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Lewis & Quark


The Future Part IV: Outro

     Once again, I have reached a point in the future that I planned before. I laid out my plan for these posts, knowing the type of content I would expound on, and executing them, each in turn. And now the time has come for the last one, the end. If you've read the past posts, you realize that my visions for the future (mostly in Part III) are rather ambitious. Giving the world free energy, colonizing Mars, curing cancer, a unified government, and widespread education. There's more, but those are the main things. The future is not encapsulated in only those things. The future can be lived out by just thinking. Just thinking.
"The unexamined life is not worth living." -Socrates
Plus, the vision of the future would not be feasible, or logical, if we only tried to change the world in "big" ways.
     The essential question is--what do we want out of the future? If we want more of this thing, or more of that thing, our future has come to a materialistic, fickle end. If all we want is more stuff, we are purely consumers. Anyone can be a consumer. All people are, in some way or another. Even the makers have to be by necessity, consumers. You can't live life and not be a consumer.
     You can live life and be a maker. There is a very good chance that you are relatively well off--a consumer on the higher end. You're fed, clothed, have access to transportation and even have extra things like television, video games or toys. And as you live life, you take. Others' efforts are spent (literally and figuratively) on you. That's easy.
     What is hard is to make an attempt to reverse that.You can be a person who produces in return. You have been given life, breath, and so much more. Should you not use it? Life is supposed to be used. You, in some sense, use others' efforts, and by law of exchange, give them yours. But you can never produce or spend as much as others make for you by simple numerical superiority on the other side, but you can try.
     You may have noticed this come up in the past posts. The argument that looks to perfection, and getting closer and closer to it, in the knowledge that it will not be reached. Why struggle on forever? Why not just say "enough"? Why abandon the good for desire of the perfect? What's more, does not God command us to work for Heaven?
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)
     There seems to not be much value in this poor little world of ours after all. God said it was good--before the Fall. We are made in God's image--but even that too is corrupted. And people have a habit of making the best things sinful. What is of value on this planet?
     The great philosopher Plato created "Platonism," containing multiple viewpoints that still influence our culture today. If someone says Platonism in average conversation, however, they will most likely be referring to the idea that the things of the spirit are good, and all flesh is bad. This was reincarnated later in Gnosticism, and had its effect on the Church, thanks to Augustine's conversion to Christianity out of Platonism. In this respect, Plato is wrong. Matter can be good. We could not live good lives if it was so. Under a Platonist worldview, if one desires to be good, then one should die as soon as possible. This world matters. Just because it is not perfect does not mean it is not worth living in. In the world, but not of the world. This world has value--and that value can be divorced from what is wrong with the world.
    But we can never fully fix those things that are wrong with the world. Because humans--even humans who are saved (given the power by the Holy Spirit to do actual good things in this context)--are not perfect, they cannot make something they do not have, i.e., perfection. God is the only one who can deliver perfection. God, in His wisdom, keeps a perfect world from us. We cannot seek something that even God would withhold from us. We have to live, however. Living is not just breathing. When you live, what are you doing all day? We live to reach what we want, our goals. Reaching our goals is in the future. Everyone, in a way, is a futurist. Living is wanting tomorrow to be better--maybe only in some respects--than today.
     And today has so many problems. Today can be fixed by tomorrow. Tomorrow has all the answers. That's why the future doesn't have to be a "great" thing. Because living is futurism. Even if our only impact on the future is our kids, it is a good thing. And a good thing is not perfection, and yet it is good. Sometimes we have to settle for a bad thing. Some times we don't. We can seek what is good. It is always worth it. What is bad may be "good" (read: pleasurable) short term, but good things are rewarding in the long term. Even moral behavior is a care for the future.
     And the future is everything we don't know. There are a few fundamental truths to our nature, and one of them is this: man must explore. Even after all ground has been explored, we're still searching at the bottom of the sea. We're still trying to colonize space. We have to go forward. That drive is essential to humanity.
     The important thing now is this--where will that drive lead us? The most amazing people of all time were not just smart. They didn't even necessarily do a lot of things. (Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci are exceptions.) They were convicted. They believed. (Steve Jobs, the Wright brothers, etc.) Remember how I said I believed in the future? That's the kind of drive that is imperative. My belief is not perfect. I'm not always as motivated as I should be. But that's not the story of my life. That shouldn't be the story of all our lives. The majority should be one of pushing to what we've been given a vision for. And we're not all given the same vision.
     We're all different. No two of us are exactly the same. We've been given--given because God is responsible for all good things--different gifts, loves, skills, lives. And we are called to use that. No one can impact the future in the same way. But the point is we can. The world is swiftly moving towards a crash. A big one. And our world is broken. Irrevocably. Sin has damaged the world beyond our power to repair completely. Striving to "fix" the world is not wrong--but it has to be done in the light of something else. First, we're not God. We can't do everything we want to do. Second, it must be done in the knowledge that one day, God will fix the world. He will make a perfect future. No tears, no sorrow. No sin.
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
     And then things will be perfect. There will be eternal rest for His chosen. How many seconds in eternity? And all of them good. Far from the worries of politics, economics, and pain. This does not excuse us from responsibility, but the opposite. It gives us hope. Even after all our struggles, after all our pains, we will be released. And in some way, our ideas and our acting on them are just preludes to the ultimate consummation of the universe. 
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