What if we knew the future?

Hello everyone!

Let’s talk about the future today.

Some years ago, I was the kind of person who had a very strict idea about how my future should look like and I got it all somehow. But then, at some point, suddenly, it started not working the way it used to. I was still envisioning my future in a similar way to the previous times but something was not working. Then, it hit me. I was being taught to let go of the future. I needed to understand that I was really not determining anything about the future. It was an illusion. What happened before was that God was just being generous with me, so He gave me everything I asked for (of course, with significant amount of work). When tables turned, I could not swallow it because ‘How could I not get I want?!’. It took me a long time to accept that I should not try to control the future. Now, it comes and goes but mostly, I really have minimal plans for the future. Honestly, this is much more relaxing and exciting and I hope I can keep this going for life, maybe even at a better shape.

Now this got me thinking and I wanted to ask you all. How would it be if we knew what would happen to us? Would you feel better and safer because you know what is coming for you? Or would you feel anxious? Personally, given my current state, I would probably not want to know what will happen in the future. I might tend to get anxious and start wanting things to happen already if I knew they would happen anyway.

PS: I am grateful for the times when I was strict with my idea of my future. It is this idea that made me work hard and get to where I am. But it was a phase, and a tiring one, so I am glad that is over.


62 thoughts on “What if we knew the future?

  1. Knowing the future would take the fun out of life. What would be left to look forward to? As much as I hate the disaster that my life is today, it has taught me a lot, changed me, made me a better person.

  2. I think if I’d have known the nature of some of the challenges to come, I’d have given up before they arrived. Not knowing was likely for the best. My anxiety worries enough about creative scenarios anyway 😃

  3. If I knew my future, and it would be very good, I’d hope that I wouldn’t screw it up somehow. I don’t know if that makes sense. My thinking moves all over the place and has difficulty settling, sometimes. I could be completely content one minute and doubtful the next. I’m working on that!

    I’ve read that some people are relieved when they find out they have a terminal illness. It’s not that they want to die, it’s that their story is better defined to them. One of the biggest mysteries is going to be resolved, before their eyes. I don’t have first hand experience. Maybe I’d panic. I couldn’t tell you. But my life would be lived differently. In what directions, I don’t know. The fact that we all will die is often ignored as an immediacy. Any of us could be gone in a minute. Why doesn’t this change our lives?

    1. If we knew when we would die exactly, would this change anything?

      Maybe let’s say that we knew what would happen in the future and we did not have a way to screw it up. Meaning, it would happen no matter what. How would that make you feel?

      1. Question one: For some, there might be more appreciation for the quality of time. Others might panic. There might be people that go on a binge. But what I’ve read are about people who relax and find quality of time.

        Second question: I believe I appreciate that I can affect my future. That’s why we should reform prisons and do away with capital punishment. Even if a person were to spend the rest of their lives locked up, they would still have the opportunity to contribute in some positive way to someone or others.

        Otherwise, people might be tempted to coast through life. Given the life, it might not be so bad. But it could be.

  4. knowing thr future would have been for short time excited i guess but after that it would be boring and working jard and all that fun will go and withoit knowing is the thrill of the life live it and do what you are doing and keep going

      1. Yes, Betul, I was referencing the url here as ‘overthinking’. 🙂 I enjoyed thinking about this, but I confess I am of two minds on it.
        On one side, Joaneasel has a very good point of saying we would miss out on the potential of the present moment if we did know the future. On the other hand, sometimes it’s helpful to know at least part of the future, like for poor Aimee, or for someone with cancer. The cancer patient is given the opportunity to set their houses or souls at peace, to tie up loose ends, to seek redemption of some sort. They have the gift of Time. I also agree with you, Betul, about living in the Now being much less anxious…unless the Now is anxious? 😀 Really though, I am just happy to wake up in the morning.

      2. Sometimes, I feel like I would enjoy knowing the good things in the future, but then I think maybe I would not be creative enough if I knew. Eventually, I come to the same conclusion. Everyday is a gift of its own.

  5. I think it’s best not to know it. I think it would be great at first but the second we “know” of a bad future event, would we try to change it? Our present would solely focus on what’s going to happen and I’m afraid we would lose a lot of current moments…

  6. I believe God gives us glimpses of our future from time to time. From experience, as with you, He does give us what we want then slowly things stop happening. When that happens, it really is a tough pill to swallow. Just as you’re learning, I’m also learning to relax and let things be. I know that because He’s always been so faithful in the past, He’ll do the same in the future. I believe it’s His way of building our trust. To answer your question about wanting to know the future. I’m not sure. Maybe yes but not all of the details. If I had been shown everything I had to go through to get where I am today, I would’ve never ventured out on my own. The most beautiful part about seeing a glimpse of the future is watching it come to fruition. I can finally see the pieces falling into place. It’s a wonderful feeling!

    1. Good points and yes, it is a wonderful feeling! I also think knowing the future would make me lazy. It will happen anyway, so why bother, right?

      God indeed does this. He gives us just enough to get us excited but not lazy.

