The Golden Path
The Golden Path is an idea brought up in the Dune series of books by Frank Herbert. It stars characters who are prescient or can see the future and the possible paths that lead to a particular end. In order to get to a ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ future for humanity the main characters are forced to take a the Golden Path, a series of actions that cause great immediate harm and suffering to both humanity and themselves but to reach an ultimate ‘ideal’ goal.
Now the idea of prescience or being able to see the future for all of humanity is a bit grandiose but I believe that it is possible to see the future for ourselves as individuals. We do it every day to a certain degree. When we are at work we think about what we’ll have for dinner or going to the bar for a beer. At night before we sleep we think about what we’ll do the following day, what we’ll have for lunch or where we’ll go. We plan our vacations and imagine sitting on the beach or visiting a museum. Each of those ‘visions’ in our head is a possible future that we can make for ourselves as individuals. The idea is that those places in time and space already exist and we just need to find the optimal path to get there.
To reach each possible point that we envision has a path or in some cases paths that we can take. Some are easier than others, but each one exists just like each possible future already exists.
How we reach that end point or goal is wholly dependent on us. It is not an issue of fate, destiny or predestination as we are the ones that make the each choice and decision that will lead there. Like any path or road that we take to a destination, there will be twists and turns. There will be unforeseen obstacles that block our way. It is however up to us to decide whether to desert the idea of the Golden Path or simply to find the detour in the road that leads there.
We all imagine a ‘perfect’ future for ourselves; where we’ll be, what we’ll be doing and in some cases who we’ll be with. Fortunately, we have the ability to actively affect most of those factors. Of course, there are limits to what we as individuals can do, but there is much more we can do than we realize.
As children, we imagined what careers that we would have whether it was to be an astronaut, athlete, movie star or something entirely different. As children, we all had some opportunity or path available to us to reach that goal. Unfortunately, in too many cases we chose different paths to take and ended up in a completely different location, but at the moment of conception of that dream goal there was a path that made that goal possible. In most cases the path was too difficult, so we chose an easier way that led to a different destination.
While long term end goals can be easy to envision and fantasize about reaching those goals and finding the path is even more difficult as we are unable to plan for eventualities that may pop up along the way.
In following entries we’ll take a closer look at if this is at all possible within the confines of science and reason and also what implications it may have on our daily lives.