Saturday, 6 September 2014

How to Visualize the Future

(From the archives - April 12th, 2002)

Those, who have read my previous papers, will know that I have set myself a program(me). To stop complaining so much about how bad things are, and to start asking two kinds of questions: WHY are things how they are, and HOW TO make them better.

Thus paper is the first in my HOW TO series. There will be more!

Before we lovers of freedom can create constructive change, we must understand our goals. What do we really want – both as individuals, and for those around us?

We are all different. So what each of us wants is different. But we have desires in common. For peace. For prosperity. For individual freedom and human rights for all. For justice. For an environment of honesty. For everyone to have the maximum opportunity to develop themselves to the full, to trade with others, and to enjoy their earned rewards.

A few years ago, I wrote some words about the kind of world I want to live in. Today, I would like to share these words with you.

* * *

Imagine, I thought, if our economy were really flying! Imagine if the jobs pages were always full of exciting, new and lucrative opportunities for you. Imagine knowing that, when you have finished the job you are currently working on, there will always be another good opportunity just round the corner. When, that is, you have had a long and luxurious holiday first.

Imagine if your job was full of interest, excitement and achievement. Imagine if you were greeted by your work-mates with happy, smiling faces. Imagine if your job was well paid, and gave you a real feeling of being able to make a difference. Imagine if you could afford to take several months each year of time out for travel, study, creative art, spending time in the countryside, or whatever else you wish.

Imagine the transport, which would take you anywhere you wish to go. Imagine if that transport was door-to-door, extremely fast, affordable, private, very convenient, luxuriously comfortable, fun to ride in, safe and totally hassle-free. Imagine if you could use your computer or talk by video with your friends as you travel.

Imagine the places you could go in that transport. Imagine yourself visiting the most beautiful countryside world-wide. Imagine yourself visiting imposing cities, elegant towns and fun resorts, all over the world.

Imagine if you could go anywhere in the world, knowing that you will encounter only peace, love and honesty. Imagine if you could live and work anywhere in the world you choose, without formalities.

Imagine if you could choose to share the wealth you earn with just those whom you care about. Imagine if you could spend your income on what you want to spend it on. Imagine the beautiful home, in which you would live. Imagine if you had machines to do all the boring chores for you. Imagine the goods and services, which you would buy. Think of all those people who provide those goods and services, whose jobs you would be helping to support. Imagine knowing that you are helping to make those good people wealthy and happy.

Imagine if you could live in permanent, robust good health. Imagine that, if you do fall ill, you know that doctors whom you can trust will treat you quickly, efficiently and painlessly. Imagine knowing that your old age will be physically and financially comfortable. Imagine that you might be able to live, healthily and happily, significantly longer than the norm of 70 years and some.

If you have children, imagine that you could buy courses for them which are cheap, yet educate them to higher standards than ever before. Imagine the joy of finding that your children are able to do, easily, things which you could not even have dreamed of doing at the same age.

Imagine being able to feel that you can trust the people around you. Imagine knowing that everyone respects your right to privacy. Imagine feeling physically secure, and well protected from the very few criminals in existence. Imagine knowing that you are safe from attack by falsehoods or by fraud. Imagine being able to feel that the law is just, honest and on your side.

Imagine knowing that everyone will treat you at least as well as you treat them. Imagine knowing that you have a positive incentive to behave well towards others, and they to behave well towards you. Imagine knowing that, if you want something good for yourself, all you have to do is an equivalent amount of good for someone else. Isn’t civilization wonderful?

Imagine if you felt fully appreciated by those around you, and by human beings as a whole. Imagine being able to feel the joy of achievement, the happiness of fulfilling yourself, the harmony of knowing that what you are doing is good. Imagine experiencing, every day, the happiness which you have earned and deserve.

Imagine if the news were filled with new discoveries and new possibilities, with things to make all our lives better. Imagine if the headlines were always about positive human progress. Imagine new sources of cheap, abundant energy. Imagine new, more powerful and even cheaper computers for everyone. Imagine that cure for cancer at last. Imagine new strong, light materials, and the things people can make with them. Imagine if life for all human beings were getting better all the time, and imagine if you knew that progress was going to continue into the foreseeable future.

Imagine if you had all the love and companionship which you need. Imagine if the world around you was beautiful, and getting more beautiful all the time. Imagine if you had unlimited opportunities for personal growth. Imagine, imagine, imagine…

Most people have some of these good things in their lives. But no-one has all of them. I am not a betting man, but if I were, I would wager that no-one could honestly say that they have even half of these good things in their lives. Why not? Shouldn’t all of our lives be like that picture, which you have just put together in your imagination? Why should anyone settle for any less?

* * *

As I said earlier, each of us is different. Your vision of what you want for the future may not tally in detail with mine. But that does not matter. What matters, is that you do have a vision. And you can express it to others. You can get it out there into the market-place of ideas, where first dozens, then hundreds, then perhaps millions of individuals may see it and begin to think about it.

Here is a little piece of HOW TO. When something is negative, when you see something badly wrong, turn it into a positive. For example, all of us lovers of freedom want to reduce or eliminate taxation. We can turn this into a positive by asking, if those taxes did not exist, what would we spend our earned wealth on, beyond our own needs and the needs of our dependants? Would we invest in development of energy supplies for the long-term future? In entrepreneurs, and their ideas for products and services to make life better for everyone? In setting up self-financing insurance schemes to help those who are economically poor through no fault of their own? In a “University of the Internet”? Or in all of the above, and more?

What kind of future do our rivals, the lovers of tyranny, have to offer? Endlessly increasing taxation and regulation. Progress and technology grinding to a halt. An economy that regularly falls into stagnation and recession. A climate of hatred, directed against productive people. A "quality of life" that is low, and forever going downwards. Escalating violence everywhere. World-wide war and terrorism. Ever-mounting crime and insecurity. Armies of bureaucrats spying on us, ready to pounce on us and bully us every time we look as though we might break some totally arbitrary “law”. More and more political claptrap and spin. Socialism, environmentalism, Toryism and any other kind of evil “ism” they can think of. Fear, rage, hatred and pain. And they expect us willingly to pay for that stuff?

In contrast, we lovers of freedom look towards the kind of future that every peaceful, honest, productive human being wants deep-down. Freedom. Justice. Honesty. Peace. Prosperity. Progress. Excitement. Achievement. Happiness. Respect for individual rights. Quality of life, in its true sense. In short, an environment fit for civilized human beings.

In common with other lovers of freedom, I know that we still have much work to do on HOW TO achieve the kind of world we need and deserve. But first, we need people to understand that radical, positive change is necessary. We need to get good people around us – and, eventually, very many good people – to buy into our vision, rather than our rivals’. And there is only one way to do that. It is to make their visions part of our vision.

So, I address my final question not just to those who are already lovers of freedom, but to every human being who reads this: What’s your vision of how the future should be?

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