Imagining the future is central to human existence. The angels in Wim Wender’s extraordinary films “Wings of Desire “(1987) and “Far Away, So Close” (1993) reside in eternity. Their one wish is to know what it is to be human. The wish cannot be granted unless they fall into time and subject themselves to the possibility of unfulfilled desire or the yearning passion for again or more.
that we are obliged to imagine the future.
We are faced with the impossibility of a limitless horizon and so must choose. Central to the argument of the critic Harold Bloom (1994) for the importance of a literary canon is the fact of our passing from this world in three score and ten years. Had we double that time to read, he suggests, there would be less of an imperative to mark out those master pieces that one must read.
The ability to defer present and immediate gratification for future satisfactions is typically considered a significant measure of maturity. The person who makes a prudent decision on behalf of children or grandchildren whom he or she may never see is proud and admired. One of the pleasures a parent takes is day dreaming with children, partners, or friends about what lies ahead in time to come. We fantasize about how we will be as parents, what our children will look like, the kinds of lives they will lead. Indeed, we conceive our offspring imaginatively before we conceive them in flesh.
The approach to the future of people living with illness is a makeshift process that reflects the uncertainty and changes in conditions, diagnoses, resources, and support that cannot be avoided. Most individuals make ongoing adjustments during their lives and attempt to plan for that which might or might not come to pass. They hold on as long as possible to the fundamental assumptions that support their confidence or fears about what is to come.