MIDWAY : Foggy future

Someone has well said: “Heaven in her mercy to all creatures hides the Book of Fate, all but the page prescribed, their present state.” If we knew what was in store for us, life would be a living hell. After all, the lamb does not know what the next day will bring and happily grazes even in the face of an imminent death. Instead, it licks the hands of the butcher. Had it known its fate, how despondent it would be!

It is generally believed that God hides from men what angels know and from animals what men know. Sometimes we do wish we knew our future. In such a case, the great inventions of science — like Graham Bell’s invention of telephone and Charles Babbage’s computer — would not have held much significance nor would these great men have been remembered by future generations. Similar cases can be made for other fields like literature, philosophy, and engineering.

If that happens, the great human pursuit of trying to come up with something new for the betterment of the mankind would also come to an abrupt end. For we would already know what is there to know. And the joys we derive from our smallest pursuits would also vanish into thin air, with human curiosity that pushes one to take up new challenges killed once and for all.

Future unfolds a day at a time. It is a blessing in disguise. If we were conscious of the future turn of events all the suspense would be drained out of our lives. And if that happened, life itself would become meaningless. Thus, were the future crystal clear to us, we would forever bid farewell to happiness, only waiting for that doomsday when everything will come to an end.

We can take precautions against every ugly incident that will befall us in the future and adopt preventive measures.

But if we knew everything, what would we do with our long lives on Earth? It would surely be boring and tedious. Therefore, with our limited knowledge we should lead our lives as they unfold. And such is also the case with God’s other creations.

Perhaps the great English philosopher Francis Bacon sums it up the best way: “Men must pursue things which are just in present, and leave the future to the divine Providence.”