The Future – Carl Lee Wilson

You say you want a revelation? Well, you know, we all want to have hopeful futures. But we deny that the world 100, 1000 or, maybe, 10,000 years ago was the same as it is today. We claim to see progress but fail to notice that the measures have changed. Myth has it that, in antiquity, a philosopher with a lamp roamed his city in the daylight looking for an honest man. They called that man a dog in his death because he showed them their faults. Now, without having all the toys this life offers, who would gladly die and call it gain?

Which will it be: virtue or concupiscence? How can we contemplate the Singularity, galactic conquest or dystopian ruin without first addressing what is in our self-interest? Yes, self-interest, not ‘greed’; for they are decidedly different. Self-interest decides to give to others assuring their welfare and knowing that, by the act, it provides for its own. Whereas greed withholds hoping to hoard benefits to itself which it knows cannot last long enough.

Are not our current contemplations lacking in humanity and society? We want to live forever on our own terms or die trying. Preferably, of course, someone else will die trying and not us. All the while, we do not recognize the smear over our eyes preventing us from seeing the truth. From where does that unhealing salve come? Could it result from our continual and deliberate confusion of our conscience’s reprobations and approbations? What will it take for our eyes to be opened? Only with open eyes can we see the hope set before us.

What might that hopeful future entail? Everything that is good and pleasurable: all knowledge, industry and accomplishment. Perhaps it would include robots, starships and universal communications if they were necessary. Certainly, it will include creation, discovery and enjoyment as a matter of course. And, best of all, it will include rest from toil and turmoil. We will all be strong, good-looking and above average as a modern-day philosopher once observed. But this good outcome takes a reversal of direction here and now.

The future starts this very moment. Will you be greedy or self-interested? Go your own way or deny yourself? The harsh alternative is a dystopian future with no end. We all would rather change the world than change our own selves.