Sometimes, Foresight Is 20/20

   Posted by: BJ Johnson in philosophy, writing

Got a Time Machine Handy? Wanna Build One? You Could Change the World.

I don't know about you but when I have brain power left over after, and sometimes during, a long day working my magic, I like to explore philosophical questions to see where they lead. Helps to exercise other portions of one's gray matter from time to time and give the previously busy part a needed rest. Everyone deserves a vacation. So, in keeping with the Time Machine thread from the previous post, the question for you today is:

If you could travel back in time 10 years and sit down with yourself for 5 minutes, what would you say?

I know what I'd say. I would remind myself of a conversation I had 14 years prior with a friend in his Brentwood living room one afternoon during one of my Shuttle Mission assignments for NASA Headquarters, where I held a CD in my hand and told him that their days were numbered. They had only recently gained widespread popularity, vinyl was still the mainstream, and he looked at me as if I was totally nuts.

Looking through the crystal ball in my head, as I do from time to time, I said: "They're illogical. Takes spinning this around to retrieve digital data that can be read more efficiently from memory, without involving any moving parts. As soon as chip technology advances far enough to hold an entire album, these things are history. Once that happens, you won't have to go to Tower Records to buy your music. Pop a blank chip into your player, call them up, order the album you want, burn it to the chip. Done. What we need to do is figure out who will develop that high density chip and buy stock now."

Not being a gambling man (I consider dabbling in the Stock Market, when you don't have a seat at the Exchange, to be a bad gamble), I knew that one should never put money in stock that you can't afford to throw right out the window. Who knows how long it would take or how the tech firms would rise and fall while the years passed until the chip was finally developed? Even as the years went by, there was never a lot of disposable income. I didn't buy any stock; instead investing in tools and equipment to work my craft. I figured that this was a better "gamble".

If Foresight does turn out to be 20/20, Hindsight then becomes 20/5... much to your dismay.

The purchase mechanism now isn't exactly as I described that day but pretty darn close. Only the medium changed. The Internet was yet to be released to public use, so didn't factor into the equation at the time. (Yeah, I'm that far ahead of the curve.) The rest of the prediction matches but the capacity has grown ten-thousandfold over one single album. If I had acted on that prediction, I wouldn't be working 42+ hour days (unless it was on something Really Fun) or worrying about much of anything. I'd have the helicopter I always wanted and a twin engine fixed wing to go along with it. There would be a workshop with all of the tools I would need to create whatever came into my mind—and the World would be better for it.
(Did I mention we build Cool Stuff?)

So, here I sit; knowing that 24 years ago I had a vision of the future (there have been many others) that could have made a huge difference in my life as a creator. I've always said: "Given enough time and money, I can do anything." I wonder what things or concepts could have come into reality if I had the money from just that one vision.

What would you say to you?

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2 Responses to Sometimes, Foresight Is 20/20


    OK, I just saw this. Another good exercise. I'd say: Keep up with what you love. That is important and you never know where it will lead. There are some things you can't change or control. You may only be able to pray about it. There is a reason for experiencing what we do but you may not know the reason for a very long time. Continue to be grateful. Change is good.

    February 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      Prayer is a constant; whether it be a conversation with God or a wish sent out into the Universe for support of our efforts and our talents. I thank both for everything that we are graced with.

      February 20, 2011 at 12:39 am
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