  7. I am of the opinion that if one knew the future it wouldn’t matter. Because “knowing” the future means it was fixed.

    You can’t truly “know” something if there is uncertainty. You can only assign a probability to the different paths it could take. So maybe you could see one future of many or maybe a wide variety of possible futures. The question then becomes if you have any agency to choose between options.

    Most physicists do not believe in free will, they understand the universe to be a machine. But is there really a ghost in the machine? Does the ghost even have free will?


    1. Important questions! (Will check the video later, can’t right now).

      One option is that nothing is ever fixed. Another is that it is actually fixed from the ‘ghost’s’ perspective but not ours.

      Will we ever have a clear, no-doubt type of answer to these in a way that convinces all humanity? I don’t know. Maybe we can choose what works for us.

      But my question assumes the latter option, I think.

  8. The concept of “knowing the future” implies acceptance of predestination, an old Christian concept that holds that the deity determines what happens and that what we think or do doesn’t matter. After all, if we are seeing “the future” and then acting to change it, then it is not the future that we saw. I also concur that its more fun not to know, as noted in the quite popular Garth Brooks song, “The Dance.” That song has been a hit in jazz, country and R&B genres because the idea on not knowing resonates.

    1. I should check this song out!

      Yes, the question assumes pre-destination. In Islam, generally, it is assumed that the future is mostly fixed but it is out own will that determines the shape of our future. Namely, the future is fixed based on our choices. But it is a very complicated concept.

      1. If you like jazz, the Dave Koz version is excellent. The future being fixed by our choices makes intuitive sense, but our future is also affected by choices made by others, rather like atoms colliding. Yes, it is a difficult concept.

  9. I’m on the fence. I wish I would’ve known the fate of my oldest. Maybe I could’ve sat on my front step with him that night and he’d be alive today. Despite what others think….I’d like to think of it that way. As close as my Jace and I were…my heartache and pain grows more each day. I’m just numb to even care what happens in the future.

    1. I am really sorry to hear that:( I really hope that your pain lessens soon. My friend’s son had a harsh car accident and he has been in vegetative state since then and who knows if he will ever be well again. It is painful, I can see from her eyes. Could we have prevented it if we knew the future? Complicated question.

  10. Hmmmm…. I have NOT taken the Leap that I know I should…. Perhaps if I could know my future, and it is bright, I’d have the courage to take the necessary leap….

  11. Obviously the whole I-ching thing is lost on you. But thanks for stopping by my blog. 😉 Just remember everything is subject to change. Being present is about being a good listener.

      1. The I-Ching is not actually a difficult concept. It’s definitely interesting. It plays out every time, regardless if one understands the readings. Many Acupuncturists use it when helping heal people. It is an entirely interactive guide book.
        Thanks for allowing me to comment.

  12. I think it depends on the future. If I could see my future and it’s dreadful, I would have a choice; either to bust my butt as hard as I can to change it, or remain scared and wait for it to happen. But if the future looks nice, I wouldn’t change a thing… except maybe adding something

    I feel like the future can be changed, based on the actions we do in the present. Unfortunately, there’s no actual way knowing if what we are currently doing will impact our lives in the future, is there?

    1. I also sometimes think that I could want to know my future if it is good but maybe then I would become lazy? Uncreative?

      Our present affects our future, I believe so. But as you said, it is difficult to know how.

  13. While sometimes it would be nice to know what happens next, I prefer the not knowing. I think one of the beautiful parts of life is accepting that so much is beyond our control. All we can control is our own actions.🕊

  14. We should definitely go after the things that we want, set our goals. Progress = happiness says Tony Robbins. I am also excited working towards my goals, making them happen.
    The real problems occur, I think, when we get too attached to the outcome. If I only reach that goal, then I will be happy. Big no-no! Make yourself happy now, so whatever happens, you will be fine.
    Good day to all of you!

  15. I feel like when i was younger, the future seemed kind of predictable. After elementary school, you go to high school (and i even knew which schools i was going to), then college… Once i got to college and the possibilities opened up a lot more, i tried planning for what my future in 5 years would like, and this plan was constantly changing. Ay first i was frustrated that i couldn’t stick to a plan (i thought i was a flake for not calling out the plan). But eventually I learned to forgive myself for that, and to accept that plans won’t always go as planned, and that it’s ok if the plan changes. I learned you accept things as they come into my life. Personally, I would not like to know my future. I have peace with the way i think now. If i knew the future, everything would seem so boring to me. I love how unpredictable life can be.

    1. I am on the same boat. I think I would get either bored or anxious.
      And yes, plans do not work as we think all the time, so it is important to keep an open heart. Maybe just keeping the general concept intact but be flexible with details.

  16. This i a very insightful piece Troy. Personally, I wouldn’t want to know the future. It would take away the mystery about life. As I say this, I can’t help but bring in the idea of death🤦🏿‍♀️ yes I said it. I guess we would also have to know when the inevitable would happen and that does give me the chills🥺
    In short, knowing the future, it doesn’t matter what aspect of the future, is just not fun. A lot of anxiety on the way.

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