Can we change the future? 

Whether or not we have a correct perception of what the future holds, there are chances that you can change your future. So, yes, we can change the future.  

It will make sense to admit from here that this point is not to dispute the conclusion of people who may have believed otherwise, as there are conditions under which “No” will also do to answer this question correctly. We shall soon see how. 

We will, herein, be considering all that needed be taken into consideration to answer this question as either Yes or No. 

In any case, we are focusing more on the YES since it has proven to weigh more on every scale examined so far. What do we mean? 

To begin with, my role model, Wole Soyinka, thinks that by planning today, we can have a better tomorrow, which is a reasonable thing to agree with. As much as the past has had a great impact on our now. 

Whether or not the future already exists (a matter of some debate for another time though), we have seen how some people so predeterminedly change what others seem to have think realistic of their future. But this also is not always true, remember the story of King Oedipus of Thebes. Such is life. Cosmic irony happens.

That which we do not and probably cannot see coming can hit us, and that is when many go on to say that, “Life happened to them”. A more optimistic way to put this came from Carrey who thought that life rather happens for and not to. 

That is right and can be very actuating to continue to perspire and trust oneself, but what’s the truth of the matter? That life happens for us is not always realistic. It is merely a way to feel in control. Life happened to Demosthenes, it happened to Socrates, it happened to Barack Obama, it happened to Carrey himself. 

For what has happened to us to happen for us, we must assume that we are in control and focus on the positive value of what has happened. To Socrates, Xanthippe (who should have been a threat to his life) is the appropriate platform to practice philosophy. 

Demosthenes’ inability to express himself at first, was the trigger that pulled him to become one of the greatest orators to ever live. 

To the point of Carrey himself, it should be recollected that a 2019 headline had it that, “Jim Carrey seems to be in a bit of a rut and fans are worried for his emotional well-being.”

If nature doesn’t stop you (because of course you can’t change or say— affect everything), there are chances of your efforts determining the tomorrow you will live.

What link does this have with whether we can change the future? How it has been happening is what must first be examined before getting a clear-cut view of whether it may happen. 

From the stories of the people we have studied so far in this piece, something in common: They didn’t really see their future, but they made the maximum use of the moments they lived to shape some other time they would come to in life. They understood at least that they could influence changes in their lives. 

I wrote some time ago that the future never comes, by the way. It depends on what theory of time you’ve agreed to believe, though. Some theorists have argued that the life we live revolve around the same point different from the concept of now, later, and before. McTaggart must have been one of them. 

Can we change the future?
Photo by Jordan Benton

What I have written so far must have given you an insightful thought on whether we can change the future, but if you don’t mind learning more, you can continue to some paradigmatic views I’ll illustrate below.  

We can change the future because we are relatively in control of our lives. How much impact we can have on changing what happens to our life has been both implicitly and explicitly discussed in some widely read books like Marcus Aurelius’ The Meditations, Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is The Way, and Elie Wiesel’s Night

Ryan Holiday’s text, as a case study, illustrates the fact that as humans we must sometimes have to succumb to unchangeable situations while at the same time focusing on what we can change. 

In the said book, we saw how different warmen approach the war front, how incredible sportsmen attained unforeseen heights despite being scuppered, etc. It is a book based on Stoicism in a very simplified way. It taught us to turn weaknesses to strengths while respecting the place of nature. 

I’m recommending this because it can help you influence what your future will hold. I, for one, wasn’t coming from where I have gotten to. My past was very much unlike my today. I’ve worked this transformation out by trying hard for several years. And I’m here today working on my tomorrow also. 

This belief will consequently lead us to learn from the Stoicism view of changing ourselves when external matters appear unchangeable. Do you remember the quotes: “Start with yourself” and “Be the change you want to see in the world”?! 

Every lasting transformation must have a source from the inner matter. Change your mind first!

In addition to all that has been considered, we should also know why the answer to whether we can change the world may be NO. Some people who believe such concepts as predestination may find it more reasonable to say that the future cannot be changed. It hinges on our varying vantage points. Your opinion counts. 

[Disclaimer: This piece is an elaborate version of what I answered on Quora as ‘Can we change the future if it already exists?’ Go to the original answer if you wish.] 

Final Thought

So, conclusively, I feel like I’ve got to brief you on how we can change the future. If all goes well, studying our past, diagnosing, rectifying, and consolidating our actions and inactions, and applying those modifications to the moment is a significant approach you can take to change the future. 

Alan Yu in How Can We Change The World? wrote, “Powers intervened: ‘The future is not predetermined, you don’t get to tell me what my future is.’” Later, she’d became a famous futurist in the fashion industry. She took her time to understand how things work (checking history—the past) to feed us with beautiful figments of her imagination. 

Upon realisation of the facts spelled out in this article, we can safely arrive at the conclusion that we could change the future as long as our plans do not get hindered by natural forces. The future is not in our hands, but that is not to say that we cannot influence it. 

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