The Future, Shocked?

Since mankind first became aware of the flow of time, he has sought to peer beyond the veil of what is yet to come.  This desire to know the future usually has very mundane motivation behind it.  What are the winning lottery numbers; does the person I want want me and will we be together happily ever after; should I get on this airplane/train/ship?  How nice, how convenient, to know which of my choices will be successful—at least, according to my wishes for my life.

And we have created a variety of ways to divine this future.  We can deal the Tarot cards, cast the runes, gaze into the crystal ball.  We can consult a whole host of sources that are said to tap into the future: visit a psychic, have our astrological chart done, play with a Ouija Board.  Ummm, let’s talk about that Ouija Board for just a minute.  “Play” is precisely what you should not do.  This is a power tool we are talking about.  Yes, it can really work.  It is much more than a game.  All power tools have safety precautions and the Ouija Board is no different.  If you don’t really know what you are doing, you can get hurt.  Leave this one to the experts.

But anyone can shuffle cards, or toss some stones into a pile.  Based on the sheer amount of tarot decks and rune sets that are for sale, apparently almost everyone is doing it.  So why haven’t I won the lottery?  Because the gift of prophecy is not the ability to handle cards like the Las Vegas dealer or arrange the runes in pleasing geometric patterns, but to interpret the symbols thereon.  Very few humans actually have this gift, especially as a truly useful and accurate knowledge of the future.

But is precognition really a gift?  Would you really want to know every single moment of your life before you lived it?  No more surprises, ever.  How utterly and inexorably boring!  And if your life is not to be continually blissful—in other words, there might be some bad stuff—how depressing and perhaps even hopeless.  If you know there’s going to be an unhappy ending, why bother to live it out anyway?

We must also ask if there is really only one future, a single destination for all of us in this journey we call life.  If there is, so much for free will and any concept that we have choices.  But if there are multiple destinations, how could any one see “the future”?  Let me share with you my understanding of divination, fortunetelling, free will and the future.  I am blessed with the gift of divination but I don’t think of it as seeing the future so much as casting illumination on what we already know.

It is important to know that my experiences include many sources that deal with this subject, including the Frank Herbert series Dune and the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?”.  In Herbert’s books, his main character takes a drug that allows him to know the future and his son has to live for 1000 years to remove the shackles this prescience created that in turn tied humanity to that (one specific) future.  The father’s knowledge created the future.  No more choices.  Which brings us to the movie I mentioned.  “What the Bleep Do We Know?” is an amazing exploration of both spiritual and scientific concepts of life, the Universe and reality.  What has resonated for me is the idea that everything is possible and our act of choosing creates our reality.  Until we look and observe a specific course of action, all courses were valid and possible and in existence.  (And even once we choose, those other options continue, on a wavelength we no longer perceive but still as real as anything we call “real”.)

How does seeing the future mesh with chaos theory?  I offer the following analogy—actually a blending of a couple of analogies.

Almost all of mankind exists on ground level.  We are walking on the road, wading through the creek, standing in a meadow.  We can look around us and see for a specific distance.  This is our usual existence, moving from “there” to “here”.  If we look ahead, down that road, we can see the immediate future.  An appointment next Tuesday, I need to buy groceries on Thursday, the weekend is coming.  We are creating our future.  For me, this is where the Tarot (my choice of divination tool) acts like a flashlight in the nighttime walk through the woods.  There is nothing present that is not visible in the light of day, but it’s not always daytime for us.

Some of mankind, a small number, exists on that ground level but can also climb to the top of the tallest tree, stand in the watchtowers, or clamber up to the top of the hill.  They can see where the road goes—but only as far perhaps as the horizon.  They can tell those who are on the ground how to get to the point they can see from that vantage.  They have a searchlight that shows the road ahead further than that little flashlight can.

Let’s put this into a more mundane explanation.  You are in one place and you need to get to another place.  As the one who does the divination, I can give you a map with the route you should take highlighted and you will indeed get there.  But what about all the other side roads and alternate routes you could have used—and alternate destinations that you don’t even know you want to go to?  I can see down that road and it does indeed lead to several different places.  What if I think you should be in Manassas, so I give you a map to from where we are now, say, Baltimore to there–but you really were supposed to be in Fairfax?  Or you would have liked to go to Chantilly?  Now what?

Stay with me, there is a point to this.

