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Welcome to The Future! (Please enjoy responsibly.)

toronto from the water

Congratulations on winning our sweepstakes!

We’re pleased to welcome you on a most-expenses-paid, open-ended trip to The Future, where you will enjoy fantastic technologies, abundant luxuries, exhilarating freedoms and opportunities, an inexhaustible supply of entertainment, and other truly ludicrous privileges.

You’ll be so awash with options, you won’t know what to do with yourself! Take a stroll through our modern cities and towns, free of threat from animal attacks and most infectious diseases. Wrap your body in a variety of warm, protective garments, available for next to nothing at garage sales and thrift stores or — if you’re feeling extra-luxurious — at one of thousands of retail shops.

Or perhaps you feel like eating something. That will almost certainly not be a problem! Beans, rice, legumes, flours, and — unbelievably — any amount of safe, fresh water you desire, are all widely available for little more than pocket change. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. For a little more you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, and even game, transported to you from exotic locations around the world. We even offer a “super-luxury” option, where you can pay a modest premium to have professionals find, prepare, and cook your meal, and even place it right in front of you, with additional doting provided by trained servants. 

Here’s a partial list of other features you will enjoy here in The Future:

bulk foodProtective walls, roofs and floors! We have these virtually everywhere, available on both a public and private basis. Weather will no longer run your life and make your decisions for you. Shield your possessions from thieves, as well as dampness and rot, with ease.

Answer virtually any question you have in seconds, with our Space-Age “Inter-Network.” Talk to friends, relatives and strangers anywhere, even across oceans, in real-time. Find the nearest coffee merchant or automobile-for-hire in seconds, or simply find something interesting to read or skim.

Many reasonably peaceful civilizations to choose from, with sophisticated and exclusive amenities such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from slavery, abundant parks and public spaces, growing respect for differences, non-despotic governments, police protection, relatively advanced labor standards, and a general “live and let live” ethos.

public libraryEndless art, music, literature and computer-simulated adventure! You could listen to a new musical performance, or read a new story, or gaze at new artwork, every hour of every day of your life and never run out of options. And we’re making more all the time! You can also watch fictional events unfold on an electronic “stage” in your own home, changing the actors and storylines with the push of a button. This is a very popular activity among our guests.

Truly incredible technologies, everywhere. Medical advancements that can double your life expectancy. Futuristic machines that can perform most of your cooking, cleaning, and thinking duties for you. You may be able to leave manual labor behind almost entirely! But don’t worry — with all your extra energy you can still keep your body in shape, by performing non-productive manual labor such as moving weighted steel rods up and down, or running circles around your neighborhood, even with nothing chasing you. Effective treatments are available for thousands of physical maladies, and a small but growing number of mental illnesses as well.

freedom salsa dancingA wide variety of rights, privileges, work and educational opportunities. Learn to articulate your thoughts to others with beautiful languages, refined over millennia. Knowledge of basic math, geography, history, and science are all matters of course for nearly all of our winners, and much more advanced knowledge is always available for those who are interested. Using our revolutionary “Inter-Network,” you can even learn in the privacy of your own home. Seek mastery in one of hundreds of careers and thousands of hobbies. Shakespeare, French lessons, salsa dancing, meditation, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu — you can have it all.

Absurd levels of luxury. Enjoy material comforts the kings and queens of old could never have imagined. Hot water on demand in virtually every home, no fire necessary. Heaters, fans and “air conditioning technology” allow you to even adjust the temperature of the air itself to match your preference, any time of year. Enjoy fine soaps, lotions, textiles and perfumes. Even spices and teas are readily available, in hundreds of exotic varieties. Be shuttled around the globe in automobiles and flying machines, even if you have no royal blood at all.

Nature! Listen to birds chirping, squirrels singing, and insects buzzing. Sit under a tree and enjoy its shade and muted rustling. These simple and beautiful pleasures are available in nearly every locale, for free. Coastal regions also come with sand or rocks, salty breeze, and 24-hour wave action. There is also a significant amount of nature bird-bldgremaining outside our lovely cities. Tours can be arranged easily.

