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The Undiscovered Country
I often wonder about how much of the future we can know.
And whether knowing our futures would actually help us anyway.
Probably not - after all, if you could see everything that was to come, then surely all the fun would be taken out of life...
...plus, if we knew certain outcomes, perhaps we wouldn't bother with all the steps that could take us to them, thereby resulting in a changed future anyway!
Often we get frustrated in our daily lives and imagine that a bad situation now will somehow continue forever, even though logic and simple observation belies this notion.
A simple exercise highlights the idea.
Think back to five years ago. What were you doing? What was your situation? Financially, personally, psychologically, where were you? More pertinently, who were you?
Then ask, back then, could you possibly have predicted who and where you are now?
What are the changes you've made in that time - what are your successes and failures?
Are you worse off or better off?
How different is life now compared to what you thought it was going to be like five years ago?
Once you get a grip on this type of lateral thinking - you'll begin to appreciate how little of the future you can predict with any certainty.
Life, if nothing else, is about coming to terms with the unexpected...
The only thing you can truly know about the future is that it won't be as you imagine!
It's like those predictions back in the 1950s about the technological age we're living in today. They were full of marvels like robots that did your housework and everyone having flying cars but completely missing any mention of an Internet or how mobile phones and MP3 players would achieve god-like status.
We can't predict what we can't foresee.
Back in the eighties I could never have predicted that the Internet would support me - and millions of others - and that all the technology to create art - music, books and film would be readily available - and cheap - for everyone to exploit.
Back then only pop stars, movie stars and bestselling authors had access to the best creative tools. Now, we all have them.
Back then we had dreams of traveling through space to visit distant worlds, but now we have alternatives...
Listen up - and get your head around this:
Apparently we're close to creating quantum computers.
The day we can effectively harness and manipulate 'superstate' molecules - that is: single atoms that have two locations (I simplify of course) then the ability to 'beam' information from one place to another without wires or waves or particles over infinite distances will become a reality.
Thinking about this, it occurred to me that this is surely how we'll make 'first contact' with alien civilizations.
We already know that actually visiting other universes is going to be physically impractical because of the constraint of time and the speed of light.
However, with the prospect of quantum communication, we can look forward to 'speaking' to anyone with similar technology, anywhere else in the entire universe. We won't need to physically meet, we'll be able to share each other's worlds digitally, instantaneously, in real time.
And if we can beam 'aliens' our information - who knows what they'll be able to beam back and teach us?
How to live in peace?
How to cook a perfect lasagna?
How to build virtual worlds, perhaps, where we really can 'meet' in person?
There are mind boggling potentialities.
Star Trek's First Contact could mean a revolution in our understanding of the universe - and our relationship with it. And who's to say when this will happen?
Five years from now? It's possible.
And how can we possibly predict what that could mean - and, more importantly, who we will become when it happens?
So - to get back on topic - the future should be a magnet.
We can be drawn to it. We should use our imaginations to push us forward in the direction that resonates with our intention.
But we need to be flexible and prepared for any eventuality.
Because knowing the future is not important.
Wanting it to be good is all.
That's what will change us - and our situations - for the better.
You don't need a psychic to tell you what will or won't happen. Like many science fiction writers, they can usually only predict what might might happen given the current circumstances.
But we often can't appreciate what we don't understand - yet.
Unforeseen events and new technologies, undiscovered inventions and the like will no doubt change us in ways impossible to comprehend with our 2011 mindsets.
I've long believed we really do create our own futures by the simple process of knowing our intentions and then acting upon them.
But the future is also a place just over the horizon that should always be out of sight, just out of reach.
Because if we could see it clearly, we'd most likely stop moving toward it. Then, the present - and our circumstances - would most likely never change.
Voyage bravely toward the future, my friend.
Don't fear it.
Be positive - and be prepared for its wonderful, infinite possibilities.Keep writing!
THIS WEEK'S WRITER'S QUOTE:
"Rob Parnell is the foremost writing guru in the world." Vin Smith, Midnight Bookworm
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