I have a weird philosophy on the future: Don't wait for the inevitable if it's something you want.

Every time I hear someone say, "someday we'll be able to..." or "in a few years, it won't be unusual to..." I consider what they're suggesting will be commonplace. If it's something I also believe is is inevitable and worthwhile, I try to start doing it now rather than later.

What's the point of waiting, really?

I'm reminded of this all the time. The recent undoing of California's acceptance of gay marriage was one popular example. The general consensus among reporters and much (but certainly not all) of the population is that it's just a matter of time. Gay marriage will be legalized.

Well, shit. If enough of us can agree that something is going to happen and that it's a Good Thing, what are we waiting for?

This seems to happen all the time and I'm not sure why.

Update: There's a good response (The Future) over on Obfuscated Networking which talks about the "Wired Syndrome" a bit, gay marriage, and finally concludes with: "See the future? Do what you can to implement it."

Amen to that!

And, hey, there's even a joke about a mathematician, physicist, and fire. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at August 28, 2004 07:35 PM

Reader Comments
# Al said:

Gay marriage is a Bad Thing. Very Bad. And much of the population agrees.

(BTW, is Jeremy gay? He never mentions wife/girlfriend.)

on August 28, 2004 08:03 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Fine. Substitute "legalized drugs", "flat tax" or whatever your pet issue happens to be.

If it wasn't obvious that gay marriage was an example used to illustrate a completely different point, then you need help.

on August 28, 2004 08:15 PM
# Simon Willison said:

Time warp back to 1900: inter-racial marriage is a Bad Thing. Very Bad. And much of the population agrees.

(Jeremy: Sorry for feeding the troll).

on August 28, 2004 08:54 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Not at all, Simon.

I was tempted to use examples like allowing women to vote or abolishing slavery.

on August 28, 2004 08:55 PM
# Al said:

Time warp to 2100 (hopefully it's that far away) - "open-minded" liberals will want to legalize bestiality, marriage to pets, polygamy, incest, etc. etc. etc.

California's finally getting some sense now that Schwarzennegger is governor. No gay marriage, driver licenses for illegal aliens, ...

on August 28, 2004 09:11 PM
# Al said:

Read as "NO driver licenses for illegal aliens."

on August 28, 2004 09:12 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I'm now deleting gay bashing comments from this entry.

So don't bother leaving any. They won't last.

I'm amazed at how people can so completely miss the point sometimes.

on August 28, 2004 11:41 PM
# Hanan Cohen said:

There is a huge difference between "I want it" and "inevitable".

Here's an example from right here, in Israel.

Lots of people here would wish the Palestinians to just vanish in thin air and get rid of the problem.

Most of them know that it cannot happen so a Palestinian state in inevitable but everybody are dragging their feet because they don't like the consequences of this.

I think it's the same in the US with Gay Marriage.

on August 29, 2004 03:07 AM
# JJ said:

It's not as easy. If you think that in the future, bayesian filters will be used for classifying everything that comes to your inbox, not only spam, you can have a go at implementing it. But if you think that, in the future, alternatives energies will be used more than fossil fuels, there's not much you can really do, other than using them yourself to the extent that your economy/local politics allow.

on August 29, 2004 03:12 AM
# Charles said:

I think it was Wm. Gibson who said, "the future's already here, it's just not evenly distributed."

on August 29, 2004 08:00 AM
# ac said:

Gay marriage is a Good Thing. Very Good. And much of the population agrees. And since Al is probably interested in knowing -- no, I am not gay.

Al's argument, if you can call it that, is a prime example of why things are the way they are. It is the blind assumption that changing one thing will start chain reaction. To make matters worse the thought is tagged as being "open-minded" -- as if that is a bad thing. That open-mindedness built this country. There were many people that would have preferred something other than democracy for this country, thank goodness the "closed-minded" didn't get their way.

