The Future

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When all else is lost, the future still remains. ~ Christian Bovee

Science-fiction writers have long been looking ahead — getting readers to envision the future. To dream it. Feel it. Live it.

Fiction, in general, focuses on vision — dreaming up stories with little known characters and worlds. Such a narrative requires tensions and problems, which forces one to consider a spectrum of potential, of roles we might play in making the world better or worse. 

The future remains a concept we explore in a myriad of ways.

In case you haven’t heard, FutureMe is a new website that allows you to write an email that will be delivered sometime later. Years from now, you could get a letter from your younger self saying, I hope you broke it off with that egomaniac and finally got around to the career you were talking about.

Of course, it would be better if it happened in reverse: Walk away from the guy with huge ego and go with the career, but we already talked about the younger-self in the previous post.

One question about the future I ask myself on occasions is how I might feel about certain issues down the line — politics, religion, writing, worldviews. Looking back at the younger self, the idealistic known-it-all college student, I can say that many things have changed since then, opinions have shifted over time.

Time will change and reverse many present opinion. ~ Plato

We change, no debate there. The world changes. Businesses change. Today, companies look into the future more than ever, searching for the next trend, next big concept.  One of the most desired qualities in management-level positions, according to Forbes, is the ability to conceptualize — to study the market and predict needs and wants. Be at the forefront of the ‘idea’ business.

I used to say trends are for the very young, and I don’t need to know about the latest this or that. But to keep in step with the writing world, for example (not ahead but barely in step), one must know what’s developing in the publishing business, contests, marketing.

But is there no end to this conceptualizing process? Are we sacrificing the present at the hands of the future, or is this the new normal? Should I just shut up and go write a letter to my future self?

Photo courtesy: imgarcade.com

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19 responses to “The Future

  1. Hmmm, I feel that my life has just begun at 40, so I’m not so much worried about the future. I am worried for our society and the planet, but for myself, well I just hope I continue on the path I have finally found. Great post! Got me thinking…

  2. Your usual thoughtful post, Sylvia. I spent a lot of time telling medical students not to focus on the awarding of their MD but to enjoy the journey of medical school. You aren’t living if you can’t appreciate the experiences of each day with its moments of beauty and revelation. Not that planning ahead is bad – it’s a good thing, as you pointed out – but it can’t be the focus of your life. And that’s my two cents worth from decades of living (so I won’t be writing a note to my “older” self).

    • Noelle, you need to write no such letter. There is wisdom and talent in everything you say and write. And there’s no substitute for life experience. Thank you.

      • Thank you for the compliment, Sylvia. I look forward to your blogs because they are original and heartfelt and beautifully written. Looking forward to many more.

  3. When we spend our time fixated on “keeping up” we don’t. I think I’d rather do what catches my interest, strikes my fancy, or excites me. If that’s not on trend, then so be it. Of course, that’s not the way to get ahead (although you might end up doing the thing that ends up being ahead of the times).

  4. Great musing, Silvia.

    I have definitely evolved my thinking on many social and political issues. I think time and experience influence our viewpoints. That’s why I find it ironic when politicians get beaten up for positions they held a decade ago that they have now changed. There is a huge difference between evolving over time and shifting constantly with the prevailing wind. We ought to be savvy enough to discern the difference.

    As for keeping up with trends – obviously it’s a must career-wise, however the rate of change – in almost every aspect of our lives – has grown exponentially faster. Not only is it more difficult to keep abreast, but often our ability to distill trends and make reasoned choices is gone in the blink of an eye. I think working in any industry – including authoring books – has to be so difficult despite many technological advances.

    You always pose such interesting concepts. 😊

    • So true about the politicians, Sammy. If folks judged me based on my youthful actions … I just don’t know. :) Yeah, the publishing industry is one of the craziest in terms of quick changes, but we do what we can and leave the rest. Thanks so much.

  5. Keeping in step with what’s happening in the publishing world (marketing, contests) is practically a full time job. So many media platforms and people to connect with and always something more to consider. There are so many new ideas, so many people offering advice on what to do to get publishes. It’s all so overwhelming. I’m thinking that the best way is to simply enjoy the writing and whatever else happens is just icing on the cake. :)

    • Thank you so very much, Ned. By the way, I just one to point out that Ned’s blog is a treasure trove. When I can I visit daily, if not I go back through the posts. He writes on the most thought-provoking issues of the day, never shying away from the real stuff, and re-blogs great articles. Thanks again, Ned. You rock.

  6. O my goodness it is exhausting just THINKING about keeping up to trend! FOMO (fear of missing out) is practically a diagnosed illness these days. These are challenging times for sure as everything happens in a blink of an eye and it is hard to remain calm and still, but somehow emphasises even more the necessity for this.

    Great post thanks Silvia!

  7. Very thought-provoking post. I am very much a present-liver. Perhaps I don’t think enough about the future, much like I don’t dwell on the past. Thankfully, I have a husband who has the foresight to think about the things that may come. :) We make a good pair.

  8. I only think about the future when it’s in relation to something that interests me. As for trends or need-to-know stuff I’ve ignored, I depend on my news-reading, world watching husband to drag me away from the keyboard and fill me in on the rest of life. :-)

  9. Yesterday is past, no need to worry. Tomorrow has yet to unfold. Today is all we have, a present for sure. Enjoy everything it may hold.

  10. Excellent post!… Truly deeep thoughts… The quotes also stand out… Particularly Plato’s…. Best wishes, Aquileana :D

  11. Since the future is still a mystery, it’s best not to over think it. I used to plan and daydream and imagine what life would be like in 5, 10, 20 years. Now, I know, it is beyond my control. We need to pay attention, to understand what is going on, especially in communication as writers, but never lose track of the higher calling that we personally can live out.

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