We’re a species that can be shaped by our future as well as our past.
Often we think of our possibilities being shaped by the limitations or entitlements of our past, but our imaginations mean we can also travel to and from our futures. In this way, we are creatures who can begin over because the future can be what we want it to be, more or less.
My hope is that we’ll increasingly invent ways of coming together for the future to be imagined, where we’re able to release the power of our imaginations to meet the pressures of our realities, where strangers can meet and explore together, where we can learn to be all people.
In his book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari writes about how we instinctively divide ourselves into “us and them” – when one group calls themselves Dinka, they are saying “We are people,” when another group refer to themselves as Nuer they’re calling themselves “original people,” and another group names themselves Yupiki, they’re saying, they are “real people”. To each of these examples of “us” there is a “them.”
Earlier in the week, I was participated in a small group of people – some of whom had never met each other beforehand – engaging in an open conversation about the future. It was such a positive experience that they want to meet again to take it further and to spread it to more.
Hopeful conversations which come from the future as well as the past don’t take much effort to make happen – as long as we’re prepared to leave the familiar behind and meet one another in the futures that are suggesting themselves as being possible.
If we keep harping on about the past, that’s exactly what we’ll get more of, like the frog that can’t tell the water is warming and they are becoming more incapable of escape.
We do it poorly, I admit, but we are exploring becoming all people.