It was Aristotle that said: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

Much like Jeremy suggests that people that believe and support an idea can/should be implemented, if you don't agree then you should also take action to support your position. But please, do so with an informed opinion and based on fact, not extreme fears of what could happen. Anything can happen if we the people want it to and are willing to work for it.

on August 29, 2004 10:00 AM
# Al said:

ac- you really need to get out more. The vast majority of the country doesn't share the perverted views of the San Fran area. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Sodomy is a sin. I'm open-minded (spare me your attempt at philosophizing) - up to a point. Lefties want to legalize drugs (and likely do them). I think doing drugs is really stupid and wrong. Being open-minded doesn't mean "accepting every lowest common denominator form of deviant behavior."

on August 29, 2004 12:51 PM
# kasia said:

You found us out.. we lefties essentially just do drugs and sodomize one another, in spare time we like to sneer at the police and throw stones at churches.

on August 29, 2004 01:24 PM
# Al said:

Don't forget take from others, protest, commit civil disobedience, riot and vandalize.

Lefty Protestor Arrested for Vandalism in NYC

on August 29, 2004 01:48 PM
# Timboy said:

Waiting for the future makes sense it in the following situation: the majority rules, a minority agrees with you, and most of the votes on the other side are from old people. There's nothing you can do about it now, but at the same time you can be pretty sure of winning eventually.

As someone (Summers?) said recently, "Demographic predictions about people who have already been born are notoriously accurate".

on August 29, 2004 03:00 PM
# Al said:

People over 30 are old? Most "young" people don't stay liberals forever - they get mugged by reality (job, bills, turn 30, get married, etc.). Well, they can suspend reality by staying in school or working for Academe or the government.

on August 29, 2004 04:15 PM
# Derek Scruggs said:

I'm over 30, grew up in the South surrounded by Southern Baptists - I was even "saved" once - and am now a (small "l") libertarian. I support gay marriage - along with about ~40% of the general population. BTW so does my mom, who is very conservative and is so active in Republican politics she has pictures and of her with Ronald Reagan, George Dubya, Newt Gingrich and many other A-list conservatives. She's gotten Xmas cards from every Republican White House since 1980. She also has lived in a rural community in the South for more than 35 years.

I don't live in SF or even California. I haven't been mugged by reality, though I lived for seven years in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago - a very poor, mostly Mexican, gang-infested area on the near South Side. (As a matter of fact, it's right here.)

I don't work in "Academe" or for the government. Never have, probably never will. I have started a few companies, created jobs, and generated a couple of free-market capitalism jackpots for investors and employees - at least one of whom is gay.

BTW, William F. Buckly is one of many prominent conservatives who supports drug legalization.

Stereotypes suck.

on August 29, 2004 08:00 PM
# Seth Finkelstein said:

Implementing the future is often not easy.

Quite a few people got killed implementing racial integration in the US. Even if it didn't get you killed, in many places it was likely to get you ostracized to some extent.

My own experiences at implementing net free-speech have been quite costly on a personal level, and,
if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't.

In sum: "Talk Is Cheap. Action Is Expensive"

on August 29, 2004 09:41 PM
# Timboy said:

No, I didn't mean that people over 30 are old. (I myself am, um, well over 30.) I just meant that when your opponents on some issue are, on average, older, then you might win just by waiting until most of them have died.

I wasn't thinking of gay marriage specifically (gee, it's hard to get people in this thread off that topic), but while we're talking about it: yes, I bet that being against gay marriage is correlated with age. Not totally predictive, but correlated.

on August 29, 2004 10:30 PM
# James said:

Hi Al,

Maybe it would be a good idea if people, like yourself, thought a little more about their opinions. You have every right in the world to air your opinion, but saying it in a more substantial way would be good rather than just saying gay marriage is bad. It seems a little racist maybe? i dont know. I agree with Timboy in that most of the voting power is with Baby Boomers. I mean, there are a billion of them, how old, over 50? They have, of course, different, more "victorian", views and opinions of how the world should be. And in-turn, so will the next generation with the generation after that, and so-on. So it is easily visible that most of the population today would seem to have your point of view Al. But if you talk to younger people, the people that will be running the world in the near future when the Baby Boomers retire, i can quite easily guess what they would say. I'm sure gay marriage will eventually be legalized as people should not be denied rights who are BORN that way. The same as a person who is born without a leg should be given the right to still participate in the world and not be hindered by stairs, confined to a certain area, or exterminated at birth because they are not "right". And it may be a bit closed minded that people think it will snow-ball into other areas like legalized beastiality and so forth. You may learn from history that it used to be ok to have sex with children, marry your sister/brother, have more than one wife, and destroyed towns for glory. Has not human beings outlawed these things? Humans have a good track record at learning from the past and i dont see them re-initializing these areas of our history. Who knows though, maybe they will? But remember, these things did happen in our past, but do you think society turned out ok? And what right would a person, like yourself, have in denying their rights as a free citizen of the world. Isnt your country trying to bring freedom to the world? Yet your opinion is contradictory to this.
I hope you dont drink coffee or alcohol, or smoke, or take medication, as they are all drugs. Just saying drugs are bad is a little closed minded maybe? Dont forget that some of these "bad" drugs you obviously are talking about share their ingredients with prescriptions drugs. Its just that the government has outlawed certain ones for public use, as i suspect because they cant find a suitable way to tax it. But instead of talking about drugs that kill a very small percentage of people, maybe you should realize that bad eating causes approx. 70% of all deaths in the world. Maybe you could encourage the youth of today to eat better foods, rather than preaching one liners? I would be interested in hearing your rebuttal.

