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During a recent conversation with a group of community leaders about demographic, social, and techno-scientific changes, I mentioned some recent statistics from well-known sources about how fast those changes are happening. Then, a participant told me, âI didnâtâ know those changes were happening so fastâ.
I was tempted to ask her where she has been all these years. After all, in my opinion, changes are so deep, constant, and evident there is no way to miss them. However, I immediately understood this participant has been in the same place I have been and am, and where most of us also are: trapped inside our own ideas.
We donât see the transformation around us not because there is no transformation happening, but because those changes are so profound and irreversible that, because of the challenges the changes represent, we prefer, consciously or not, not to see the changes. We want to protect ourselves and protect our ideas and beliefs.
For example, most of our âfriendsâ in our social networks are those who agree with our ideas and beliefs, so the only thing we constantly hear is a reaffirmation and confirmation of what we already know.
Obviously, we also have one or two persons among our âfriendsâ who are in total disagreement with us. Yet, they are there not because we want to know what they think, but because we already know they are so wrong that everything they say will confirm how right we are in our ideas and beliefs.
Thatâs how we live, addicted to our own beliefs, an addition, according to Richard Rohr, deeper and stronger than any other addition because we donât even recognize it as an addition. And then, we filter everything through those ideas (which, by the way, they are not truly ours). And then we tell ourselves we already know and understand everything.
The same person who said she didnât know about the exponential speed of change also said, after a few minutes of conversation, that now she was able to understand the issue because âI saw it in a movieâ. Obviously, thatâs as nonsensical as saying you know about astronomy because you watched Star Wars (but you can learn about mythology). Or it is like saying you know about T-Rex because you saw it in Jurassic Park.
However, whether we are able to perceive the fast changes or not now happening to humankind, those changes are happening and they donât wait for us and they donât ask for our opinion or authorization. And the new technologies are adopted faster than ever before (think, for example, about smartphones).
That means that before we know it the distant future is now the emerging future, which then turns into the imminent future which becomes part of our life without noticing it. What once was just imagination or science fiction, now it is becoming real.
If we insist -consciously or not- in closing our eyes to our changing reality, we will only see ourselves excluded from the future.Â