I thought about this topic again last week when I read this article on Slate.com - The Purpose of Science Fiction: How It Teaches Governments - and Citizens - How to Understand the Future of Technology.
Author Robert J. Sawyer wrote that...
"At the core of science fiction is the notion of extrapolation, of asking, 'If this goes on, where will it lead?' And, unlike most scientists who think in relatively short time frames - getting to the next funding deadline, or readying a product to bring to market - we think on much longer scales: not just months and years, but decades and centuries ... That said, our [science fiction writers'] job is not to predict the future. Rather, it's to suggest all the possible futures—so that society can make informed decisions about where we want to go.
An unfettered imagination is what allows children to learn and adults to conceive of a better future. If your religion forbids you to think about anything but achieving an eternal paradise after death, or if you deny yourself the ability or opportunity to ask yourself if this goes on, where will it lead?, we'll never learn and never advance.
Star Trek, 1984, the novels of Michael Crichton, and many other examples of very fine science fiction are out there - enjoy them, and don't lose the power of imagination. For a start, read the great novellas Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell (turned into an original and a remade film titled The Thing) and Farewell to the Master, by Harry Bates (the story on which the science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still and its flashier but forgettable 2008 remake were based). You can thank me later.
Have a good day. Imagine a better future. More thoughts tomorrow.