My name is James, I'm 25, I'm from Australia (Yes, believe it or not Al, there are other countries in the world), and I'm proud to live in a world where people can air their opinions, but most importantly, i'm looking forward to the world where people are not judged by who they are.

on October 12, 2004 12:33 AM
# Unnamed said:

O.k. Here we go. Gay rights... Well I must admit back a couple years ago I thought it was not a big deal I just thought it was different. One thing about the gay population is, whoops hate to break it to you but, cannot be born gay. Now I realize some of you have already catagorized me into a certain group, most likely the gay basher or conservative group. Please listen more. While I was younger I admit I 'experimented' with my guy friends. I thought I knew what I was doing but I knew something was wrong. The fellings that I had towards other males I think started from my childhood when my father molested. I can also vaugly remember instances of being nude. Before that time I was interested in girls. Guys were just like brothers to me but after acouple years after being with my father I tended to wonder what it would be like to be with friends naked. This automatically doesn't make me gay but before these felling never would have arose. After many years I still can remember what i've done to others that were my own age and boy do I regret it. Some people out there may be thinking 'He should just become gay and be happyier' but if you are thinking this you couldn't be more off from what i'm saying. Please don't make the same mistakes I did and over time try to convince yourself that being with another man or another woman is right because once you reach that point your just lying to yourself and that I find to be a really sad thing. If you are gay, and still reading this, I hope that you will try to think back on your first gay felling and try to see what led up to it. So I think on gay marriege it shouldn't be allowed, not nessesarily for others but for yourself.

on October 14, 2004 10:43 PM
# Serge said:

I wonder if you know who made this statement (the future is now). You seem to be a serious man, interested in philosophy, mathematics and others, helping to understand and (for me they are the same) to solve problems of life, common for all the mankind.
"This seems to happen all the time and I'm not sure why". You are absolutely right. To stop this "happen all the time" in one's own life, one should understand it's "why???".
"The future is now" statement made by Jiddu Krishnamurti. Probably, it could be very helpful for your understanding to read something from a quantity of he's dialogs and public talks. You can find most of them in p2p networks, such as E-Donkey, by searching for "Jiddu Krishnamurti".

on July 12, 2005 05:39 AM
# Crnmoski said:

You are completely correct, but there is nothing weird about it. It is obvious that things that the smartest of us know that are good should be done now rather than later. We have a problem called democracy that is supposed to defend them from us, but it fails miserably, so we could do it if we tried hard enough. I must, however, suggest a slight problem with your argument.

I am watching a program on Discovery about a car that was buried in Oklahoma 52 years ago (it was summer, so clearly the show would now be in the middle of its sophomore year ;-)

When they retrieved it, it was a piece of shit. But when they had pimped it with 21st century technology, then the Plymouth Whatever was a marvel that would have amazed the fucking shit out of the audience to the burial if it had the next day been retrieved due to some idiot thinking 'Oh shit. What if it gets wet'. And if the car had been sent back in time as it is now (because we thought 'fuck it. let's do it now instead of later. Nobody is going to see the fucker until then anyway) then now we would just say 'What the fuck? Cool! Which fucker did that?'.

But our 1950s people would have recognised its basic shape, and with curious familiarity with this UMO, would have eventually stepped into it, and with great trepidation turned the fucking key.

