Creating The Future
The future is not someplace we are going to, but something we are creating. John Schaar
Foresight, one of my four wisdom theory assumptions, is about the future.The future is not a destination; it is a creative journey. Conventional wisdom of wisdom emphasized the past. My foresight assumption emphasizes the wisdom of making the future happen.
Although the future doesn’t exist, never did and never will, I believe it is present right behind my eyes. Foresight is defined as “the perception of the significance and nature of events before they have occurred.” Therefore, my foresight, my perception of the future, exists in my mind’s eye. My image of the future may be the most important factor in determining what it will be.
Since the future doesn’t exist, I have two choices: create it or let someone else. The future is not predetermined, not predictable, but it is persuadable. When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who make it happen, those who let it happen, and those who wonder what happened. I want to be the first kind.
Because my perception of the future is significant, I should be aware of what it is and why it is. My foresight can be inhibited by four “future neuroses” I have identified that can get in the way of my perception (Future Sense, 1993).
My wisdom needs to avoid “future phobia”,the fear of the future, which often causes people to avoid making decisions about the future, to let other people or fate decide for them. By future-dreaming instead of future-dreading, I can make the future my present responsibility. Future phobia won’t help me make the future happen.
Another future neurosis is “paradigm paralysis”, the inability to shift one’s view, to change one’s mind. This paralysis would restrict my flexibility because a way of seeing is also a way of not seeing. The open-minded/uncertainty assumption of my theory of wisdom may help me avoid this neurosis and maintain resiliency.
“Info-mania”, the idolizing of information, is not likely to be my problem. Info-maniacs worship facts. But in my mind, facts are food for thought, not the whole meal. The fear of not knowing contributes to info-mania; this is not one of my fears. Info-mania limits creativity and imagination, two fundamentals of my wisdom theory.
I don’t believe I suffer from “reverse paranoia”. Paranoiacs believe someone is following them and out to get them. Reverse paranoiacs believe that they are following someone who is out to lead them. They want a visionary leader — who will not only lead them to the promised land, but also imagine it for them. I believe I am influencing my future, not following or being followed. My theory of wisdom is based on self-reliance; reverse paranoia would obstruct my self-reliance.
My future today exists in my beliefs about it in my mind, which is where these future neuroses can exist if I do not avoid them. The outcomes of all my decisions today happen in the future. I believe my decisions today not only influence my future, but they reflect what I believe the future to be.
“It is going to be our minds (cultural evolution) not our genes (biological evolution) that creates or destroys our positive future.” Peter Russell