J. William Lloyd, “The World’s Future—A Prophecy” (1882)

THE WORLD’S FUTURE—A PROPHECY.

I BELIEVE that a time is approaching when terrestrial nature, at least, will be in almost complete subjection to mankind. Man will then indeed be “the lord of creation.” The deserts will be turned into inland seas, or converted by irrigation into fertile and fruitful plains. The swamps will be ditched and drained until they become the very gardens of the earth, and the planting of malaria-destroying vegetation and other sanitary precautions will render them as healthful as the most salubrious locations. A similar plan to that so successfully pursued in Holland will reclaim vast areas from the grasp of old Ocean. Steep mountain sides will be terraced up to the very verge of the snow line and sustain a teeming population. Immense numbers of human beings will live on floating islands and boats on the surface of the lakes, streams and inland seas.

For a time will come in the history of the world when its population will be so great that every foot of available space will be utilized; and that, too, to its greatest possible capacity. This will be brought about by the abolition of war, of wide-spreading epidemics, by improved sanitary conditions generally, and by cooperative living and working by which the strain on the individual will be lessened, and communities will be made mutually supporting and helpful. The abolition of war will be brought about—1. By the improved moral sentiment of the world by which war will be considered a crime. 2. By the intercourse and admixture of different nations, races and peoples, by travel, commerce, emigration, intermarriage, and so on, by which the barriers to altruism, sectional ignorance and prejudice will be broken down and greater international harmony result, 3. By the invention of engines and methods of war so terribly destructive that men will desist from warfare in very terror of the awful means employed and their frightfully ruinous consequences to both sides.

The decreased prevalence of epidemics will be owing—1. To the improved general and individual health. 2. To the establishment of an International Board of Health, who will continually attend to this very matter. 3. To the even distribution of people over the face of the earth (arising from the improvements in commercial and traveling facilities, especially aerial navigation, thereby rendering the accumulation of human beings at certain favored points unnecessary), instead of their being crowded into close and unhealthy cities.

The improved health of the people will be owing to two principal causes—1. To the increased knowledge and application of the laws of health, both by individuals and communities. 2. To the general abandonment by the medical fraternity of chemicals and poisons in the treatment of disease; they having by that time discovered that far simpler means are efficacious therapeutically. Of course, all the other good things of that golden age will also increase the average of human health by increasing the happiness of mankind.

One of the most important of the social features of the world’s future will be cooperation; not the co-working of individuals against corporations, nor of corporations against individuals, or against each other, but the confederation of all the conservative powers of humanity against the destructive powers of nature. Co-operation, and not competition, will be the first law of society in the future. The degraded and barbarous people of the earth will gradually die out, or become absorbed by the dominant—probably Caucasian—race. The different branches of this dominant race will become more and more fused and amalgamated until they are all gathered together under one central government. This government will be essentially republican in its form, and all officers will be elected directly by the voice of the people; not by representatives or electors. This central government will busy itself exclusively with plans for international benefit; mere local matters will be left to the care of local officers. Inventive genius will make wonderful advancement in the future. The rapidity with which passengers and goods can be transported from one part of the world’s surface to another will be limited only by considerations of comfort, convenience and safety. Man will by that time have conquered the atmosphere, just as he long since conquered the ocean, and aerial navigation will be a fixed fact and the most popular mode of travelling. The whole world will be like a vast city, with splendid macadamized streets traversing it in all directions. Various cheap, safe and portable motors will be by that time discovered by which carriages and velocipedes will be propelled and animal power entirely superseded. Theoretical and practical science will do away with nearly all the dangers of ocean navigation, and a continuous system of moles and wharves will transform the entire coast line into one grand harbor. Ail impediments to river navigation will be removed, their channels deepened, and the banks defended by continuous levees and wharves. The rivers will be spanned by innumerable bridges, the mountains honey-combed with tunnels, and contiguous waters brought into relationship by deep canals. The weather and its probabilities will be so well understood and so thoroughly watched in those days that damage from storms will be comparatively rare. They and their courses and consequences will be predicted with as much certainty as eclipses are at present. Nothing will be easier, cheaper, or safer than travelling in the world s future. Messages will be sent round the globe with the rapidity of thought, and men will converse audibly with their antipodes. The art of writing will become obsolete. Men will talk, and a listening instrument will write down their messages. Speeches will be reported by the same means. Not only words, but pictures also will be sent by telegraph, that men can see, as well as converse with unknown correspondents.

Photography will make great advances in the future. Pictures will be taken on any kind of paper without special preparation in the natural colors of the object depicted. Books and periodicals will be illustrated in this manner, and hand-engraving will cease to be.

The English language will, in time, be the only one, but so thoroughly will it be revised, systematized and simplified that it would be hardly recognizable by the man of to-day. Pronunciation will be uniform throughout the world, and spelling will be uniform and phonetic. No person, place, or thing will be allowed to have more than one name, thus obviating all necessity for a special scientific nomenclature and for the vast amount of useless memorizing now necessary.

