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The system never reveals to us all of the future possibilities

I recently learned, and I regret not having done it sooner, that the system in which one lives (whatever system it is and at any time in human history) never presents us with all future possibilities due to the complexity and multiplicity of those possibilities. In other words, the system always reduces and limits the future and our future.

However, when cracks arise in the system, as they do today, those cracks invite us to expand previously unexplored possibilities. In other words, when the system no longer offers answers to increasingly existentially disturbing questions, in that moment and if one really pays attention, a new future emerges.

At the same time, as the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann explains well in his book Trust and Power, this connection with future possibilities can be misleading in the sense of making us believe that the future means a “return to normality” (a phrase that you hear a lot in this time of pandemic), but not a new future.

In other words, even exploring options before even thought for the future, even in the midst of that change in consciousness, we can decide that the best option is to go back to the past, that is, to remain trapped within the same system that limits us in as for our options for the future.

To paraphrase Luhmann, we confuse familiarity with normality and normality with security. So, we erase the future and make it a repetition of the past or an extension of the present. In this way, the same system that cracks gives us a glimpse that it is possible to escape from the system creates the illusion that the only escape is not to escape.

This situation had already been explored, obviously, by Plato in his famous Allegory of the Cave, when the prisoners inside the cave do not even know that they are prisoners and, therefore, do nothing to escape. They settle for seeing shadows of reality, believing that this is the whole of reality.

In fact, even when any of these prisoners are rescued and released outside the cave, not even that experience allows the former prisoner to appreciate their freedom and therefore desperately seeks to return to their chains.

Beyond the metaphors used by Plato and the multiple levels of interpretation of his Allegory of the Cave, the truth is that this is our existential reality: we see what they let us see and what we can see and, therefore, we confuse the future with tomorrow, and we assume that tomorrow is "again today", as regrettably happened to Sisyphus.

Meanwhile, as Luhmann points out, the "world" (if you will, the universe, or the totality of reality) is always much larger than any system that tries to contain or explain it. And when we forget that basic difference, when we confuse the "world" with the system, we believe that the end of the system is the end of the world.

The future is not tomorrow, but an expansion of consciousness. 

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