Apologia for knowing the future

The future is likely. It exists in the form of version.
However, the present also exists as a version, thus it is also likely.
Most interestingly, the past has the same characteristics. It exists in the form of version, that is, it is also likely. (We Russians know this well: our past is truly unpredictable. It changes with each new ruler).
If the past is just as likely as the future, why do we sanctify the future? Why do we fear the future?
Perhaps it’s because thinking about the future is always subjective and is invariably tied to personal experience that does not yet exist. It follows that fear of the future is all about fearing unrealized losses.
As psychology teaches us, the fear of loss is a more powerful motivator than the possibility of acquisition. That is why a disaster or crisis is always good goods for the media. Bad news always sell better than good news.
Proofs of the future are about as dependable as evidence of the past or the present. Our ability to know the past, present and future is essentially the same, with only minor methodological nuances. For example, the past may leave behind documents. But documents are nothing more than anecdotal evidence and do not provide a complete picture. The picture is a product of how an individual processes the facts.
There are facts of the past and the future. The difference is that the facts of the past have been already mixed up, and the facts of the future haven’t happened yet.
Where the past, present and future differ is personal emotional perception.
The past has already become part of experience. It’s been alienated and committed to memory. Even changes to the past do not affect personal perceptions. Thus, they are not threatening. The future is always perceived on a deep personal level, and it unwittingly morphs into personal expectations. The unavoidable and irrational projection of the future onto our personal fates causes fear. That is why thoughts of the future are taboo in everyday consciousness. The future is regarded as unknown and unknowable.
Thinking about common and alienated future is, in fact, quite difficult. For example, the ideas of transhumanism and immortalism are widely perceived by their supporters not as abstract evolutionary theories, but as an opportunity for personal salvation. This is nothing short of a religious conception of the future. Even proponents of the theory of immortalism await knowledge of immortality just like believers await miracles. They take it too personally.
In most other people, the fear of the future causes compensatory reactions. They demand proof (which is, of course, impossible, within their value system) and always reject hypotheses about the future. They are interested in it but reject it as ultimately wrong. Their line of reasoning is simple: if it is impossible to know the future, any knowledge of the future is incorrect.
This denial of the possibility of knowing the future is expressed as a rejection of all hypotheses about the future (although they are just as relevant as hypotheses about the past). However, if someone claims a hypothesis is incorrect, must he not have some conception of a correct one?
Our relationship to the future is an amazing fusion of uncertainty and certainty that each and every hypothesis is incorrect. I’m not sure what parakeets look like, but this is definitely not a parakeet. Parakeets look different.
The presumption that the future is unfathomable is similar to omniscience. This sense of omniscience is a substitute for attempts to actually find out. In fact, it makes it possible to forget the very notion of rational knowledge of the future.
These mixed emotions come to a boil when time gets compressed. Of course, this creates an increased demand for futurology (while routinely denying the futuristic concepts). Futurologists will take the place of the enlightened priests, which today is occupied by journalists.

Andrey Miroshnichenko

Author of Human as media. The emancipation of authorship – available on Amazon


Categories: Future and Futurology

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