Friendly and experienced support staff. While you’re off practicing ballroom dancing or sampling exotic fruits, teams of professionals are standing by, ready to assist you in a medical emergency, rescue you from fire, clean your streets, repair broken amenities, and even help you fend off wild animal attacks-in-progress.

Clearly we must be out of our minds for offering such a rich spread of prizes! This is certainly more than any human being could reasonably hope for — and it’s all yours.

So what’s the catch? How can you offer such an unbelievable deal?

There’s no catch! At least not for you! Most of the expense has been paid by generous benefactors, hailing from previous generations, as well as today’s. Sweepstakes entry is automatic and free, and if you’re reading this, you are one of our lucky winners!  All we ask is that you don’t forget to enjoy your wondrous prizes, and that you respect our other guests.

Welcome to the future. Enjoy responsibly.

Offer may expire without notice. Please take advantage while supplies last. Prizes may not be exactly as described; some may be replaced with others for logistical reasons, but the approximate value remains the same. For example, instead of squirrels, you may receive additional birds. Bartering of prizes is allowed and encouraged.

Certain jurisdictions do not qualify. Although there are more winners every day, we are not yet able to offer the ludicrous prizes described above to all states and territories. Please consider sharing unused prizes with others. For more information on the sources of our prizes, please consult the Space Age Inter-Network.

Space Age Inter-Network not yet available in subways.

***

Photos of skyline, bulk food, and library by Jamie McCaffrey, Six El Sid, and Ben Dalton. Squirrel photo and silly graphic by David Cain.
Alex August 11, 2014 at 1:31 am

nice

eddy August 11, 2014 at 1:33 am

Maybe there should be a warning about how winning all these prizes won’t necessarily make you any happier and how you’ll have to figure out a way to go back to your roots to find peace?

Lola August 12, 2014 at 8:06 am

so true just look at Robin Williams and he had it all….

austere August 11, 2014 at 2:29 am

This was awesome!
A month or so ago, I made a list of “things that have made life easier in the last ten years”….and in India, so much has!

Albert03 August 11, 2014 at 2:29 am

The only warning sign ON THE STREETS should be that if you take the world as it is “at this moment in that surounding” and look around smiling ( let see your teeth ) … that at least 5 procent of your surounding people will smile back. And when you do this next morning again, you get this response multiplied each day again and again … the non-happy few will be stimulated and become more happy too … irreversaly making the world more peacefull

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:20 am

I think evolutionary biologists call this the “runaway smile effect”

Elliott August 21, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Really? Just googled it and didn’t find anything…this is a curious topic.

Lili August 11, 2014 at 2:36 am

There is no present, it’s only future or past.:)

Dayne August 12, 2014 at 10:06 am

Haha, almost the exact opposite of every sentiment posted on this blog. I understand what you mean though.

sally August 11, 2014 at 2:46 am

Love it! Especially “instead of squirrels, you may receive additional birds”.

Totally winning today.

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:21 am

I got squirrels! So lucky.

Darkwater August 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Hmm. Cougars here.

sally August 12, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I got the additional birds. Saw a gorgeous pelican soaring low over the river today as I shuttled my temperature controlled automobile nearby.

Flavia August 11, 2014 at 2:52 am

No, thanks!

Mike August 11, 2014 at 4:03 am

Hmmm…wtf?

Marius MN August 11, 2014 at 4:25 am

Brilliant writing. I like the small print at the end….

Spherical Time August 15, 2014 at 7:13 am

The Space Age Inter-Network is now available even in the Boston subway. :-) New prizes are being added all the time!

