If the future were a website, would it be one of those that perpetually has the sign up “Under Construction”? When are we going to get some closure on these “Beta” web applications that are down every other week, or the software that will be compatible with my operating system “in a few months”?
In a “Web 2.0” world, the future amounts to a collage of constant upgrades and updates. Growth is version-bound, incremental, in the style of a digital clock. Rather than a cycle, change is a linear spectrum. The old isn’t old, it’s outdated, and the new is what outperforms the old. Never stagnating or repeating, if you don’t like the way things are, just wait a minute.
This perception of time is an technology-driven, impatient one. But if I think really hard I’m able to remember another one, when once upon a time, the future was the gently flowing dream of a life we’ll eventually get to, a la “Row row row your boat.”
Remember the swell of the shadow on a garden sun dial, or the sweep of an analog watch? In the natural world, growth is cyclical, based on the rhythms of the body and its environment. Change, rather than being the end of the old, is its renewal.
I would argue that the integration of the two systems of thought is an optimal framework, allowing the human mind to find continually fresh content, and the body to find stability in the ebb and flow of the daily routine.
So take the nap, but set the digital alarm, and let the future come to you.