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We can know the future, but nobody taught us how to recognize it

I am tired of being told that the future doesn’t exist or can’t be known, or that, because it is unknown, we shouldn’t think about it. The fact that we have become addicted to the past and that we confuse the present with “normality” and, therefore, that we have become blind to the future, doesn’t mean that the future can’t be known.

I say that the future can be "known," not "guessed," "visualized," or "prophesied" (in the worst sense of “prophecy”).

The future will remain unknown to us unless we grow intellectually and mentally. As children, we knew little about the past. Only later, after years of growth and many years of study, do we begin to become aware of a long human history that precedes us.

To see the future, we must solve what we don’t know based on what we already know: we know the present and the past (if we have studied them adequately). Goethe was right: we need to know 3000 years of history to avoid wandering aimlessly through life.

For example, if two apples and one banana cost four coins and one apple and four bananas cost nine coins, how much do each apple and each banana cost? In other words, from what we already know (how many coins are needed in each purchase) we can deduce the unknown (the cost of each fruit per unit).

But they have not taught us to think about the future as an element that we have not yet resolved. In fact, they have not taught us to see the future at all. Since we don’t see it, we believe that it doesn’t exist and that it can’t be known. Unfortunately, we don't see it even if the future is before our eyes.

When the first planes were introduced to the United States Army more than a century ago, the official response was that the armed forces didn’t need those "toys." In the middle of the last century, IBM calculated that worldwide there was a need for only five computers.

One more example: In the 1980s, businessmen from the United States traveled to Japan to visit car production plants, but they came back disappointed because, they said, the Japanese didn’t take them to the car factories, but rather deceived them, taking them to clean, almost empty places where robots built the vehicles.

We could share many other similar examples, including situations in our own lives, where we didn’t see the future even when the future was already present. Someone would say, how can we see the future? This short column is not the place to answer that question.

We will only say that, paraphrasing Hegel and following Zizek, we must reintroduce in the past the openness towards the future to understand what is becoming, what is emerging, that is, to see the process of co-creating our best future to connect with that future and bring it to the present. The future is real for those who open their eyes.

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