There isn’t a singular, pre-determined future stretching out ahead of us.
In fact, ‘the future’ doesn’t actually exist.
What we describe as ‘the future’ is really just our own projections of what we think the future will be.
When you have a conversation about ‘the future’, you’re talking about different visions of what the future might be. It’s comparing apples and oranges – and we don’t often look closely at the fruit in our hands.
When we talk about ‘the future’, we usually mean the ‘Business As Usual’ future. You know, the future that looks a lot like today, but bigger, faster, and more-so.
The truth is, this is one of many potential futures that anchor back to this present moment. And the future looks very different from the past more often than we care to admit.
Instead of a straight line, the future is more like an open space we carve a path through.
Paths are carved through action and inaction – doing, and not doing.
No one person, community, organisation, nation, or species can control it.
The future is shaped by environmental dynamics and the cumulation of millions of choices and actions made each day. Some actors are more influential than others. Some actions create new possibilities, others bring old possibilities to an end.
Like finding a path through bushland, some directions will seem more obvious.
We can take the path of least resistance, and see where that leads. We may have a map and compass that show we need to hike uphill through thorny shrubs to reach our intended destination.
The further we travel, the further we are from home.
We expect the terrain along our path will look similar, but as we travel further we encounter new regions with their own micro-climates, soil conditions, and local species.
Travel far, and you’re bound to find yourself in a place that looks quite different from where you set out.