Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Horizon Holds Infinity

How many times in history have we, as humans, simply stared off into the distance, towards the horizon, imagining the innumerable things that were to come?

The horizon is the proverbial representation of our everlasting anticipation of the future. We like to contemplate the future without really considering what will bring it about. The horizon is a natural occurrence - the Earth is round, so the sky meets the land somewhere off in the distance because we're standing on a uniformly curved plane. Nothing brings about the horizon; it's a constant. The horizon, while it may stand for the future in some philosophical sense, is completely different than what is yet to come.

Everything we do determines our future. Our actions, our words, and our choices all shape and ultimately bring about the events we so constantly anticipate. It's been said that "the past is past." It's been said that we ought to "live in the now." In fact, the true way to live is to look towards the future. There is no way to know where you're going if you don't know where you are or where you've been, so being future-oriented is ultimately fulfilling in every way possible.

I consider myself a goal-oriented person. Although I have a fairly profound learning disability, I view the extent to which I accomplish my goals as the sum of my efforts. This is a priori. The horizon is a constant. We don't know what exactly is beyond it, but we know it's there. Similarly, there will always be a future. We don't know what exactly it will hold for us, for our goals, or for our dreams, but we know it will happen one way or another.

There are few things that we have power over in this world. Our future is one of them. We always have had free will - sometimes, we just forget how to use it. The horizon holds infinite possibilities simply because we have the power to choose them. An extrapolation of this would be to hold the belief that the unknowable unseen is the very essence of free will itself.

I'm going to China for three weeks in June. From the 7th to the 28th, I'll be travelling all over, from Beijing to Shanghai and many little places in between. Saying China is photogenic is like saying they speak Chinese. Saying it will be an educational experience is like saying that China is in Asia. I know these things; they're objective facts, and I know they're in my future, just over the horizon. Can I predict the kinds of pictures I'll take, where I'll take them, and how people will like them? No, not at all. Can I even begin to wrap my head around how much I'll learn about the culture and language of China? Sort of. But I'll have to wait to find out.

At any rate, the future holds a great deal. We know that. However, the fact that we know it exists matters less than how we expereince it when we get there. Objective realities are pointless to the contemplative mind because they're simply there. Completely objective and rationalizable - just like everything else. The unexamined life is not worth living - so the future itself, as some sort of "entity," means nothing. It's the experiences we'll have, the things we'll accomplish, and the circumstances that dictate those experiences and accomplishments yet to come. We have the free will to determine our future before we get there. The horizon holds infinity - the future is much, much more than we know.



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