BrownVagabonder August 11, 2014 at 7:31 am

I have been reading a lot about ‘Infinite Potential’ in the past few weeks. While reading this post, my first thought was ‘Wow, I used to think that we are going to achieve a brilliant future in the future, but looking at all the qualities of a brilliant future, we have a lot of currently.’ We can build our own universe is what I get out of this post. What we think of, is what is we have. If we focus our attention on an amazing present with everything that we want in it already, we will have that life. We just have to remind ourselves that we are the creator of our universe. We forget that we have that power.

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:46 am

Right… we are sitting on a pile of gifts and we don’t very often act like it.

Chris @ Flipping A Dollar August 11, 2014 at 7:50 am

Thanks for a punch right in the perspective this Monday morning. I was just about to whine because I forgot to replenish the gum in my car and then I read this. *Shuts mouth*

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

No gum is a tragic development. I had that the other day after eating a salad with red onions. I hope you are okay.

StephInIndy August 11, 2014 at 7:50 am

plenty of truth and plenty of perspective here. and i realize i’m missing the mark of the post, and it did affect me deeply, but all i could think while reading and in general, is more like welcome to a planet on the brink of extinction. goodbye species of yesterday, yesteryear, and today. goodbye to one after the next, hello to unstable climate, rising shorelines, economic collapse, and a future that only seems uncertain, while sadly being far too certain.

there are movements underway for the possibility of a different future, satellite groups and individuals working for revolution. fringe orgs like Humanitad and celebrities like Russell Brand, offer hope for a future less certain. if you haven’t seen Brand with Jeremy Paxman or in A Brand New Politics with Mehdi Hassan, watch and begin to co-create a future with a better cost and hopefully, a better outcome.

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

I think it’s important not to become too preoccupied with global problems, at least when we’re not actively trying to fix them. There will always be infinite reasons to be sad and worried, and infinite reasons to be grateful. I hope we don’t miss out on the good parts just because we are so afraid of losing them.

theFIREstarter August 11, 2014 at 8:13 am

I finally got round to reading “Brave New World” recently and when you think about “now” in the above terms it is not far off what Huxley has described, albeit with way more personal freedoms and less of the totalitarian crap.
I’m not so sure we are all enjoying it responsibly but we’re moving in the right direction.

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:40 am

I picked up BNW at a garage sale recently. It’s sitting beside me. I had pretended to read it in high school once, but I do plan to actually read it.

RarelyCommon August 11, 2014 at 8:43 am

Amazing. Makes me think about what I have rather than not.

Ryan August 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

This blog post was an incredible way to start my morning. It’s such a unique perspective of the abundance we are lucky enough to enjoy. This is a great anchor for gratefulness practice. Thank you David.

John August 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

Sigh, developed world problems. Where’s the next best thing? All of this isn’t enough… :)

Joan Fennell August 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

I love this! I’m a winner! All this and more! I congratulate all the fellow winners! Life ain’t so bad after all!

Joan Fennell August 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

I love this! I’m a winner! All this and more! I congratulate all the fellow winners! Life ain’t so bad after all!

f August 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

Yup. It’s a pleasure to be awake. Thanks for pointing it out.

Free to Pursue August 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

Thank you for the reminder, including the fact that we spoiled brats take it all for granted far too often. We are winners of the ovarian lottery and are too quick to dismiss all that we have everywhere & every day.

BTW: Thanks for saving the best for the small print. Those who read every word reap the rewards.

David Cain August 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

Squirrels, everywhere. What unbelievable good fortune.

tallgirl1204 August 11, 2014 at 10:51 am

…”running circles around your neighborhood, even with nothing chasing you.”

Made me snort my coffee. Thanks!

Rebecca August 11, 2014 at 11:12 am

Great post! There IS one hefty price we pay, though, that I’ve been noticing more and more lately. Do you know there’s almost nowhere you can be without hearing the sound of at least one motor? (In our everyday lives, that is. Far out in the woods is another matter.) Sometimes I long for the sounds of nature, without manmade “music.”

NickG August 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

For some of us, far out in the woods IS our everyday lives. What ever you want, the great future can provide!

