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How to think about the future (Conclusion)

Trying to predict the future is a good way to put your foot in your mouth. It's hard enough to just think about the future, let alone predict it. Even in this series of posts, all I have done is provide some rules of thumb: the future is impossible to predict. The future will be like the past. The future will have both good and bad in it, in ever increasing measure.

Some of these rules are vague, and may even seem contradictory. How could the future be unpredictable yet still be like the past? But the possibilities concerning the future are rich enough that such superficial paradoxes can be easily resolved. And when we harmonize these rules, a coherent pattern does seem to emerge: the future cannot be predicted in detail, and ever larger events are considered "details" as we consider times further into the future. However, there are real patterns that repeat themselves in time. The details get averaged out if you consider them in aggregate. So in these ways, at a sufficiently broad level, the future can be predicted from the past. As far as humans are concerned, this means that our history will grow in both glory and tragedy in ever larger degree. We will continue to grow, yet the inevitable, unpredictable, fluctuating "details" will cause disasters in correspondingly larger degrees.

So what should we do? What can we predict or plan for? I really don't know. I don't know how right I am in my thoughts about the future. So, in the end, as it often happens, all I can say is what has already been said in the Bible:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

I am indeed only a mist - a "detail" that's here by accident and whose affect will be averaged out by other similarly fluctuating detail. That is why I can only say, "If it is the Lord's will, I will live and do this or that." But in that Divine will, I believe that I am a positive part of the pattern that's woven throughout time, a pattern that continues into eternity.

You may next want to read:
How to think about the future (Consolidation post for this series)
Sherlock Bayes, logical detective: a murder mystery game
The biblical timeline of the universe
Another post, from the table of contents

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