If A Tree Falls In The Woods, Which Way Will It Fall?

Real estate developers and builders have every reason to predict the course of future development of northwest Florida. They will buy and sell tracts of land, buildings, and machines, based on what they think is about to happen. Some they will get right, and some they will miss. I have my own projections about development, and I intend to get them right.

Understand that I have cheated. I have as the basis for my projections several hundred years of history, and I feel so good about the projections that, like the builders and developers, I intend to put money on them.

Here are my predictions for the future of all of us, but written first for the real estate professional:

To begin, we know from population projections that the world in 2100 will have double the number of people as in the year 2000. Based on legal history, we know that as people come closer together they will make more laws and rules. For example, subdivisions have more rules than farm land. Condominiums have more rules than subdivisions, cities more than unincorporated areas.

In addition, instructions will abound. Some of us could intuitively operate a toaster or a television set even if we had never seen one. But the rules change with computers, VCR’s, and surely with the new gadgetry that we’ll see in the next century. The instructions may be so complex that we probably will need lessons to read the instructions.

My prediction is that a willingness and ability to read carefully and to understand and discriminate written words will be more important than ever. We won’t be able to let the world pass laws and write instructions and simply ignore them. If we are to cope with the new century we will do so only if we are able to communicate accurately.

As more people occupy less space, courtesy and love of others will play a whole new role. Humility and deeply instilled rules of courtesy are lessons of the Japanese who have lived close together forever. If we don’t accept each other gracefully, it’s a no-brainer that we won’t enjoy the new century very much.

Whether our role is as lawyer, realtor, or repairman (or woman), we will be held to an ever-higher standard. The quality and precision in our thinking, talking, and acting, no matter what we do for a living, will be measured and judged as never before. The plain honesty with which we deal with each other, and the patience we have for each other will be critical. We will need that patience in everything we do together, from using the phones and roads to using the landfills.

Unfortunately for the world I am predicting, God may have wired us backwards. Any football coach, teacher, or judge will tell you that a very big piece of us is aggressive, not passive. Confronted with frustration we don’t naturally become polite or courteous. The scientists among us have proven that they can change this world much quicker than they can change the people in it.

If kindergarten, the church, and family are the places we learn courtesy and love of others, then those parts of our lives will never be more important.

As I think through this message, it presents an abysmal message for me and my friends. The first is that we may not be here to see it. The second is that we actually may be.