David Cain August 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

Yes, I have definitely noticed that. I wrote a post about that exact thing a few years ago:

http://www.raptitude.com/2011/06/when-the-power-goes-out-for-good/

Linda Myers August 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for the perspective!

Ed Herzog August 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm

No squirrels where I live! And boy do I miss them!

Anyway, quite an interesting post. I think the basic premise is true…that we live in a world in which we have a lot to be grateful for and that we are indeed the lucky ones. At the same time, I feel we have a responsibility to those who are living in far worse conditions. Sadly there are billions of them throughout the world. I can’t help all of them by myself but I can do my part.

Michelle Kowalski August 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm

The first part of what you say is, to me, what David is saying between the lines every step of the way with this post. The second part of what you say, thanks for articulating this crucial corollary of how lucky we are.

Garrett August 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

Agreed, Ed. And it’s important to recognize the excess we expect and demand is, in fact, part of the reason why others suffer so greatly. “Live simply so that others may simply live.”

Duska Woods August 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

Ed, I couldn’t agree more, there is much we can do for this plantet and our hungry and homles people. Being grateful for what we have in not mutually exclusive to be aware and feel responsability for those who are suffering and have less…we are one and only spices that have to take care of one another if we are to survive. I do not know about this generation, but I do not see the same involment in current problems we are facing as the previous one. Everybody seems satified with their toys without even being aware that they stand on the shoulders of the many generations that fought and paid a high price for the privilages that many enjoy today. I do not see any protests for the cprporate greed and the enviroment for example. Everybody sits nice and cushy until their personal life start to get effected, but by then it might be be too late. Frankly I do not see what does this generation stands for, do you?

kate August 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm

just a horse and buggy, please

David Cain August 12, 2014 at 8:59 am

Try Pennsylvania

Julia G August 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Simply brilliant! I just discovered your site today. What a treat. Thank you for sharing your lovely perspective, wrapped in humor, for the benefit of many.

Randy Hendrix August 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Julia…you have no idea what you have stumbled upon…sign up for Raptitude emails…read all of David’s past articles…purchase his recently released guide, “You Are Here”…your life will change…just saying.

David Cain August 12, 2014 at 9:00 am

Aw thanks Randy. Welcome, Julia.

Randy Hendrix August 11, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Another amazing article and perfect way to start the week! Kind of makes you wonder why so many people are sitting around waiting for things to get better.
The present is all there is!
Thanks David

Michelle Kowalski August 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Careful! You can’t POSSIBLY keep up this level of quality. This post is over-the-top magnificent. But then a lot of them are. That’s one stellar insight-and-perspective machine you got under your hat. And the comments. Sheesh – a cornicopia of riches right here. “winners of the ovarian lottery” indeed – very apt description.

David Cain August 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

Thanks Michelle. I’ll work on bringing the quality down immediately.

Michelle Kowalski August 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

Ha! Funny man. HERE is a magnificent companion piece. Seriously, you’re going to love this girl: Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt – http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/

Carolyn August 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Thank you!
Brilliant and clever reminder of all we have to be grateful about and take so much for granted.

Chris August 12, 2014 at 11:44 am

brilliant! great packaging on important, but easy to forget content.

Sebastian Aiden Daniels August 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Moral of the story? Be grateful for what we have in our life. Today’s world is far better than 2000 years ago. It is better than it was 50 years ago when women and minorities were seen as second class citizens. We still have issues, but we should appreciate what we do have : D.

Thanks for the reminder.

9OS August 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm

David, I’ve claimed my prizes but my erection has lasted more than 4 hours. What should I do to resist adaptation to this state of gratitiude?

Adam Kaningher August 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm

This really might be your best article ever. I love this one so much.

susurrus August 13, 2014 at 5:06 am

My father was keen on reminding us that the luxuries of yesterday have become the necessities of today. See Dad, I was listening.

dave mills August 13, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Reminds me of the Dylan lyric: “It frightens me, the awful truth of how sweet life can be.”