Gold and silver will be too abundant to be especially valuable, and the world’s money will be exclusively paper; waterproof, fire-proof and non-tearable. The denominations will be expressed on a decimal scale, and only one kind of money will be used the world over. Its basis will be the assessed value of the property possessed by the world’s inhabitants. The metric system of weights and measures will also be universally adopted. Cremation will entirely supersede interment as a means of disposing of the dead. Artificial light and heat will be mainly furnished by electricity, and by its use the nights will be rendered as luminous as day.

As man extends his dominion over the face of the earth the other members of the animal kingdom will be gradually exterminated. The dangerous carnivora will be the first to go, soon to be followed by the rest of the wild quadrupeds and the dangerous reptiles. Then the domestic animals one by one will join the funeral march, for when human beings fully realize that the same ground that will keep a cow or a horse will just as easily keep a man, the days of the larger domestic animals will be numbered. The foul and unwholesome pig will be the first brute to disappear, and as the motive powers before alluded to come into use, men will cease to keep draught animals. The elephant is too ponderous and unwieldy a brute to survive. Reclaiming the deserts will do away with the camel. The air-ship will climb mountains easier and faster than the llama. Sheep and goats because of their fine fleeces, delicious flesh, and the small amount of food they require will hold their own probably for a great length of time. But as superior vegetable fibres are discovered to take the place of wool, and human beings demand more land, they will be crowded out. Traps, poison and ferrets will exterminate rats and mice, and the untamable sleep-destroying eat having no further business in this world will leave it.

The larger breeds of dogs will disappear with the beasts they are used to hunt, and only the smaller kinds will be left. But the dog will never be entirely exterminated. Hydrophobia will be easily cured in the future, and their affection, intelligence and fidelity will always secure the preservation of the smaller breeds of dogs. In short, the time will come in the world’s history when the dog will be the only surviving quadruped.

Fish culture will be enthusiastically carried on in those days, and all waters will teem with them. Harmless and insectivorous birds, too, will be protected and petted till they swarm to such a degree that their numbers will have to be lessened by legislative action. The habitat of various birds will be judiciously enlarged; thus, nightingales will be naturalized in North America, bobolinks in England, and canaries everywhere. The gayly-plumaged birds of the New World will be exchanged for the sweet singers of the Old till an equilibrium is established. Domestic fowls, too, will always be raised and kept for pleasure and profit.

After all this the reader will not need to be told that the man of the future will be a pretty strict vegetarian.

This same survival of the fittest will have its effect on the vegetable as well as on the animal world. As a matter of course, there will be no forests in the future; the world will be too thickly inhabited for that, and many of the common forest trees of the present will then be extinct, or will only survive in the botanical gardens. Trees valuable for their fruits, nuts, flowers, or ornamental appearance will be the only ones allowed to grow. Such being the case, wood will not be as much used in the manufactures of the future as in those of the present. Paper and various metallic and mineral substances will largely take its place. Houses will be made—those of the cheaper class —mainly of paper and glass; but brick, tiles, iron and artificial stone will be the usual materials of the best buildings. Furniture will be made of paper, artificial wood and metal. The popular use of tobacco will be entirely abandoned within the next two centuries; of alcohol within half that time.

Women—throughout the civilized world—will be admitted to equal political privileges with men within the nest fifty years. Crime in the future will be reduced to a minimum, for not only will the moral sense of humanity be greatly improved, but the efficient detective force and wonderful telegraphic facilities of that time will render escape from the law almost impossible. Society in that day will endeavor to reform and redeem the criminal, and not merely to protect itself against his assaults or to wreak its vengeance upon him.

Then, too, Phrenology will take its proper position. It will be taught in the schools as a branch of Physiology, and the phrenologist will be considered as indispensable a member of society as the pastor or physician. The mother with her child, the lover with his betrothed, the teacher with his pupil, the politician with his candidate, all will seek his advice, counsel, or support. In the church, the school, the sanitarium, the dissecting room and the laboratory; in the legislative halls of the nations, and in the sacred precincts of home, phrenology will be applied, taught and respected,

The religious creeds and sects of the present will fade away into indistinctness in the future, and men will be united in a pure monotheism. Atheism will be almost unknown, and a reverent practical faith the rule. Because of these surroundings and these influences the average men of the future will be such beings as the world nowadays seldom sees. Wise, healthful, pure and holy, beautiful in face and form, they will appear angelic rather than human, and the earth will seem a primary heaven.

J. WILLIAM LLOYD.

J. William Lloyd, “The World’s Future—A Prophecy,” The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health, 75, 4 (October 1882), 180-3.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2428 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.

3 Comments

  1. This is quite an interesting text. I’d like to connect it to the rest of Lloyd’s life– his postions change very much over time– when was it written? was it published? where?

  2. J. William Lloyd, “The World’s Future—A Prophecy,” The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health, 75, 4 (October 1882), 180-3.

  3. “My very first magazine articles were printed in
    The Phrenological Journal.”– Lloyd in unpublished “The Story of My Life [1932],” p. 81.
    Born in 1857, he’d begun reading it in 1870 or earlier. It was the second magazine he ever subscribed to. “No other influence in my life sunk such deep roots, or affected my whole future so profoundly as the Phrenological Journal.” (p.55).
    I wrote an article on Lloyd (his 150th birthday was Monday), wish to send it to
    Shawn Wilbur, but can’t find a mailing address
    (or a working e-mail address, apparently).

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