We live in a world with no shortage of serious issues—wealth inequality, climate change, the rising tide of authoritarianism, war, nuclear weapons proliferation, mass extinctions, water shortages, soil depletion, pandemics, and more.
It’s enough to drive fear through your heart and make you feel hopeless and helpless.
Yet, believe it or not, there is a light that shines through the cracks. As Leonard Cohen sang in his song Anthem, there is a crack in everything, and that’s where the light gets in.
And if you want it, this light can steer us into a bright and illustrious future.
In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released a song that was destined to become a Christmas holiday standard, Happy Xmas (War is Over), featuring the Harlem Children’s Community Choir. In the song the children’s choir sings, “War is over, if you want it,” while in the general chorus of the song, Lennon and Ono sing,
“A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear.”
These are the keys to this bright future: it’s ours, if you want it, and if you are willing to move forward without any fear.
Sure, you say, that’s easier said than done, especially when you hear the news, most of which is dreadful.
That’s not to say you should pretend the news isn’t bad. Nor should you live in avoidance and denial of what’s going on and keep your head in the sand.
There’s so much going on that’s concerning. Make no mistake about it.
But here’s the thing: the future is calling, all while we live amidst a revolt against the future.
And the good news is this: the future will prevail.
Every time there is a major shift in worldviews, there is a revolt against the future—this time is no different.
Let’s take a few examples of this from history:
During the Renaissance era, when scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Giordano Bruno spoke out about the fact that the sun and not the earth was the center of the universe, the Catholic Church revolted against the future by putting these scientists either under house arrest, in jail, or burned them at the stake.
In US history, there are many examples of revolts against the future:
1. When the time had come for slavery in the US to end, there was a revolt by slaveowners against the future.
2. When the excesses of the Gilded Age became apparent, there was a revolt against the future by the robber barons and wealthy elite.
3. When women were agitating for the right to vote, there was a revolt against the future by those who didn’t want women voting.
4. When Franklin Roosevelt ushered in the New Deal and brought in a future that was more fair to the working class, there was a revolt against the future by the banks, media barons, and wealthy elite.
5. When after World War II, a new post-war order came into being that attempted to continue the New Deal policies, there was a revolt against the future brought on by Joseph McCarthy, who believed this desire to continue the New Deal policies was a communist conspiracy.
And now, with the future beckoning us into a more progressive era, the revolt against the future is one that has brought the forces of hate screaming out at the top of their lungs.
Sometimes the revolt against the future will have its moment: the election in 2016 of Donald Trump was one such moment. But those moments never last long, especially when you look at it through the prism of the long view.
The long view gibes with what Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
By 2020, the majority of voters said enough is enough and voted out Trump.
In 2022, the electorate continued in that vein, when despite all the predictions of a Red Wave, there was none to be found—the revolt against the future lost.
People are hungry for a future that gives them hope and a glimpse into a world in which all can thrive. They are tired of the hate and divisiveness that gets spewed out by certain segments.
Most of what this segment shouts out is devoid of compassion and utilizes hysteria, hyperbole, and outright fictions.
Some of this segment claim to be Christians, yet their words and actions are far from the Christian spirit.
The reality is that the people spewing out the hate are not large in number. What they have going for them is that they know how to grab the spotlight, which magnifies their numbers.
The majority of people want to live in a society that is just, compassionate, sustainable, regenerative, redistributive, and works for all. They don’t want to live in a society and world in which a small handful of people have most of the money and resources.
Another demographic that is revolting against the future are the heads of industry, which include the leaders of the financial world. They are the ones who want to keep their wealth, and do so in often malevolent ways.
Their wealth is achieved through extraction—extracting money from the pockets of the great majority of people, and extracting fossil fuels from the earth—and they are not interested or inclined to cease their behavior.
They are malignant narcissists and psychopaths who think they can continue what they’re doing, regardless of the costs. And to get their way, they subsidize politicians who make sure the laws favor this plutocratic ruling class.
But the tide is turning against them. There is a growing movement against this, against the money changers and forces of reaction. It’s a movement against those who revolt against the future—and as I said, the future will prevail.
The subtitle of Kurt Vonnegut’s book Slaughterhouse Five was The Children’s Crusade. And that’s what’s we’re seeing as part of this movement: a children’s crusade.
Late Millenials, Generation Z, Generation Alpha, and the upcoming Generation Beta will stand firmly against those who revolt against the future—they are the Children’s Crusade.
They are unwilling to put up with the hypocrisy of those who are revolting against the future. Call it the idealism of youth, but this time the youth are wiser, shrewder, better organized, and more engaged.
Maybe it’s because of the active shooter drills they do in school; maybe it’s because of the havoc that climate change is causing and how it will affect them over the upcoming decades; maybe it’s because of the havoc that the neoliberal age has wreaked unto their chances of living a financially secure life; maybe it’s because of the level of stress and anxiety they have about life; maybe it’s because of the vile they see spewed by the extreme right; maybe it’s because they want to live in a world guided by love and compassion and a sense of fairness for all.
Whether it’s one of these, some of these, or all of them, they know what they want and also what they don’t want.
And as the statistics are showing, 70 percent of them vote liberal to progressive, and over the next few years, more and more of these young folks will come of age and vote.
They will also run for political office, be activists, run their own businesses, work as corporate executives, professionals, and working class, be creatives, and generally act as role models for a future that’s predicated on fairness.
This is the future that the great majority want, and that those who are revolting against the future are afraid of.
The science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2020 novel, The Ministry for the Future, told of a ministry set up by the U.N., headquartered out of Zurich, Switzerland, that was called the Ministry for the Future.
It’s task was to help steward a more sustainable and regenerative future, and help stop climate change. By the end of the book, their mission was accomplished.
This was not science fiction though; it was an exploration of how we can change the world.
Indeed we can, but only if you want it.
If we give in to the fear of the revolters against the future, they will succeed. They are loud and toxic, but they too are also fearful.
They are fearful of a future of which they have no control.
But truthfully, none of us ever have any control of the future. Change happens all the time, and all we can do is try to be as fluid as possible as things change.
That is the issue for the revolters against the future. Change is scaring the bejeezus out of them. They are worried they will no longer matter.
This is why you can’t fight fire with fire—you can’t sling the same hate at the haters, because it only riles them up more.
The greatest movements for change have always been nonviolent movements, as that is the only way to change hearts and minds. No one responds well to being shouted at. I know I don’t.
Attempt to understand those who revolt against the future. You don’t have to accept what they do and you can stand against them. But know they are people too, with aspirations and dreams and visions, some of which may be similar to yours.
It’s just that their priorities are out of whack and they need to be put in their place, albeit peacefully.
Another thing about the future is what the lessons of quantum physics teach. The famed quantum physicist John Archibald Wheeler showed through his delayed choice experiment that the future can affect the present (he also showed that the present can affect the past).
What Wheeler’s experiment demonstrated is that if we hold the intention of a future world we aspire to live in, it can affect the present.
Granted, you won’t get to this future through magical thinking—you can’t just create a better future solely by your thoughts. If it was that easy, it would have been done a long time ago.
But if you want a more positive future, see it—know what you want. Then be part of the growing majority that will make it happen, through your thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
And that’s how we make the future ours. It’s happening—if you want it.