Written by: Jamie Papa
Graphics by: Justin Tan
We’ve all heard this throughout our lives: persevere to be able to have a better life in the future.
The concept of striving for progress and comfort has been driving humankind to innovate. This is a world that doesn’t settle.
But this concept of building an ideal future has compromised the state of today. Life now is both easier and harder. It is easier because of the technologies and breakthroughs, but our world has never been the same because of the suffering brought upon by expenses, overpopulation, and traffic. It doesn’t even end there. The threats of the climate crisis and (every now and then) arising epidemics that endangers lives and scares people continue to thrive and emerge. It all just seems heavy until we remember the presence of conflicts and inequality among groups and nations.
The recent bad events that happened (epidemics, conflicts, natural disasters) scare many people because of how it threatens lives. Other than that, experts even say how our climate deadline might even be in less than two years. Many years from now, our world might be submerged in water or experiencing the worst droughts. No matter what the outcomes might be, it can make us question if we’ll be alive in the coming years. I myself ask a lot of questions. Will all my hard work for my career and studies still actually be worth it? Should I even invest in my retirement even though I’m not sure if I’ll actually be able to retire? Should I keep working hard for a future that might not even exist? What if all the things I earn and grow to become will become useless in the end because I just suddenly die due to something that is barely my fault?
Look at an example: Fireflies Are Facing Extinction And Humans Are At Fault
Historically speaking, progress often starts with an idea, a problem, or an interest. Whether this is a personal or widespread one, we work to make things come to life based on our capabilities and resources. This has been evident throughout time with every new discovery and technology invented and innovated to “make our lives better”.
However, this idea of progress is often attainable by those in power and with privilege, and most of the time, they are driven by self-interest. The problematic idea of this kind of progress is that it gives false hope and neglects many things.
The false hope is when “successful” people and groups tell others that all it takes is hard work, perseverance, and resourcefulness to reach success when in reality, people’s socioeconomic statuses influence this idea of progress. This privilege is often within a certain circle of family, groups, and businesses, making it inaccessible to others.
Alongside this false hope comes neglect. People tend to neglect things just because of wanting to achieve this. The perceived progress through urbanization and technology neglected the environment through depletion, pollution, and deforestation. Food shortages and underpaid overwork even happen, and these problems altogether neglect the mental health of people especially in the working class.
All these problems developed throughout time and the weight of it goes mostly on the millennials, youth, and children because obviously, they are the ones who would carry the weight to solve the problems that threaten their existence. The uncertainty of whether a future exists even influences the choices of some people to not have kids because of the harsh realities future offsprings might encounter.
The question of whether the future we are working for still exists is something no one can answer clearly, but for now, it should drive us to do things beyond our self-interests. If self-interest ended up becoming destructive, it can be a lesson for people now to do things and to serve others. Taking a part in the world and making a move may seem insignificant, but it can actually make a difference. Besides, people are like building blocks of the world’s population, and we are all somehow connected— collective action matters.
You’re just a student? Then study hard, but don’t just study. Try to learn more, do more, and understand more. Even the youngest minds can be capable of doing great things. After learning and studying, give back as soon as you can. Use what you learn for the better. You’re already done studying? Then utilize your skills and specialties to help others if you are capable.
It also counts to teach. There are underprivileged people who don’t get all the education they need, so educating others properly. In this age of information, there are many discoveries that people should know about. However, these concepts in science and other fields would be useless if they were always written too academically. Teaching people and translating these concepts into something everyone can understand is something that even the most ordinary people can benefit from.
Lastly, it counts to be open-minded. Having empathy and being open-minded is something many people are ought to learn, but it is one of the kindest things one can do. Open-mindedness gives a sense of understanding that no one undergoes the same situations, and we should all be considerate of how a person is.
However, these “solutions” will not guarantee a powerful change in how our futures will be. Should we keep working hard for a future that might not exist? It wouldn’t hurt to be better and try to make a change, but for now, the answer to the question of how our future might become is just like many people’s relationship statuses: it’s complicated.
What do you think? What should we do about the uncertainty of the future? Tell us about it!