We have to dare to dream. To conceive and build different futures is central to being human. We cannot let the real ‘cancel culture’ steal our future.
The zeal of the media for a return to life as it was in 2019 is a form of instant nostalgia. Nostalgia is longing for an idealized time in the past that never actually was.
What is the nub of my case for how we can tackle this? We need to become parents of the future. How do we do that? By taking the metaphor literally.
Starting Monday April 6 I will be leading an online course “Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time” alongside Sterling College’s delightful Philip Ackerman-Leist, joined by Kate, Rob and further stars of The Sequel, as well as other compelling, internationally-renowned guests including Nate Hagens, Helena Norberg-Hodge and Richard Heinberg.
How people see humanity’s future may not simply reflect what they expect the future might hold. Their views involve complex and subtle relationships between expected future conditions, contemporary social realities and personal states of mind. Future visions can both reflect and reinforce social conditions and personal attributes.
Let us do what we do best – write, swim, play tennis, sing, throw parties, mate, run businesses, teach, fight – for the benefit of all. Let us dedicate our actions not to assuring the best outcome but to assuring that whatever the outcome, we gave it our best.
“The Future” is a sales pitch designed to keep us locked into existing institutions and power relationships. It has nothing to do with solving our real problems or liberating us from the increasing power of corporations and the governments they have captured. It is, in fact, an elitist vision of a future entirely run by wealthy technologists who find politics and environmental disruption inconvenient.
No one can know the future. But it turns out we can invent a place called "The Future" and invite people to inhabit it.
When talking about the perils of climate change or resource depletion, soil degradation or fisheries collapse, water pollution or nuclear waste–how annoying it is to have one listener respond dismissively, "They’ll figure something out. They always have."
Some say we humans deeply discount the future–which is just a way of claiming that we care less and less about the effect our actions have on the future, the more distant that future is. But I would say that we don’t discount the future so much as we continuously reimagine it to suit our purposes.
With oil prices hovering near historic highs and coal, natural gas and uranium prices yo-yoing during the last several years, concerns about the future of fossil fuel and uranium supplies often elicit the response: "They’ll think of something. They always do."
After centuries of overconfident pronouncements about "Man’s conquest of Nature," it’s past time to start grappling with an unwelcome reality: what do we do when Nature wins?