Prompt #17:

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My favorite quote of all time is Alan Kay: ‘In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.’ I am all about inventing the future. Decide what you want the future to be and make it happen. Because you can. Write about your future now.

(Prompt Author: Cindy Gallop)



Uh-oh, seems like a fate vs. free will discussion to me!

I am not sure that we really can invent our future, although it feels as though we can and although we must act as though we can. I think our future already exists, inasmuch that I think that the nature of Time is non-contiguous and non-linear. The perception of time being linear seems to me to be an illusion. I think past-present-and-future exist as One; I believe they just are. Time is All at Once. We see the mysterious nature of Time and Space when we study quantum mechanics, conduct thought experiments about 4th, 5th, and 6th dimensions (can you imagine?), and think about mind-benders such as worm holes and the like. We can look at the nature of time through science, and we can also study it through our own perceptions and intuitions. So to me, somewhere beyond our knowledge, our future already exists even though the present moment feels indeterminate.

It is a head-puzzle that gets a little Matrix-y now and then, and scientific questions of space and time of course are bound up in questions about the purpose of life, spirituality, philosophy…all fun to ponder late at night with good friends and spouses around a fire with a mug hot chocolate. But what about the practical application in the present moment?

In other words, whether I can or cannot “invent” my future (i.e. either I can really invent it with my own agency and that future already exists unknown to me, or every one of my actions has been predetermined in advance without my agency), I have no choice but to believe I have some free will, or to act as though I do.

Let’s assume for the rest of this blog entry that we do have some free will.

If I could have control or invention over one aspect of my future, I would not wish to ordain events or even to know them conclusively in advance.  I do want to reach my goals, but I am not really talking about goal setting in this post. I just mean simply that I don’t think I can invent/know my future completely. There are too many variables and external influences. To want total control over everything would be to miss the opportunity to connect with others and to feel the full wonder of the universe.

All I ask for is to have a willing peace in my internal self—in other words, my reactions to what events will occur. If I do have the ability to invent part of my future, then I want to take part in the creation of  a soft heart, a flexible mind, a peaceful essence. I want to meet both the good and the bad parts of my future with gracefulness, dignity, love, and the desire to understand. What I would hope to set aside would be anger, sadness, cynicism, and hopelessness. In this, I quest everyday. Often I fail, but other times I see hope for my future, hope that my heart will never grow hard or bitter, hope that in my unknown future I am still a recognizable essence to myself.