If you could know your future, would you?

30 Apr

All of us have played the game, “If you were a superhero what would your superhero power be?” Normally, there is at least one person who would like to be able to see into the future. That tends to lead to the discussion of, “would that be a good idea or kind of scary?” I’ve always thought it would be really scary. I mean, why know if you can’t change it? Because invariably, there will be things you find out that you wish you could change. Trust me, if I knew that guy I dated would turn out to be such a jerk, I definitely would have changed that.

The best answer I had ever heard in response to the superhero power/knowing the future was while tubing down a river as there’s lots to talk about with your friends when not flipping over and seeing if your lungs can hold the same amount of water as they do air (according to the internet that would be about six liters for both. And we know everything you read on the internet is true). Anyway, this friend said that his superpower would be seeing 10 minutes into the future. Wow, never thought of that. Just enough time to maybe think twice about stepping off that curb in front of that oncoming bus. Or perhaps, moving over ten feet before that bird decided you would be the perfect landing spot for its digested worm buffet breakfast. Or you could actually use this power to be a superhero and benefit of others. Maybe you run on down the street to be in place just in time to catch that baby who just fell out of the 10th story window.

So, if it were possible, would you want to know the future?

This question popped into my head because of two events I attended the past twoBig Fish Marquee weekends. One was that event I was preparing to go to in Does She or Doesn’t She. This was opening night for Big Fish, the musical in Chicago. It follows the exceptional life and death of Edward Bloom. Edward has known basically how he will die ever since he was a young man when a witch pulled out her crystal ball and showed him. This knowledge allows Edward to do spectacular things in his life because he is not afraid that they will kill him. He confronts giants, goes to war and single-handedly takes out an assassin, and he and his friends are swallowed whole by the titled “Big Fish” only to have Edward teach them how to be reborn and escape. He is not afraid because, as he says, “This is not how I will die.”

After seeing this I began to think, maybe seeing into the future might not be such a bad thing. The freeing feeling of knowing how you will die might enable you to live more. Wouldn’t it be great to learn from your mistakes before you make them and actually have to live with the consequences? Perhaps I never would have entered that limbo contest in Trinidad if I knew it would require me to have back surgery (the limbo contest? I won! And lost). Or maybe, while in junior high school, I would never have chosen to wear those black corduroys with the word “Boogie” spelled out in rhinestones on the back pocket if I had known how silly they would seem in 2013 (stop judging, it was the 70’s). Perhaps all of those girls that got tattoos on their lower back (we all know what they’re known as today) would have looked ten years into the future and decided that some temporary henna paint might be a better idea. The point is, perhaps seeing into the future, or at least knowing how you will die has its advantages.

Life Tracker

Watch the trailer

The second event that caused me to ponder the whole future knowledge question happened this past weekend. I attended another world premier (gosh my life sure sounds so much more glamorous than it feels on a daily basis). This time it was an Indy movie called Life Tracker. The movie is a pseudo-documentary about, what else, a documentary filmmaker who discovers a company which can analyze your DNA and provide you with, well, your future. Among other things, they can tell you how many kids you will have and with whom, what your health issues will be (including broken bones) and your date of death. Questions arise such as; if it’s in your DNA and you therefore, cannot change it, why know? Would people lose their initiative (sort of like smoking pot) and just let it all happen? Without giving away any surprises (you should see the movie), in the end, it’s up to you to decide if the characters seeing their future was a good thing or a bad thing.

During the Question and Answer time with the writer/director, producer and lead actors I raised the question, “If you could know your future, would you?” Surprisingly, at least to me, all said yes. The lead actor (Barry Finnegan) did hesitate for a moment and say, well, he might not be the first to ask for the information but, if everyone else were doing it, he would probably end up doing it also (that’s how I got sucked into twitter).

As for me, I like the idea of going skydiving because I know I’m not going to die that way. Oh wait, I’ve already done that a couple of times. Didn’t die. Or perhaps rafting those Deliverance rapids knowing I will neither drown nor run into a sadistic group of perverts who insist I squeal like a pig. Yup, rafted many times and never even met one creepy, banjo-playing kid. Or maybe I would step outside onto the wing of a biplane and live my dream of wing-walking. Something I haven’t done but began to consider while sitting on a long flight from Turkey with my friend the 5 year-old kicking my seat the entire way (yes, wing-walking is on my bucket list so, if you know anyone who can help me, you know where to find me).

So, with this sudden immersion into the world of soothsaying, if the possibility of knowing how I will die becomes a reality would I want to know? I still can’t make a decision on that to save my life. Uh, well, hhmmmm. . .not sure how that would work.

How about you? If you could know your future, or at least, when/how you would die, would you want to know? Please comment below and we can discuss.

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