In Space and Altered Carbon feature parts where people are placed in suspended animation. For those who were born in the 1960s, you may recall old science fiction television pilot from 1973, Genesis II. The plot began with a science experiment where the main character was placed into hibernation but an earthquake and cave-in trapped him. He is woken up in a post-apocalyptic future, where the USA has reverted in some places to wilderness, various groups are threatening each other (one group is armed mutants) and the society that rescued the sleeper.
While it would be nice to sleep through catastrophe and wake into a new world, those who slept through the last few months might only note that some things have changed for the better. Some of us have lost loved ones to the virus. Many have lost income or jobs. Everyone has been affected in many ways. As I blogged about in Dog daze, we were staying put mostly out of respect for the healthcare workers who have been dealing with the illness every day. Staying put though has resulted in days running together. It is a challenge to wake up knowing what day of the week it is.
Sleeping, especially among the younger crowd, is often underrated. When conditions like unpopular political leaders, pandemics, or climate change warrant, hibernation might not be a bad alternative to turn in and tune out. As it happens, long, long periods of hibernation may not be damaging. Like some things that were supposedly extinct years, centuries, or even millennia ago coaxed into existence again, I might enjoy seeing a new century or new millennia. But I should keep my hibernation chamber at the ready. Like that movie Genesis II, I may want to sleep through the potential ignorance of the Twenty-Second Century as well.