Beloved 1,000-year-old buildings disappear in the blink of an eye.
Celebrities we’ve never met die young. Babies are born. Music goes from cutting edge to current to oldies. Technology that was prized becomes obsolete. A medical breakthrough averts certain doom…
Our experience with time keeps changing. The concept of the time machine was only invented in the 1800s, and people who lived when they were building Notre Dame had little concept of what the world was like a thousand years before them, and no imagination at all of what the world might be like today.
We didn’t have time zones until we had clocks, and we didn’t have clocks until we invented cities…
As we’ve learned about history (not the details, simply the concept of it, that someone came before), we’ve also spent time thinking about the future. About our role in it and whether or not it will turn out the way we hope it will.
My hunch is that two things are true:
• We have much less direct control over the future than we hope, and that it will always surprise us.
• We have far more ability to make an impact than we expect. The only people who can change our culture (and thus our future) are us.
We can’t control the future, but we can bend it. And we can’t freeze the world as it is, but we can figure out how to be a part of it.
The work we do every day, the stories we tell, the paths we follow and the connections we make define our culture, and culture determines what’s next.
No guarantees, but yes, urgency.