September 5th, 2006 03:56 EST
I Have Seen The Future; Part 2 of 3
Allegedly sage advice tells us— quite wrongly, it turns out— that we only have “now”, so we should live in the now, and focus on the present moment. In point of fact, there is a very real danger of interpreting that notion too literally, too extremely. Following that misguided advice is what has caused, though probably and mostly inadvertently, so much of our troubles and dissatisfactions. Standard operating procedure in business and politics and education is directed more commonly towards the immediate result than the extended. Our priorities revolve around supplying a demand for instant gratification and increasing convenience. Which has, lacking the wisdom and integrity of maturity, made us-- as a society— predominately lazy, irresponsible, inconsiderate, wasteful and spoiled… a disposable culture of presumptuous and arbitrary privilege.
For example: credit cards, TV ratings, and fast food.
We’ll worry about consequences and side effects later, if and when they get here. Maybe.
But abiding by that policy is negligent and detrimental; because by the time the problem arises, it may be too late to prevent or correct it. The truth is: that is exactly the type of thinking which threatens our future. Not only is this dangerous, but also foolish to assign priority to the short term at the expense of long term outcomes. We have to consider eventualities, too. Because, eventually, the future becomes the present. On the contrary, we should instead treat preparations for the future like a well played game of chess. We must contemplate pre-emptive contingencies, to monitor and adjudicate complications before they occur, rather than as they occur or after. If we are not careful, the future, too, shall suffer the indiscretions of the present.
Morality tales have always been a part of our story telling, but because they are presented in fiction, as fiction, we typically don’t take them very seriously. They aren’t real to us, and so-- we assume, for whatever reasons-- the message has no relation to or bearing on our reality. Having listened but not truly heard, we go about our days as usual, as if we’ve learned nothing, as if the story meant nothing. Nothing but a frivolous entertainment, just an amusement to pass the time.
Unfortunately, we tend to treat the lessons of history with the same disregard and disrespect. Are we forever doomed to repeat history… repeat our collective mistakes?
We say we know that things need to change for the better, we might even believe they can change for the better… but and yet then do nothing ourselves to bring that change, assuming and expecting someone else to do it. Apparently, we are unwilling or unable to make the effort, to do what is necessary to ensure the future. We can’t be bothered to take the time, or make the time. We are too busy living our lives. Well, this is your life I’m talking about. Our lives, our children’s lives, their children’s lives, etc. The future is happening now, all around you, as you read this.
We say we should do something, that someone “should” do something… without giving much thought or credit as to what that something or who that someone is or should be.
Something… as if to say anything. As if any action is better than no action. Sometimes, the best option is to do nothing… nothing but wait… until a proper time for proper action. Either making the right choice or making the choice right. However, the trick, upon realizing this, is discerning the difference, and being able to fulfill it accordingly. What we don’t do is equally as relevant as what we do.
And, inappropriately, many of us wait timidly or in temerity for someone else to be responsible, presuming someone else will or could. Possibly hoping the problem goes away on its own or is somehow magically resolved, the way milk and bread invariably appear in a grocery store. Sure, we say we know change is needed … but we don’t really know. Because if we did know, if we truly did comprehend the vital necessity of assuming responsibility for the future— a responsibility that is necessary to create this change, then we would care more honestly and industriously about how our actions affect that future. We say we care, but if we really did care, we’d be more interested in trying more to make a difference, be more determined to improve ourselves and our conditions. That we tend to tolerate— however begrudgingly-- a status quo we dislike or disagree with, because it is easier or more convenient to acquiesce than oppose it, is proof that we fail to take this charge seriously.
And if we genuinely cared, we could not, would not dare, to sit idly by and simply hope for a happy ending, nor simply hope someone else will fix it.
Most of us know this only in theory, as an idea… but not in practice, not in fact.
We know we should accept responsibility, we may even intend to, someday, somehow… to do something… but intending or wanting to do something— without ever even bothering to make efforts and plans— is not the same as doing it. And it helps to define what that something is, or will be, or ought to be.
At our own peril, we shirk the responsibility that is within our power, purview and prerogative to engage, we too quickly and too easily squander and deny our power-- individually and collectively. Frequently, we convince ourselves, or allow ourselves to be convinced, that we are powerless, that the world isn’t our responsibility, or that there is nothing we can do to change things. Maybe also assuming that nothing will change, that nothing can be changed. We small mindedly and short sightedly involve ourselves only with what concerns ourselves, and neglect everyone else... at their expense, and even— ultimately and consequently-- at our expense.
Furthermore, we, each of us, have more power than we realize, more power than we care to admit, or even dare to admit. Because once we grant that this power exists, we have an innate, eminent and imminent responsibility to use it, and— wanting to be good people, to use it wisely. Yes, we are as gods, with powers to create. To create ourselves. To create our reality. We may only lack the will and encouragement to embrace and apply that power. But the power is within us all. We could be stronger together, united under a shared mission of future building, than we are apart. Imagine, millions of individuals actively and eagerly collaborating and contributing to creating a better world.
Manifest destiny; the greatness and wonders we could each and all accomplish, if we could just find and nurture the strength to put our minds, and our hearts, to it.
"If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear."
"What we humans are is a really remarkable thing.How can you doubt that we will survive and mature? There may be a lot of wisdom in the old statement about looking on the world lovingly. If we can, perhaps the world will have time to resolve itself."--- Gene Roddenberry