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This fictitious future

Posted by Simon Parke, 22 August 2018, 5.15pm

It is helpful (and liberating) to remember that the future doesn’t exist.

People sometimes act as if it does.

The most fictional piece I’ve ever written was not a book, but a five-year plan for the organisation I was looking after at the time.

It was demanded of us by a funding charity. But I have never been less able to write truthfully.

Some imagine God has a ten-year plan for them.

Perhaps they have a ten-year plan for themselves.

Well, we can imagine it, as we might imagine a ride on a unicorn. But we probably shouldn’t rely on it, or give it any authority.

In his best song Feel, Robbie (not Rowan) Williams sings that God laughs at our plans, though, to be honest, I imagine God weeps more than laughs, because the future doesn’t exist.

Order and chance work together in the universe, making all our plans as provisional as a lottery number.

And what is left, as God’s tears dry, is the present, which we may think is shit, or slightly unsatisfactory or unresolved…but is all we have.

(And some say that it’s perfect, just as it is.)

And so I start to think about my relationship to the present – as opposed to the future, which I often prefer to relate to.

Do I brace myself, harden myself and resist these present things?

Or do I soften, open myself and yield in some manner?

I don’t know where you are or how you are as you read this. But in this present moment, you sit on a gold mine.

My rush from the present, my complaints about the present, my eagerness to improve the present, my refusal to accept the present – these responses are an illness; and it’s an illness that takes me to unicorn land…that is, a place that is entirely imaginary.

This is why it’s helpful, and ultimately liberating, to remember that the future doesn’t exist.

It returns me to the truth that the divine moment is now.

It is the present that begs a relationship with me.

The future, like my next novel, is without a title, without characters, without a theme… and quite unwritten.

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