There is even a smaller subset of mankind, a particularly exclusive few who are like aerial surveyors.  They are above even those on the hills and can see great distances, to the curve of the earth.  The most immediate problem with this particular viewpoint is that you lose most of the details.  At ground level, you can see the butterfly on the flower.  From the watchtower, you see the field of flowers—but no butterfly.  And from above, you see fields, perhaps the colors but no real sense of what it is.  And any map you can give will get them there, but might not mention how rugged the terrain is—or the “lightningsand” in the middle of the Fire Swamp.  You certainly would not know to warn them about the Rodents of Unusual Size.  (And there’s no point to try photographing at night since all you’ll get is either dark countryside or blurry blobs of light in urban areas, neither of which is particularly helpful for seeing the best route.)

So is it even possible to see the future?  Of course.  But here’s where it gets even more confusing.  Let’s say that seeing the future is like watching TV.  OK.  But there isn’t just one screen.  The future is a wall of TV screens—an infinite number of screens.  Each and every screen is the future, the destination of someone’s path.  Each and every person has an infinite number of futures and the one that they finally come to is based on each and every decision they have ever made.  And I don’t mean just the big decisions although they are absolutely a part of that.  What I do mean is every time you make any choice.  Eating out for dinner instead of cooking at home; getting up with the alarm or slamming that snooze button just one more time; even something as simple as setting a book on the right corner of your desk instead of the left.  In other words, each and every action–any time there was a different possible action.

Remember the road we’re walking?  These choice are forks in that road and each time one appears, we choose left or right.  The one not chosen does not disappear; it continues to be a valid path, leading to other forks and those particular futures. ~~

(Remember, we lock in our own individual, momentary reality with our choices but that does not negate all the other possible choices.  And the only reason we can interact with others is because we choose to agree on common points of reality, thereby locking in that particular path of life for our tribal group.  We also agree to conceive of that which we cannot actually perceive as existing in a commonly held particular way, which in turn locks down that specific reality–in other words, the Earth continues to spin around the sun.  Whew.) 

~~There are also convergences on this path that come in from the left or right and then move ahead with us.  At some point in the past, we could have made a different decision and been on a different path but the choices made after that have led back to this one.

Choices.  What we choose, the decisions we make, these create our future.  We have an idea of where we want to be and we do what it takes to get there.  Please don’t think that this idea is all higher mind function and geared for the best possible outcome.  Oh, there are the conscious choices like our career, our spouse, or just our wanted lifestyle.  But there are also an enormous amount of unconscious or subconscious choices.  Our concepts of self esteem, our learned behaviors, and almost especially our religious training or knowledge have great influence on our perceptions of “what we want to have happen”—the future that we can picture for ourselves.

The life we want to have can also be a very dynamic thing based on our age, our experiences and the context we are in at the moment.  When you were four, you wanted to be a fireman or teacher.  When you were 14, you were gonna be a rock star and be famous.  When you were 24, getting married and having a family were your goals.  When you were 44, the reality of your own death made you face a future of being old.  And when you were 74, your idea of the future was simply waking up the next morning.

Now let’s mesh the idea of being on the road of life with the TV wall of our future(s).  Most of us exist at ground level; we may ask those at the top of the tree to let us know what is ahead.  Maybe we climb that tree and take a look.  But even if you are one of those rare aerial surveyors, we’re all still only human.  There is a limit as to how many of those TV screens we can really look at and know about.  And since the farther we try to see, the fewer the details, it may not do us much good anyway.  Once again, I have to ask: if we get a picture in our heads of what the future looks like it might be, when we get to that point, was it really that or did we create it to be the picture we had?

There is a reason that most divination is symbols and riddles.  It leaves the actual future it is foretelling as vague and very open to multiple meanings.  Like Yoda says, “Always in motion the future is.”  Even Nostradamus wrote down all of his prophecies as poetic riddles, which makes the actual meaning quite variable.  A palm reader might say that you’ll meet a tall dark man—and since that describes an observable portion of the male population, they’re not wrong.  It’s not the cards or the runes or the visions that are the glimpse of our future, it’s the interpretation of those tools that shows what may come to pass if the choices are made to reach that particular TV screen.  And that assumes that the person who is doing that interpretation actually has the gift of oracular translation.  Like the gift of speaking in tongues, you may have all the answers to any question that has troubled mankind—but if no one can understand you, what’s the point?

So yes, we can see our futures even as we actually create them by our choices…or as we try to see and select the desired one out of the many possibilities.  Remember, there are an infinite number of them.  The human mind simply cannot hold the infinite.  But the Divine can.  And this is how God, no matter what name you give the Supreme Creator Being, can be omniscient and know everything, including our futures.  Deity can see each and every one of those infinite TV screens.  You still have free will.  You have the ability to choose and to live with the consequences of your choices.  But whether you go this way or that, left or right, yes or no—every possible outcome is known to the Divine.

Even the winning lottery numbers.

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