a piece on the future

squed
3 min readMar 13, 2023

i sit writing this article on my bed, with a weak cough from a latent chest infection, [1] daydreaming of what would happen if it were to be shown to the world. how would it look on the website? how do i include paragraph breaks- one full break or only a half-one? is this generally bad writing that will never see the light of day? in the midst of this, i am fidgeting through tabs, rifling through playlists, and yet returning to this idea of the, ‘future’. through this cycle of wondering, however, i can find myself incapable of thinking of one thing: the future. i can think about ‘a’ future, pigeonholed into romanticised perceptions of attachment to someone who smiled at me on the bus. but never, ‘the’ future.

occasionally, i stumble across myself, thinking of this one image: a touchstone in the darkest times- of the very earth itself exploding in a comical fashion, shattering into a million tiny pieces. every time, i wonder about what life would be like on one of those pieces before the supernova. would they have known it was coming? would they have come to a solemn resignation over their fate? would they have made peace with their confidantes? all of this is distinctly alien to me- these imagined people are more like toy soldiers to me, fighting valiantly on a front line that creeps closer towards entropy. part of something that started with an end in mind. and yet, my heart still weeps for them. for a life untold, for a song never sung, for a play never acted.

this inability to imagine a future where anything remains the same, i assume, can be chalked up to the idea of ‘capitalist realism’- as mark fisher wrote, “the end of the world is easier to imagine than the end of capitalism itself”- a statement that encapsulates the point of this article the best. my daydreams, while floating up into the atmosphere, remain tethered to this ideal, and yet also constrained by another concept: i do not think that i can imagine a capitalist world going on for much longer. i try so hard, ambling through my mind for a world where i can still exist, yet am older. i can think of my ‘self’ at university, or working as a film producer, or as a screenwriter, or even as a middle-manager at a tesco, yet these perceptions are… not me. they are a different person, who looks like me, who acts like me, but does not sound, or think, or even exist, like me. they have no voice, no spirit, no soul. a husk of a human being, filled with a contaminated inkling of what could lie ahead. a vessel for something that, like the toy soldiers, begins only to end.

that isn’t the future. i try to hold on to the belief that life does not, as some argue, begin just to end. because that is a silly thing to think, and we shouldn’t think things that are silly! a film isn’t put on for the credits (despite what disney wishes), a song isn’t put on for the inevitable silence afterwards, (at least i hope) this piece of writing isn’t read just to move on to the next one. perhaps this is simply a figment of my typical atypical teenage angst, but from many discussions about our idea of the ‘future’ with my friends, this seems to be a common sentiment. society balances on the edge of ending and never beginning, lying in the ultimate liminal space- of being.

through all of this, i am not sure of what i can do about this, or if it is even a thing i should do something about. my advice? be a self. yourself? i don’t know- i don’t control you! but in a hyper-conformist society, where everything about us has to be carefully catalogued and tested and compartmentalised, the one thing you can hold onto is being. we think, therefore we are, right!! destroy the capitalist system with a thought of truth, a smattering of love, and your sordid thoughts about paul mescal [2]!

author’s [3] notes

1: i wrote this like a month ago. no longer am i ailed with a dickensian cough!

2: or don’t. a call to arms is a bit gauche, wouldn’t you say?

3: in two minds about calling myself an author but i cannot lie to you having an author’s notes section fulfils a dream of mine

--

--