Dave August 15, 2014 at 7:04 am

I get Space-Age Inter-Network in the Subway (4G LTE xD)

Leigh Shulman August 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

Well said, Mr Cain. Well said. How easy it is to forget what we have.

Jacob @ ERE August 19, 2014 at 1:20 pm

But wait … there’s a catch.

That whole most-expenses-paid deal. Well, that was actually a credit line. You have to pay it back. But don’t worry, you will be put in a work-house where you will spend most of your daylight hours during the best years of your life. Being that our futuristic society loves freedom, you have the freedom to choose any work-house you want. You can choose the click-at-spreadsheets work-house or maybe the design-another-useless-gadget work-house or any of the other number of specialized work-houses. You do have to go though. You shouldn’t feel too bad. Everybody else has to go too, so you’ll have at least as much freedom as everyone else. In that regard, you won’t even notice what you’ve lost. It’ll be the new normal.

And while you’re sitting there passionately spending a full day at work constructing pivot tables for your manager who just needs a two page summary of some profit numbers (any numbers really) so she can summarize them in two lines for her manager, etc. for a 3 minute board presentation you’ll slowly develop exciting new diseases. You’ll begin to complain about weight gain from too much sitting around. Walking more than one mile will begin to seem like an accomplishment and you will begin to spend your spare time training for abilities you used to take for granted (such as running 5km straight). You’ll acquire exciting new diseases such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, Lyme disease, … that used to be unknown to you. Every morning you will open anywhere from 1 to 4 orange canisters and swallow a bunch of pills in order to slow down the rate at which you’re slowly killing yourself.

Late afternoon or early evening you will come home and see your children for a couple of hours. Most likely you will end up with few real friends because you only have time to interact with people at work and you change jobs every two years anyway to stay one step ahead of the latest round of lay-offs. Fortunately, TV serials provide you with new “virtual friends”. Every night you can sit in front of the TV and follow the exciting lives of your new virtual friends. You’ll enjoy their happy moments along with them and be sad when they die. You’ll never have a conversation with them but you’ll feel closer to them than your neighbors, which might scare you if they don’t look exactly like you.

You can have all the fun money can buy. Just as you arrive to the future you will marvel at all the things people no longer do for themselves. Instead most people do just two things. They work. And they buy. They buy stuff. They buy things. They buy services. They buy entertainment. But mostly they just buy. They rarely make things. They rarely think. They rarely sing. They rarely invent things. They rarely fix things. They rarely grow things… This much preferred strange new activity is called shopping. People in the future love shopping but they don’t love much else. That’s mostly because they’ve forgotten that other activities once existed—not even a hundred years ago; how quickly we forget in these modern times. Sometimes, though, they do pay to watch other people on TV doing such activities. This is called Reality TV, mostly because it has very little to do with present reality.

Once you’ve spent the best years of your life filing TPS reports, you can look forward to being old. The future doesn’t really value the wisdom that old people used to develop back in the days. In the future, new is good and old is obsolete. If you’re lucky all those years spent in an office cheap doing a very limited set of actions won’t complete have atrophied your mind and body and you will enjoy a few years as an “active retiree”. Eventually, however, your death will be a long drawn out process of increasingly heroic and medicated interventions that will take years or even decades. Usually people are put in homes for that so the rest of the people in the future are free to ignore them.

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist :) )

Eli Inkrot August 25, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Nice concept. Reminds me of a Warren Buffett quote: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

jill britz August 30, 2014 at 8:28 am

I cannot WAIT to read this to my children. My 11-year-old will love this. (We die on the gratitude/positive perspective mountain, yes we do.)

Thank you for this day-maker. I like it where you live! (It looks like my place in the world, too.). :)

C. Devitt September 3, 2014 at 4:00 am

An excellent piece to read every time we find ourselves complaining about something trivial. :-)

Deserttrek September 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

the unicorn herd outside my window is lovely and the winged monkeys are keeping them safe.

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