A few weeks ago, I posted some reflections on this blog about the future. That act of thinking about the future helped nip a spate of nostalgic reminiscing that felt unhealthy. My thoughts have since become more centered and balanced. The present has regained its proper default place. Today, however, thinking about the future is compelling.
Contemplating the future seems like a healthy way to get unstuck from worries about the multitude of quandaries our nation and the world find ourselves mired in these days. It’s not that I believe I have special powers nor any real degree of influence over world events; I don’t. Perhaps just launching a few meandering ideas into the interwebs is better than hoarding them to myself.
Thankfully,there are a few precious, progressively compassionate people remaining who have real access to the levers of power. I like to hope that they have some innovative, clear solutions to how we can become unstuck. Maybe they can help us all learn from our past mistakes. There must be realistic visions as to how to break through the misinformation and fear that have muddied our collective thinking. By realistically envisioning positive solutions we can regain a sense of direction and motivation to build a better future for us all.
We cannot create a good future by obsessing over the future. We view things with the present and past in mind, so as to retain necessary context. We observe the present and past to remember what works and what doesn’t. How do people react to change now? How have we adapted in the past? What innovations do we and did we readily adopt and which ones were rejected? What approaches and concepts will readily engage to enable the greatest good for the greatest number of people? By taking into account the past, and the present, we can add the future to energize momentum towards practical, innovative solutions.
The past “king of the hill” thinking has clearly, repeatedly failed the world at large. We can no longer afford winner take all as the way to run things. Decision-making via consensus is the wiser approach to determining the future. Although group discussion is messy, democratic deliberation tends towards fewer contentious decisions. No single person nor group should have sole control over a nation nor the world because imbalance ultimately leads to resentfulness and chaos.
When considering time, in general, we comprehend past and future as subjective illusions. The past is remembered through our filtered and malleable memories. It is recorded in biased historical writings, and is further altered by recalling it. The future is conceived in similar fashion with the added problem that the future has not happened. Our concepts of the future are just illusions that we promulgate with desire.
As countless people have discovered, there is no guarantee of the future. We might go merrily along our way, or a stray asteroid could cancel everything altogether. Meantime, I wonder if there will be a future and will it be an improvement over our present situation?
I hope future generations will look back at us with gratitude not sorrow or resentment. We must be the best, most compassionate versions of ourselves in order to set a trajectory that is sustainable, workable, inclusive, and peaceful. I feel guarded optimism that the future will work out better than I hope it will.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes theoretical physicist, Max Planck. “We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up until now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”