Prehearsing the Future


If a picture says more than a thousand words, a minute of direct experience says more than words ever can. As children we learned immediately and unequivocally about the consequences of our actions by trying things out. Through play and games we'd put ourselves in new situations, get hurt (or not), try again, laugh a lot at ourselves and others, but ultimately adapt and assimilate new behaviours on a daily basis – never knowing what a new game might bring. Then gradually we began replacing direct experience with representations: beginning with picturebooks and textbooks, moving on later to news reports and theoretical treatises, statistical models and market projections. There is nothing wrong with representation – if we had to learn everything we know through direct experience it would take many lifetimes. However, there are some things that remain ungraspable unless we experience them with our own skin. One of these things is the present moment, beginning its life as an unknowable future.