richard_foreman's picture
Playwright & Director; Founder, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater

The belief that there is anything that will change things, in and of itself stymies, I believe, real change. To believe that anything "will change things" focuses one on the superficial surface of things, which indeed change all the time. Such changes—which have been and will continue to be—create always an orientation of consciousness that focuses always on "the future".

But I propose that the only thing that will in fact 'change everything' is, or would be, the refusal to think about the future. And this, of course, is almost impossible for almost all human beings to do.

Therefore, nothing will change everything.

(I admit that I myself have fallen prey to this unavoidable human tendency, having written "of the future" in these pages, proposing that the internet is now creating, and will radicalized in the future—wide ranging yet depthless "pancake people".)

But if we could "think not" about the future, the present moment would obviously expand and become the full (and very different) universe. One can say "ah, but this is the animal state".

I would answer—no, the animal achieves this automatically, while the human being who achieves this only does so by erecting it on a foundational superstructure which postulates a necessary 'future' (past-based) much as Freud (and others before him) postulated a necessary "unconscious'—out of which the 'conscious' human being emerged.

(I am aware, obviously, that this theme has been engaged by philosophers and mystics down through the ages).

So for a human being to not think about the future would be to become a non-animal inhabiting the pure present (the dream of so called 'avant-guard' art, by the way). And animals do not (apparently) make avant-guard art.

Take John Brockman's offered example of a future event that changes everything—through genetic manipulation "your dog could become your cat" (and by implication, I could become you, etc.)

I say, this changes only the shell. Such alterations and achievements, along with many others similarly imaginable, add but another room onto the "home" inhabited by human beings—who will still spend most of their time "thinking about the future. And nothing, at the deepest level, therefore will ever change a postulated 'everything'—not so long as we keep imagining possible "change" which only reinforces the psychic dwelling of our un-changing selves in a "future" that is always imaginary and beyond us.