Whether or not we are here to experience it, and whether or not you care, the future is inevitably going to happen, and every single moment of that unfolding future will be at least slightly unlike the moment before it, if even in the most minuscule of ways, as nothing in the universe is ever actually still. Thus, from our own vantage point, this inevitable future of ours will always be wholly (in at least some remote capacity, even for a cosmic-scale supercomputer, uncertain. The future is definitely going to happen as it is a consequence of the existence of spacetime itself, and it is definitely going to be uncertain from our subjective view here in the present, as we can’t ever know for sure the entire histories and trajectories of other, remote elements of reality and how they will later interrelate. And if we can’t know everything about everything unless we literally are everything itself, then…. Do we still need to wade deeper into these abstractions?
The future is coming (fast), and it’s going to be different.
The height of the sea level of tomorrow will be different than it is today. Do you somehow believe it is going to be lower? Or, is a notably higher sea level going to, perhaps, actually affect something?
The total amount of future digital data (and algorithmic processing) will be different than it is today. Are you under the impression that future information will be less digitally collected and less digitally and virtually applied tomorrow?
Education and experience can teach us to be antifragile so we can adapt and benefit from the uncertainty that is guaranteed to unfold.
In one analysis, possible futures can be split into falling into one of two categories: either the future is going to contain a human society which continues to progress as a going economic concern with opportunities for growth and expansion; or, human society fails to find a healthy equilibrium with the planet and available resources so it declines and devolves into a dramatically reduced societal infrastructure with fewer people, less or no growth at all, and smaller and less-connected economies that are more focused on survival and preservation than expansion. The future may hold a version of one of these two possible realities, or it may hold something else entirely. The only thing we can be sure of is that it will not be like it is right now. No matter what the future holds, the introduction of any aspect of uncertainty creates an entirely new interconnected system of conditions from which will emerge, with no possible degree of absolute certainty right now, something else.
Again: the future is coming (fast). It’s going to be different.
Trends in business and society can indicate a great deal about the current sentiments of investors, consumers, and capitalists, but each trend’s informational history effectively ends in the present moment. To say anything about a trend’s future behavior is to speculate. However, intelligent extrapolations based on sound analysis can certainly help one perceive a temporally-dynamic network of interrelating forces through time, and prepare one psychologically and intellectually for possible future outcomes, which also help to improve adaptive capacities and one’s response time to change. For a simple example, consider the following widely debated topic of automation that is currently (2022) reshaping the global human economy.
As technology continues to improve, along with it come improvements in the types of automation capable of displacing and bypassing human workers. Do you legitimately think that humans’ integrative relationship to automation technology will be more so, or less so, in the near future? Are you acting accordingly, and finding ways to integrate yourself into an even more technologically-centered future? Or are you just continuing to do what you have pretty much always done while hoping that “whatever happens” in the future doesn’t really disadvantage you too much? (The answer to this last question might also indicate to you how “white” your thinking is…fyi. Whose best future interests are you really working towards, if not your own?) And furthermore regarding the relative abundance of future automation, what is the ethical justification for exploiting a human worker to perform the type of menial tasks that automation has developed to unburden us from? Should the prime productive years and working capacity of real human beings, with our phenomenal intellectual capabilities, be used for ringing up orders? Or unpacking boxes? Or doing something more dangerous like driving a vehicle? Or physically excavating raw minerals?
The future is coming (fast). Don’t get passive, get educated. Own up to the possibility that your parents did not adequately prepare you for life in the future because they themselves didn’t (and still don’t, *ahem*) know how to do so. Relationships with parental figures in the near future may continue to be strained in America as many in the Baby Boomer and older generations may even still subscribe to the now-defunct American dream that was only ever pseudo-applicable to the white middle class anyways, and they may even act politically to try to “return” to some sort of former greatness that the U.S. supposedly lost… in the past… as if the past is somehow going to be re-lived in the future. If people in your orbit are behaving this way, or misbehaving in some other way, especially your family members, be conscious of the reach of their influence on your progress, for it is frequently progress itself that they have made their enemy. An enemy of progress is no friend of growth, and for such people, change and uncertainty are inherent sources of fear. You, however, don’t have to be scared of the future, but if you want to be able to transcend the life conditions you have now, how many naysayers and backwards-thinkers do you really think you can drag along with you? Change their minds, or leave them behind because they aren’t yet ready. Whoever benefits from the future will be whomever is really going out and doing all the hard work of self-improvement and educational growth in order to improve their chances of adapting and thriving in an uncertain environment. Or you could just depend on winning the lottery, but even then, without financial literacy… well… you can look up those case examples on your own.
Take note from the naturalist as you traverse through the future. Read the “terrain”. Use your senses. Pay attention to the details, many times the most interesting ones lie nested within each other. The future unfolds through time, both endlessly and little-by-little, and all the while you are free to “read” the constant succession of the present moment through your intellect and subjective experience. Are you doing so? Are you actually paying attention, constantly? When you’re ready, you will realize that you don’t have to blindly follow the script. It is your future, after all. If you don’t care about your own future enough to educate yourself, then why should anyone else care if you end up as just another resource node for a clever nearby capitalist? Bitch and moan all you want; capitalism-as-usual is happy to accommodate you and your spending habits in whatever mood you happen to be in.
Just as this present moment is “presented to us” by history, so will our future be “presented” by the time that precedes it, which is right now, and right now also happens to be the only time within our control. Just as our past in America has produced different economic outcomes for people of different races and social classes, so is it within our power right now to produce ethical, equitable, sustainable outcomes for out future. We cannot stop the inevitable, but we can steer it. One choice is the LOPSIII model, which is a new “species” of business that generates healthier capitalism by default. There are many other options waiting to emerge.
Just remember, it’s never too late to improve your financial literacy and learn how to break free from your own personalized variant of economic enslavement. Your future is coming (fast), and it’s definitely not going to be like today.