Mattias Fredriksson photo.

CMC #17 Editor’s Intro: Here’s How To Take Back The Future

From the latest Coast Mountain Culture issue, which delves into all things futuristic, we present the editor’s intro by Mike Berard called “Take Back The Future.”

IMAGINE 20 YEARS in the future: flying cars, holographic communication, miracle drugs, and a healthy diet in pill form probably come to mind. For the most part, our idea of what’s coming over the horizon is remarkably similar to The Jetsons, a cartoon that premiered in 1962. Most innovations strive to make our lives more efficient. In Silicon Valley, brilliant minds work to create the next wonder apps: Apps that schedule time. Apps that record time. Apps that consume time. The ticking of the clock fascinates us.

For a species that claims to never have enough time, humans sure waste a lot of it. We accrue value by checking items off an ever-lengthening list. We feel more accomplished when our day is full. The many ways we organize — using apps like Asana, Slack, G Suite, Monday, and Trello — have become more burdensome than the actual tasks we tackle. We sit in meetings to discuss meetings. We scroll social media to stave off boredom, watching others showcase their greatest hits, propping up the long con that we can have it all. Time drifts, accelerates, and then violently spins away in a vortex of dreaming for moments that may never come. When the weekend arrives, we avoid being “lazy.” We cut grass and join clubs and wash cars and go to faraway music fests and wait in lines and visit the next big thing.

Delete those apps; you know the ones. Say no to that party invitation you’re on the fence about. Don’t wash your car, ever. Take a deep breath in all that extra space. Let the lawn grow long and wheelie by your neighbour’s judgemental face with glee.

My intuition tells me the future will be about people taking back their time and, in the process, freedom. Not just on social media or in the workplace, but in their homes. Working closer to where we live. Driving less. Sleeping more. Owning one modest vehicle, or no vehicle at all. Living in a smaller house. And in exchange for this sparser lifestyle, we will gain a reward of leisure mostly reserved for wealthy people. Without luxury items like iPads, watches, espresso machines, and foreign vacations, time becomes plentiful and space increases. Space in our lives for love and leisure and laziness. Mind space. Delete those apps; you know the ones. Say no to that party invitation you’re on the fence about. Don’t wash your car, ever. Take a deep breath in all that extra space. Let the lawn grow long and wheelie by your neighbour’s judgemental face with glee. Nap when you want to. Take a staycation. With the right set-up, wilderness camping beats most three-star hotels. The richest moments most of us experience probably occur without cell service. Liberate your time.

Now, imagine the future a second time. Ask yourself what you can do to make time equal space in this short life, and create a per-sonal time machine that makes the next 20 years feel like 20 years. No app can do that.

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