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Umberto Boccioni: Visioni Simultanee [Simultaneous Visions] (1912)
" … I'll settle for what the present offers and keep dreaming forward."

Future spends most of its existence anticipating, though a few significant events find present and future encountering each other. These meetings sometimes produce sparks, for I expend little energy moderating my visions. I tend to spawn them in almost exclusively expansive forms, suspending those physical laws reserved for presents and pasts. In my future, anything might happen, and I cast even uncertainty as less of a barrier than I should probably expect it to be. I can revel there, suspended within my Utopian projections, and usually believe that my imagined future waits impatiently for my arrival. Reality, the traditional buzz-kill of dedicated dreamers, steps in somewhere to throw some cold water on the dreamer, though not even a freezing Bucket-Challenge intervention tends to blunt the more alluring imaginings.

In this culture, we learn early to firmly believe in The Future, for it seems to hold our destiny, our ultimate achievements.
Other cultures worship their pasts, but we seem to discount ours as mere pretenders, practice for an ever-emerging perfection. We behave as if we're either certain to achieve it or as if we already had, taking full credit for outcomes that might not have quite manifested yet. We might adopt a creed touting universal equality then act shocked when someone points out that we haven't quite achieved that aspiration. We take affront then, as if acknowledging a shortcoming insulted our intentions. We're pretty certain that we're really better than we might appear. Those who disagree with our inflated sense of self esteem seem clueless to us, and unimaginative. We're still moving forward though we've already arrived. Any other perspective seems short-sighted.

I imagined that once we'd reinhabited our fabled home, our future would just manifest. I was not foolish enough to presume Spandex® suits and flying cars, but some more modest equivalents, a future ready and waiting for us. For instance, I imagined that I would buy a cordless electric reel mower, mostly because I'd imagined that they already existed. I'd seen video on the internet which seemed to validate my projection, but deeper scrutiny, like actual proof of their availability, eluded me. I'm no wizard when Googling. I tend to find everything but what I search for there, and I managed to find two examples of what I'd imagined, one gold-plated and the other, apparently, the lawn mower equivalent of vapor ware. This situation left me with a dilemma. I knew what I wanted but could apparently not manifest it. Perhaps the future continues to lie just offshore and simply arriving here had not quite lured it in. Not yet. Now I inhabit the messy time between arriving in my future and it finally noticing me here.

In some ways, encountering any future must remain similar to sliding back into some stone age, for both operate by rules quite different from even any recent past. The future often initially seems stupid if only because I have not quite yet come to understand its new and "improved" rules of engagement. Not even flying cars resolve very many of the eternal dilemmas of living. Even flying cars require a parking place and insurance. Though I pumped myself up to be a sworn enemy of rotary mowers, even those powered by batteries, I catch myself amending my earlier conviction, but only because my future thus far lacks the capability to satisfy my higher intentions. What do I have? What do I want? What will I settle for? Real futures omit that last question, for real futures always seem capable of satisfying any want and of blithely narrowing any gap between what I want and have. In this real world, unimproved by fancy, the present reigns superior to every future. I eventually agree to continue dreaming with the explicit understanding that I'm still holding my dream, and that in time, I'll be meeting up with my future. It's destiny! In the mean time, I'll settle for what the present offers and keep dreaming forward.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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