Foresight

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Imagine that you’re walking.

The space in front of you is dark, pitch black. You can’t see where you’re going. Only the ground you’re stepping on.

You’re walking on a road. But at times it’s not even that, just a path or an open field.

At least you’re not alone. You walk along a group of people — perhaps your family and friends, or a troop of some kind, even a crowd.

Some of those walking along with you believe that the field you’re walking into is already there — it’s just that you can’t see it. They brag about their capacity to see what’s in front of you, to predict the road ahead. They offer to guide you. But you don’t believe in them. They seem to be just as lost as you are.

The space in front of you is dark because, in fact, it doesn’t exist… yet. It will appear as you and the rest walk into it. Every step actually creates the ground beneath your feet just before you step on it.

You can see the ground. Turn around and you can see the field that you’ve already traveled: the steps and tracks that you’ve left behind.

As you continue to walk, you become more confident. You can see patterns in the ground. These help you anticipate what the terrain will be like for the next few steps. The terrain doesn’t change abruptly. Sometimes it does. But it mostly changes gradually. So you can feel your way even if the ground appears only as you walk on it.

You’re more confident now so you start to imagine not only the next few steps but how the field ahead could be like. The keyword here is ‘imagine’. You can’t see the space in front of you because it doesn’t exist. But you may as well imagine it. That’s a special kind of sight. A foresight.

Of course, you don’t see anything in detail: you only see contours and outlines. A road ahead, a hill. A few mountains in the background almost forming a landscape.

You can imagine the next few steps somewhat clearly. But as you see further ahead everything is blurry. You can’t even imagine just one but multiple different landscapes overlaid on top of each other.

That’s quite a skill anyway. You can, for example, describe what you foresee to the rest of your walking peers. If they trust you, they will follow you walking more confidently: changing speed or direction based on the imagined field ahead.

That’s when you realize that the ground on which you’re walking does not simply appear but it’s being built. It’s a road that you and your fellow walkers are building as you walk over it. You are walkers and road builders at the same time.

Some of your fellow walker-builders are looking backwards. They’re just repeating the same patterns they see behind them without any direction. Others are looking forward but they’re just improvising as they walk.

This is when your foresight becomes even more valuable. The possible landscapes you can imagine are not mere contours but actual plans or blueprints.

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

You could share those blueprints with the rest of the group. You could imagine new blueprints all together. You could then walk-build towards the one you all agree upon.

As you do it, the road ahead starts to improve. The imagined blueprints become clearer. You are walk-building together now.

That’s cool, right? You thought you were simply walking into darkness. Now you’re building a road you have foreseen.