31. The Future
The future influences the present just as much as the past.
Friedrich Nietzsche (19c German philosopher)
Awareness of the future strongly affects our lives. And yet, the future does not exist – it is our mental construct that may match to some extent with what will happen. The trick is to minimise discrepancies between these two. To do this, we shall examine some common ways of constructing the future (expectations, predictions and hopes), but let’s start with some reflections first.
Reflecting on the future
- To what extent do you think the future is determined? A fatalistic view is that everything is determined; on the other hand a sceptic would say that we can’t even be sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. Where do you stand in this respect?
- How do you feel about the future? Look forward to or dread it?
- Is the future more important, less important or as important as the past and the present for you?
- Beside your personal future, do you care about the future of your immediate surroundings, humankind or the planet?
You can use this exercise to clarify your view of the future:
Looking in to see out:
- Draw a road or roads that symbolise your future.
- When you finish, analyse your drawing. For example, a road can be straight or wavy, rough or smooth, busy or empty, going up or down. What does it tell you about how you see and feel about your future? There may be a few roads going in different directions. Where do they end? Which possibility do each of them represent? It is important to notice what is missing too (e.g. are there people, cars, trees?)
- After analysing the drawings, consider if you would like to change or add anything.