After I moved into my new apartment I joined a creative writing class. The friends and cohorts, and the dynamic, four-foot-ten teacher I met there, have lifted my heart and renewed my desire to express my innermost thoughts. Our most recent assignment was to write an article/essay about “foresight.” I love words! They “speak” to me, no pun intended. As I pondered the word, foresight, I realized that this is one of those heavy-duty words — at least to me. In retrospect, it’s a word that has tried repeatedly to get my attention, but youthful vigor completely ignored it, much to my chagrin. I believe (and hope) I’ve learned the lesson foresight so wisely and freely tried to teach me. Slow down, it said. Look before you leap! And, so, I discovered that while living in the now is the best way to embrace life, a twinkling of foresight can add some helpful spice to the moment life has served you.
I thought about the significance of that word, and realized that foresight can do you well, or even bring harm to others. To our ancestors and the indigenous people who, generations ago, used foresight in their daily lives, it was a matter of survival. “Winter is coming,” the now infamous line from a well-known television show, denotes the benefits of exercising foresight as in stock up on your food supply; prepare warm clothing and blankets; replenish your provision of firewood, and otherwise be prepared for long, cold, winter nights to soon be upon them. Another uncomplicated act of foresight might have been to hunt (or buy) a turkey before Thanksgiving. It all seems simple enough, doesn’t it? And yet I couldn’t help but wonder how so many people never stopped to consider what might happen if millions of cars, generators and factories burnt millions of tons of coal and oil, releasing their toxic waste into our atmosphere. Were they stuck in their adolescent years of “I want this now, no matter what the consequences”?
Those might be the ones who have the foresight to realize that an act of well thought out voracity could better their circumstances while inflicting pain and damage to others, even our planet. According to a recent National Geographic television special, it appears as though Stewart and Lynda Resnick, aka the multi-billionaire family who own nearly all of California’s water rights, are draining many underground, fresh water reservoirs’. Sink holes are appearing across California, and at an alarming rate. Farmers who can’t afford to pay for the now “safely stored” water are being refused its use and, therefore, crops are being depleted. The result? Less food, higher prices. As of now, whole towns are without running water for cooking, bathing or flushing toilets. What?! Is this the twenty-first century or not? That was indeed foresight on the part of the Resnick’s, who saw a straightforward way to increase their riches and power, though it is devastating to the lives of the people who call California home. The Resnick’s have been sued multiple times, yet it never sticks. How they can live with themselves, I don’t know.
There is brilliant and repetitive foresight imbedded into what is called “the rule of seven” which, if implemented, and barring incoming rogue meteors, will assure the survival of our populace and planet seven generations into the future and far beyond that, but I believe that that rule has been swept under the carpet of greed. Today we find our world in what Native Americans call Koyaanisqatsi, the translation of which is “world out of balance.” The famous movie producer/director, Francis Ford Coppola, made a very powerful, no-dialog movie by the same name; Michael Jackson sang about it in his “Earth Song”; Bob Dylan also vocalized his concern for humanity, yet here we are on what could very well be the very eve of destruction that Dylan sang about, and all because of the lack of, or misuse of, foresight. FYI, I found this movie and the songs on YouTube.
Foresight can be a good thing in looking forward to and planning for happy times like family reunions or vacations, or in preparing for possible harsh times ahead, yet in the hands of someone who seeks only their own benefit, it can mean the end of life as we know it. While many world citizens are doing their best to conserve water and fuel, struggling to feed their families and provide shelter for loved ones, others throw caution to the wind and indulge their wants and desires at the cost of millions of lives. How much money will satisfy them? How much power will make them feel secure and happy? How pathetic to think that their foresight has brought them to this — to seemingly believing that their only self-worth is in the mammon and power they seek.
Let’s hope that, despite those who employ foresight for self-gratification, there are a multitude times seven generations to come. Let’s use our foresight to see and envision a way to create a better world for all! Perhaps, with foresight, we can bypass the eve of destruction and instead look forward to a new beginning for our worthy populace and our beautiful planet.
The Rolling Sage