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Project Vision 21

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Ignorance and pride prevent us from seeing the signs that the future sends us

Recently I witnessed (from a distance) an accident on a busy street north of the city where I live. It turns out that one lane was closed for construction, with signs, flashing arrows, and orange cones warning of this situation. But a driver ignored all these signs and, after suddenly braking, collided with the cones. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The traffic was stopped for a few minutes and when it was my turn to slowly pass by the scene of the accident, I lowered the window of my car, and I could hear the driver of the accident vehicle say something like "I didn't know what those signs meant." In other words, for him, the signs, arrows, and cones had no meaning whatsoever, much less the meaning of changing lanes on time.

Another day, driving on a highway, a car sped past, ignoring both a construction zone and signs alerting the driver that he was speeding. In this case, the driver clearly knew what the maximum speed limit signs indicated, but simply chose not to obey them. Shortly after, the police stopped him to fine him.

These situations led me to reflect that many times (almost every time), when the future sends us signals, we quickly discard them, either because we do not understand them or because, although we understand them, we do not want to change our current behavior. And then we pay the consequences: we collide with reality, or something makes us pay the consequences of our actions.

But whether or not we pay attention to the signs that the future sends us, whether or not we understand those signs, or simply ignore them, the future constantly continues to send us signs, be it a sign, a luminous arrow, a thought, a phrase, some news, or whatever. Obviously, it does not matter how many signs we receive from the future if our ignorance and arrogance prevent us from seeing or understanding them.

In my experience, signs of the future are always unexpected, instantaneous, and fragmentary. They are flashes that appear and disappear quickly, mere indications of something new that is about to enter our consciousness. They are something like a fleeting glimpse of the reality adjacent to ours, which is already there (the future is always already there), but which we have not yet accessed.

As Heraclitus said two and a half millennia ago: “He who does not expect the unexpected will not find it” (Fragment 18). The “unexpected”, what “we do not find” in the present, what is difficult to discover and reach, the unexplored, that which leaves no traces that we can follow, is, ultimately, the future, which should not be confused with tomorrow or the future.

The future is the expansion of consciousness, and that expansion only occurs when the mind opens to new possibilities and opportunities, when the heart connects with those possibilities, and when the will activates them. For the closed mind (ignorance) and the closed heart (pride) there is no future.

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