The sound that it made would be like listening to Doris Day's 'Makin' Whoopie' Lady Gaga style. Well it grieves me to ackowledge that if time ran backwards then I would be in my sophomore year when the car was buried. So now you know how old I am. ;-) :-(

When the timespaceman put his foot on the pedal to the right, then he would be accelerating faster than a Formula One car could then. To him, it would be like (to us) pressing the go faster peddle on the kind of electrical car that is available to be bought by the rich amongst us right now. Expensive batteries my ass. Economies of scale would fix that in no time.

Well what was my argument again? Well it was that the future of that Plymouth could not have been achieved then, and that only the passing of time could have made that car the awesome road burning missile it presumably still is now, even if it is currently static on a podium.

If you don't consider this argument flawed, then I would be dissapointed, but I don't think that you won't. I know the flaw in my pretend argument just as well as you, and I am just playing.

The problem is the unthinking masses, but just look at how new ideas have fucked up history. Marx is now spinning in his grave far faster than he was when Stalin was killing one or two people. The law of unintended consequences.

That's why things have to be slow. The people must have their conciousness raised. If there is a God (and no, I'm not a religious nut), then if He were Samuel L Jackson in some Religion Channel version of Pulp Fiction, then he would be saying:

'Yo, you idiot motherfuckin bitches. When I sent you the fuckin nail on the cross guy, I didn't want you to get some fucking deathkick outta the bitch, I was kinda hopin that you might kinda get into his fuckin vibe and grow the fuck up'.

Well reversing quickly from my virtual reality trip, we can see that people are a bit slow. Most of the fuckers think that 911 was an outside job. Like there is an outside this side of the moon, pur-lease! ;-)

My point is this. Even the best ideas can only be acccepted by the masses when enough Newtonion force has been applied to their bloated bodies. And sometimes this is not a bad thing, because Hitler killed good people of all races and sexual orientation when he fast-tracked.

But now is not such a time. When I watched the Plymouth Something being brought to the surface, it aroused in me a big shock. Not just because I will be fifty years old next year (by the way, I love Lady Gaga, and have a gorgeous girlfriend younger than my son who would love to be my wife (the girl, not the boy ;-) )), but because we had a vision of the future then and the future is Right Fucking Now.

I found your blog by Googling 'the future is now'. The future is now because we are falling behind. Like a stupid student in his sophomore year that is picking his nose and like George W Bush is only here because of family connections: we are acting as if we are in kindergarten.

That is because smart bastards like us are winding them up and letting them go in launched trajectories that are completely predictable.

We now have no vision. Not since September 11 2001, when the peace dividend was so deliberately and cynically squandered and channelled into the purchase of things that can and do kill people in massive numbers. What is NASA doing? They are no longer taking us into the future, but are conspiring in taking us back into the stone age. The human experiment is failing, and we are moving backwards.

A mistake of such cataclysmic proportions (it is the same as negative economic growth, only raised to an exponential power) cannot help but have terrible proportions.

I am not God, but if I was, then if I was also Samuel L Jackson, then I would be pointing my big fat .45 in our face, and would be yelling:

'You had better move your asses right now. I'm sick of your chickenshit bullshit. The fuckin devil has his cock up your fuckin pussy ass right now, and you are too fuckin blind and too fuckin stupid to see it, but the fuckin bitch is about to cum any second now. When he does, and when you drop, then you will have dropped some bastard that will make Damien look like Liberace. Now git, before I pop your ass. I tricked the motherfucking bastards into giving you cocksuckers the fucking internet. What more do you fuckin bitches want? Use the motherfucker. Jesus!'.

And we had betta, cuz the bitch int goin 2b a O long.

All we can do is to try to raise their level of conciousness, but let me tell you, we don't have long. A seismic shift in human conciousness is required to move us to the next level.

And if God exists (which he does, sorry), then he is a very clever bastard. Smarter than you or I or any of those evil bastards. And he can be quite ruthless when he has to be.

Hang on to your hat, because it's going to be a bumpy ride. I personally have given up hats, and am half-heartedly thinking that I might need to use family connections to acquire an AK 47. It is the perfect weapon. It is reliable, and ammunition is plentiful. Even the new US assault rifle can fire AK bullets. Why? ;-)

The AK 47 might be the 20th century's most valued relic. I hope not. :-(

Good luck, my friend. You'll need it. me too :-(

on December 20, 2008 12:33 PM
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