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Project Vision 21

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The future calls us: understanding the signs on our path

Recently, a tragic accident happened on a highway in my town. An elderly man in his nineties entered the highway in the wrong direction and collided head-on with another vehicle. Tragically, both drivers lost their lives. This sad event may have an important message for us.

Local journalists spoke with several drivers who narrowly missed the wrong-way vehicle. They all said they didn't understand the warnings from other drivers and the police, so they ignored them. One driver told the media he thought he was being warned about a speed trap and dismissed it as a mistake or joke. Another thought he was being waved at and waved back. A third didn't understand the meaning of rapidly flashing headlights.

If we're honest with ourselves, a rare thing in today's world, we must admit that we often miss signs of things coming our way, not all of them bad. The term "presage" (omen) used to be common for a sign that predicts an event. Presage literally means "sniffing the future." Signs of what's coming are often felt, not seen, or understood.

We're not taught to read signs of the future and often disregard lessons from the past, leaving us stuck in the present. We tend to ignore these signs until it's too late and we're confronted with a new reality.

So, what messages is the future sending us now? How many are we overlooking because we think we know better, or dismiss them as bad jokes or nonsense?

Think about climate change, the Earth's overpopulation, ecological destruction, endless wars, and the militarization of space. And consider the potential of artificial general intelligence by 2030, which could be beyond human control and understanding.

What more signs do we need? None, clearly. But by not being open to new possibilities, by denying the future's existence or its knowability, we keep missing the warnings. We think life will always be smooth... until we're suddenly faced with a new, unavoidable reality.


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