Living in the Future’s Past

After mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love and then, for the second time in the history of the world, [humans] will have discovered fire—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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“Living in the Future’s Past” is a beautifully photographed and poetically inspiring 2018 film directed by Susan Kocera and produced by Jim Swift, Susan Kucera, and Jeff Bridges. Aimed at the individual trying to find a place and a way in our world of rapid environmental change, the documentary provides a thoughtful and original synthesis on humanity’s journey to this moment in our history. A moment of choice lies open for each of us as individuals.

Jeff Bridges: “Everyone knows deep down that this is a rapidly changing world—so much so, that the concept of the world we once knew as a way of distinguishing between human beings and everything else has evaporated…

…Living in the Future’s Past…yeah… that’s a metaphor for tuning in to what’s already here.

Join me as I share the screen with scientists, profound thinkers and hundreds of Earth’s living creatures as we explore concepts about ourselves, our past, and our future that reveal a whole new way of looking at humankind. We go beyond politics and borders and boundaries, shattering the old paradigm of how we look at our long-term problems, what to do with our fossil slaves, and the superorganism of which we are all a part.

We have the keys to move into the future wisely. Let’s explore this together. What kind of future would you like to see?…”

The film and Bridges ends with a kind of meditative prayer—based on ecology, the science of relationship—and concludes with a simple yet potent challenge for every individual on this planet Earth.

Lion-documentaryJeff Bridges: “Ecology. It’s a word derived from the Greek oikos or household. It’s the study of the relationships that interlink all the members of the Earth’s household. We can’t think of ecology as only existing over there because it has no boundaries and it’s in a state of constant flux. Ecology is intimate, coming right up to our skin and through it. It’s permeable and borderless and chaotic. The internal and the external are always entwined. So, when we speak about sustainability, what is it that we hope to sustain?…

“We are living in the future’s past. And the relative odds of future outcomes change every second. The world we all live in is not larger than the sum of its parts.  Each part is neither the centre or the edge. It’s a bustling world, a household of bees. Colleagues, both human and nonhuman. Animate and inanimate. Over which we have influence that in turn influence us. Physical realities exist regardless of our desires. Seemingly insignificant actions taken collectively have led us to this moment. Everything is a system of relationships. And it’s not easy to see the connections… or to see the invisible links between human expectations, human vulnerability, human memory and the fragility of life itselt. No, it requires effort…

“…All of us held in the arms of the atmosphere…

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“Each of us can think about how we think. We are humankind. Ingenuity is in our DNA… What kind of future would you like to see? What are you willing to contribute towards creating that future? Ask yourself ‘what am I willing to do?’ And not something that requires more effort than you’re willing to make and not some small contribution that just scratches the guildedge that doesn’t get the job done. No, ask yourself: what am I willing to contribute that comes natural to me. Something that I can sustain until the challenges have been met. Something that fits into my life, my profession, my hobbies, fits in with my relationships. Something that’s a part of who I am. Each of us is unique, each of us has a gift, a strength that we can direct towards creating this world that we’d like to see in our future. That we’d like to see in our kid’s future. We love our kids, right?…” Now, it’s time for love…

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Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist / limnologist and novelist. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for the latest on her books. Nina’s bilingual “La natura dell’acqua / The Way of Water” was published by Mincione Edizioni in Rome. Her non-fiction book “Water Is…” by Pixl Press (Vancouver) was selected by Margaret Atwood in the New York Times ‘Year in Reading’ and was chosen as the 2017 Summer Read by Water Canada. Her novel “A Diary in the Age of Water” will be released by Inanna Publications (Toronto) in 2020.

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