TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

There are no facts in the future

Fact-oriented behavior is considered rational and methodical by many, especially technocrats. But facts exist entirely in the past. The human future is composed of what we intend to do, what is likely or probable, what we assume and what we believe. The human future is completely devoid of facts. When this simple fact is ignored, it has a huge effect on how people (even technocrats) launch initiatives. People often fail to distinguish between "that's how things are" and "that's how they have been in the past". Shaping the future requires abandoning fact oriented thinking EXCEPT to the extent that facts from the past can shape our assumptions and beliefs. We can look at Oklahoma tornadoes from last week (i.e., a fact) and create an assumption "I should build a better basement shelter" or "I should leave Oklahoma". Neither of these has any facts but the divergent assumptions have a huge impact on the person's future. The tornado doesn't know the difference and doesn't care.

+1
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 5 2013: So what is the idea then ?
    How should we go in to future?
    Should we leave behind all the experience, knowledge, learning etc because these matter of past and then step in to the FUTURE ?
    Why technocrats are so special ?
    How a fisherman plans to go to a certain spot for fishing ? Doesn't he apply his experience , learning of past and plan for next time ?
    • thumb
      Jun 7 2013: I guess thats only if you see time as linear. Which it is not. http://www.universetoday.com/79418/planck-time/

      There are more units of planck time in a second then there has been seconds since the big bang 14 billion years ago.

      What is the smallest unit of time you can conceive? A second? A millisecond? Hard to say seeing as how time is relative. Under the right circumstances, hours can fly by and seconds can feel like a lifetime. But unfortunately for physicists, time is not something that can be delt with so philosophically. And since they deal with cosmological forces both infinitesimally large and small, they need units that can objectively measure them. When it comes to dealing with the small, Planck Time is the measurement of choice. Named after German physicist Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, a unit of Planck time is the time it takes for light to travel, in a vacuum, a single unit of Planck length. Taken together, they part of the larger system of natural units known as Planck units.

      If you had infinity to get something accomplished; How long would you take?
    • Jun 8 2013: You are right that fishermen go to the same spot based on their facts of the past. This is critically important. What I am saying is that a fisherman could easily try to stay out longer in the hope of catching more fish, even given the exact same facts - and suffer a Perfect Storm and drown. The facts leading to this event would be exactly the same, but the INTENTION filter radically alters the outcome.
      • thumb
        Jun 19 2013: An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
        “How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.
        “Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.
        “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.
        “I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.
        “But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”
        The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”
        The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”
        “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
        The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
        To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
        “But what then, senor?”
        The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
        “Millions, senor? Then what?”
      • thumb
        Jun 19 2013: The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.