Would You Look Into the Future?

If you could, would you look into the magical crystal ball and see the future?

Now, there are two scenarios about the future:

1: The future assumes that you do not look into the future and is dependent on what you would do had you not looked into the future (meaning, if you look into the future, and try to change it, it will be successful). or…

2: The future realizes that you’d look into the future, and you cannot change it at all.

My pick in both situations would to not look at all, and here’s why:

Part of what makes life extraordinary and worth living is the process; just living is remarkable on its own. Not knowing the events that are going to happen next is the primary thing that makes life really special to me; that’s why the first time I read a good book or see a good movie remains special and something to remember. Seeing the same “scenes” being played back to me as they happen would take the surprise out of my life, and, really, make life not worth living. For example, if my future correctly predicted that I’d become a rich mogul when I got older, I’d just view my present life as drudgery and useless instead of enjoying every minute of it like I should.

I feel that if I looked into the future at all, that would violate the order of things, and, the worrier that I am, I’d live my life just awaiting the point where I met the vision of my “future”. It would also make me obsess over whether certain actions or people I met would have an effect on my future, though, I’d inevitably come to the conclusion that everything does effect how our future is molded. I’d attach a purpose to everything, though it really shouldn’t be that way — we give our own experiences meaning by how much they value us, not on the basis of speculation about the future.

And, really — is the “future” even worth it? Time is just a limited resource that we have that allows us to space out events. Ultimately, the future is really one step closer to our deaths than the present is, which brings me back to: why not really enjoy our present with reckless abandon (okay, nothing too insane… We don’t want to cripple our future) and worry about the future when it comes about? I’ve been guilty of living my life constantly brooding about future events. When I reached a goal I wanted, I’d just look at my list, identify one (metaphorically) and go chasing after the next milestone in my life, endlessly preparing for it. It’s no fun, really, to be so concerned about the future that you spend so much time worrying about the future that what you have now is wasted.

What would you do?

  1. Great discourse! I like to ponder philosophical points as well. I find your two scenarios intriguing, particularly the way they’re stated. Some theoretical physicists believe there is no “time” as such; that what we perceive as time is a mental construct to enable us to function in physical reality. Given that, and the supposition that the is “really” only the present moment (which I tend to believe although I’m open) how do we perceive the timestream? Some experiments (at the quantum level) have shown that quanta receive information from the “future” to make “present” decisions. Does this mean, at least theoretically, that something we do in the present can affect the past?

    But, none of those thoughts pertain to the question you actually asked, so please forgive the ramble. I do agree with you that I wouldn’t want to know consciously “what my future holds”, for many of the reasons you’ve articulated. It would make the present seem either weird or pointless, and I don’t believe we are here on earth to live that way. The unfolding process, although possibly painful at times, also holds the promise of the joy of discovery. And, without that, we wouldn’t be the humans we’ve come to know and love.
    Thanks, what a wonderful post!

  2. Alas, I am back from my vacation. It was good until the end; and I’ll say no more (maybe allude to it in tomorrow’s post?).

    Muse, thanks for the thoughtful comment, and, ’tis true, time does seem to be an artificial construct… But the “future” question has been around for ages and I thought it’d be a good thing to blog about. Cheers!

  3. would i look into the future? yes, because i’m incurably curious especially if it’s anything to do with me.

    however, if i am able to look in the future, it would disprove my personal belief that what happens in my life is a consequence of my choice and circumstance. if i could see my future, that would mean that everything is predetermined, including the choices i would made, and that means… my life isn’t really my life, is it, that the future knows what i’m going to do?

    so i would look, but it would kill what i believe. 😦 anyway, i don’t believe in magic crystal balls! 😀

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