The Unpredictable

Starting from birth, humans, as born beings, introduce beginnings into the world, whether they want to or not. Since each and every one is always related to others who seize what has been started and pursue it on their own initiative, nobody can ever control the outcome.

The declining symbolic order suggests that things should only be done if the result is „under control.” But to conceive of human living together as something that can be planned or manufactured like a chair or table is unrealistic. Indeed, I can try to give a certain stability to the future through promises, treaties, plans, laws, and other interpersonal arrangements. Nevertheless, to live and act means constantly taking risks, that is to trustingly embark on an unpredictable future.

The fact that the future ultimately escapes from planning and erecting is, on the one hand, the reason why human existence is always connected with a certain fear. On the other hand, as nothing ever is a repetition in a strict sense, and no one knows what will happen tomorrow, this insight can also liberate for bold action: Since every moment contains an abundance of intangible possibilities, it is possible and makes sense to bring unusual desire into the world, hoping that it will be picked up by others and carried forward in the direction of the good life that no one has under control.

The fundamental unpredictability of the future reminds us to be cautious when dealing with technologies whose consequences cannot be assessed and which extend far into the future, such as nuclear, gene, or nanotechnologies.

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