The Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions

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The Future Speaks

By wimbi

After my usual normal American day of doing my bit to ruin the planet for the future, I was suddenly smitten by a twinge of guilt, probably a remnant of grammar school lectures on sin come back to haunt me.  So I decided that it might be just simple good manners to at least ask the future for permission to ruin it.

By sheer luck, I have a buddy at the NSA who knows about such stuff, and he came right over, fussed around with a fancy phone a while, and got me connected to the future.

I tried to talk into that future-phone, but got just lot of crazy gobble, like a 20 party line from days of old. I complained of the bad connection to the expert, who, with a condescending sigh, said he had assumed that anybody with rudimentary knowledge of physics would know that the future is nothing but a big fuzz of probabilities, so if I wanted a reasonable connection, I should concentrate on which future I wanted to talk with, and that might suppress all those others enough for me to have at least a chance to communicate.

Sure enough, when I worked hard at visualizing a nice peaceful future I got a pretty clear elderly voice, which announced itself to be a grandchild. Great! So, I asked the grandchild's permission to ruin his/her world.  And as soon as I said that, the voice started to fade away, and I had to work hard and fast to get it back up again.

The voice said it only existed in a future I hadn’t ruined yet, and there were no grandchildren in all those futures that I had already ruined.  

Drat! So much for the permission. So then I asked what I could do to make the right kind of futures more likely.  The voice immediately got clearer and stronger, and started off on a long list of things I should be doing to help it exist.  That list had an awful lot of politics, legal stuff,  social structures, persuasive op-eds and so on, but not much of what I actually do, which is hardware. Sounded like the real job was to change heads, hardware was near good enough already.

Naturally,  I started to gripe a little about how tough it would be for me, who had spent a happy lifetime ruining the future with wrong kinds of hardware, to change my ways and get into person to person stuff which I have never liked to do, and which would surely grate on people, almost all of whom don’t want to hear it, and that would make me highly unpopular. But as soon as I said that, the voice faded right out,  and I couldn’t get it back up, despite a lot of heavy duty happy thinking.

So I handed the phone back to the NSA guy, who then asked me if I had learned anything useful from my little chat with the future. I told him maybe I had learned something, but wasn’t sure it was anything I didn’t already know.

He burst out in that irritating superior sort of laugh of his, “that’s what they all say about the future”.