Making the future happen

I gave a talk last night in which I showed a vision for the future. Everything I literally demonstrated on my computer is clearly possible today — after all, people were seeing me do the demo right there in front of them.

Yet I was telling a tale of things that are not yet possible, yet will be in the future. This relationship between what was real and what was merely suggested created a dramatic tension, and that tension was the heart of the story.

I think we feel a similar tension whenever we experience a play or a movie, attend an opera or read a novel. We are being introduced to a world that clearly does not exist, in any literal sense.

Yet it could exist, at least in our collective imaginations. The task of the players is not to fool their audience, but rather to invite that audience to willingly enter a shared land of make-believe.

There is an extra dimension to this invitation when the “land of make-believe” is presented as though it is real. We feel this dimension when we watch a movie filmed in a style of Cinéma vérité, or a performance by a stage conjurer. Logic tells us that the thing we are watching is clearly not happening, yet our senses tell us otherwise.

I think my talks about the future fit into this latter category. I want people to experience an exciting and positive future as though it is already here.

My goals in doing so are quite specific: I’m not trying to fool my audience. Rather, I am inviting them to join me in making the future happen.

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