Visions of the Future

«Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.»
Obi-wan Kenobi in «Star Wars IV: The Return of the Jedi»

Recently, during an «I want to do something (anything!) else than working» «I have worked hard for a few hours, I need a break» session there was a short but (IMHO) very fruitful discussion about … well, the future. Or rather, having faith in the future.

And yeah, while the surface topic was about Greta Thunberg, Fridays for Future, Scientists for Future, heck, the current moral panic, on the deeper level it was about … faith.

Yeah, faith.

During a discussion about activism, climate change, future, it became apparent than someone had a very … «dark» outlook on the future. Actually, more than one person. But the outlook was … well, the future is bleak, the time to react is short, we have to do somethingnow!

And seriously, did your judgement ever improve when you felt pressed for time? Time pressure is a strategy used by persuasion specialists and con artists.

But yeah, in that discussion, I realized that some people really think that the world is gonna end soon. That the time pressure and need to react now is so pressing … it justifies a lot. Nearly everything. Or even anything.

And in a way, it makes sense. If the future is bleak, if we are all going to die, how can you not justify anything and everything. Without stepping into Godwin’s’s Law, but heck, you could righteously want to control every aspect of life if it meant saving the human race.

But … there are people who think differently.

I do not mean the perhaps existing, but more likely strawmen (sorry, strawpersons), seeing «climate change» as a problem for Africa only. I mean people who have faith.


In the human race.

In our ability to forge our own future. In our ability to overcome obstacles. In our ability to survive. And thrive. In short: in technological progress, instead of mere «progressiveness».

And yeah, I agree more with this person (and I don’t care if he’s a professor or not, I care about world views, and arguments, and evidence) than an — for all practical purposes — child messiah. A person who got propped up. And likely serves some particular interests.

But more than that … yeah, I got faith in humanity. I believe we can deal with almost anything … as long as we react rationally. And don’t get caught up in a moral panic.

And without wanting to refer to Godwin’s’s Law a second time, but … yeah, whenever people are forced to think the same, whenever an overriding course seems as too important for individual conscience, whenever science commits suicide by adopting a creed (Huxley) … I cannot help but think: «We’ve been there before. In Salem. In the 1930s and 40s. And we really should not go back to these times.»

So yeah, world views matter. And personally, I strongly question justifying current injustice with the expectation of future catastrophes … especially if there is no discussion (including people with all perspectives) about how that future might actually look like.

So, yeah, that was a side-conversation during work worth having.