I have recently discovered that there are people in the world who have devoted their lives to studying the future, or more specifically, understanding all the possible scenarios for the future, and then shaping the present to reach an ideal state. Futurology. It’s a fairly straight forward way of ensuring that human beings work together to try and create a sustainable future for ourselves.
Rad concept right? I was intrigued. And a bit drunk. So off to the internet I went, searching for more information, and maybe some clues as to why, given its supposed simplicity and radness, I had never heard of this before. It didn’t take too long to figure it out; the study of “postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them” generally brings up big, scary questions (and answers) about human nature, capitalism and selfish individualism. And for most people, these questions (and answers) are way too hard to deal with. It’s very hard to make such a huge change of your perception to understand how much bigger and important the world is outside of your own reality, especially if the reason you stumbled upon the concept was because one of the regulars at your bar claims to be a professional in the field. It is then even harder to spread the message when you barely understand it yourself. Note to self: stop partying so hard.
After freaking out a little from trying to wrap my head around the entirety of human existence from the beginning until the end… I have decided to conduct a basic little futurology study on something tiny, insignificant, and easy to comprehend; my inability to cook.
So we break it down thusly: I was never interested in cooking because I was raised in an environment where it was not considered to be an interesting or enjoyable practice. As I grew to be independent of that environment, the uninterested attitude lingered, and quick-fixes, such as take-away, mi goreng and cans of soup, are too easy. Lately, I have felt the physical, and in turn, mental effects of a shitty diet, so this, combined with watching the people around me enjoying the process of cooking, has led me to want to learn. I desire to be self-sufficient, and sustain my body with the nutrients it needs to not only survive, but thrive. I want to be a big girl now.
There are many outcomes from this one thought. I could continue down the path I’m on, now that I’ve realized I actually need to learn to cook for myself, keep eating badly, and have my personality affected by the guilt I feel for not putting in the effort to better myself, which then could lead to more outcomes, I never put the effort into anything again ever, or I put effort into learning some new things but not others, or I put effort into every idea I come up with, but not the cooking one.
Or, I could learn to cook. Again, tangents from this propose that I could be proficient in feeding myself and the people close to me, and then never learn a new skill again. Or I could teach myself new skills. Or I could start to learn and give up. Or I could become a very good cook, and enter Masterchef, and then I could win the show and get a book deal, or I could not even make it to the final group, which could then lead me to give up on cooking completely, or I could keep pursuing it, or I could get eliminated half way through and get offered a job at some café which I could either accept or decline… And on and on the possibilities go.
Now we pick the best case scenario. My ideal outcome would be thus: I want to be able to cook a variety of healthy meals, understand how flavours work together, and when I have children, raise them with the awareness and respect for the way that food affects your body and mind, so that they never have to experience the depressive state of affairs that is eating a bowl of Mi Goreng with a fried egg on top while watching a passionate English man on television cook food that is better tasting and healthier than anything you have ever had digest in your belly. Learning from the past to better handle- and indeed to influence- the future.
In order to achieve this future state, I will then implement some “backcasting”, that is, asking what changes in the present would be required to get to the desired end. I won’t bore you with the finer details of my finance and time management skills, but I’m sure by now you get the picture. I have some obstacles to over come, and some confidence to build, but I know what I don’t want to happen, I know what I would prefer over anything else, and I know what I possible and what is not, based on the decisions I make at this point, and the decisions I’ve made in the past.
On a larger scale, which I guess is the biggest, most important scale, we all know what we want for the future of the planet. We’ve seen the effects that bad decision making has had on the Earth and our collective consciousness. Futurologists have been analysing the breakdown of humanity for years now, and it’s time we all get involved, and start put this shit into action. We are at a turning point, we’re approaching the end of the world as we know it, and it’s terrifying that we still find it too hard to care, too difficult to shake off the anthropocentrism we’ve been caught up in for centuries.