Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tomorrow Is

Which camp are you in:

I think people look at tomorrow in two different ways:

Some people will think that tomorrow will be worse than today. They want society to go back to a time when things were better. They believe that by reverting back to a social structure, by returning to the way things were, or by reinstating certain values and mores that were in vogue before today, things will be better. Idealistically, they paint a very attractive picture of the "good ole days." They may not be able to specifically name when such days were, but they're certain they existed and that if society doesn't return to them, we're doomed. This is a very popular tactic with religious fundamentalists.

Then, there's another group of people who can't wait for tomorrow to happen because of the promise it holds. They believe that the potential of tomorrow lies in the fact that it is a new day. It's a new day for something great to happen, for things to get better, for the world to change. They view tomorrow as a place of possibility. They may not know exactly what it is that will happen to make sure tomorrow is better, but they do believe there is a chance that everything can and will get better. This is a very popular tactic with people that other people like being around.

The problem with thinking that we need to go back to a time when things were better is that fatalism is very real. After all, if things were better a long time ago, that means today is as good as it gets. Why wake up tomorrow if we think it will be worse than today?

The challenge with thinking that we need to move ahead to tomorrow is that things then actually need to get done. We'll need to move beyond the big idea into a stage of acting out that idea. We'll need to get our hands dirty, move forward, work together and actually build that which we've been dreaming of.

The best line in all of Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat is: "Does your society have more dreams than memories?" (page 451) And it is the same with our own outlook on tomorrow. Either we think that our best agenda of days is a month of yesterdays, or we're willing to bet it all on a week of tomorrows.

In Gabe Dixon's new song, “New Day Revolution,” he prophesies:
We've been sleeping...but the sun is always rising, everytime we open our eyes...we are waking to the New Day Revolution...we are singing songs of hope, and drowning out the fear, little by little we are living out the promise of the New Day...
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Whether you view tomorrow as worse than today or better, the fact remains that above all else, tomorrow is. How you view it is up to you.

But in my opinion, hope wins.

Comments (5)

This is a major problem for me and my wife. I think we are both dreams, and look forward to tomorrow, however, I sometimes look forward to it so much it's hard to sleep at night, and it somehow passes through the air or something, cause even when I'm laying trying to sleep, my wife can feel the energy, and then she gets mad at me cause I'm keeping her up!

One of the "requirements" of any sort of good Futurist outlook is that we find ways to plan for a positive future. There's no point in forecasting a future without hope. Even if the forecast is grim, the final reason for any such forecast is to give hope that by knowing the future COULD BE grim, we have the oppertunity to change it.

It's all a matter of how soon we decide we want to change it.

I don't understand what could be drawn from the poll? If someone was working to restore a principle, legislation or philosophy of the past, wouldn't they still vote for the first option? Although, I understand simplifying life to this supports your argument in distinguishing "religious fundamentals" from "people that other people like being around". I wonder if its really black and white as it is portrayed here. Do you think so?

Thanks to everyone for these comments, and thanks to Matt for voting. There will be a recount.

In response to Matt:
Yes, it is okay to go back and redo something if it worked. But, most of the time, something changed because it didn't work. Those things never need to be reenacted.

Certainly, different people will have different views on what did and didn't work and why. However, I want to make sure I'm on the side of progress, which often means we've got to look ahead.

Sure, everyone wants to make tomorrow better, and not worse. But scaring people into thinking that tomorrow will only be better if we go back to yesterday invokes a kind of fear. And you can't lead by scaring people.

Not sure if you are referring to me. If so, no thanks, I never voted.