The future is the domain of possibility. This much seems verging on an analytic truth. However, we should remember that even though the future as horizon is the domain proper to the possible, it has other constituents as well. Thus, the future is not a stuff of pure possibility; as a ‘substance’ it is alchemical, mixed, an alloy. It is in virtue of the noise of this texture that it is able to place a demand on us.
The demand of the future is the basic signal that ethics hopes to coordinate. It appears in the present before us as a problem, a repeating bifurcation. It is always vital to choose, (indeed a choice can be the only thing that’s vital), and to do so tracing what is concrete but fractured and partial in the horizon of the possible. It’s imperative that things turn out for the best. So much so that we are willing to take the heaviness of the present with all of its treasures and cut it apart at its various joints to better see in it the fractured and partial fragments of flotsam and jetsam that make up the textured horizon of the future. The model and the projection, cousins of the law and the injunction, as basic ethical tools.
A triadic constellation. A grasping of the present in terms of what is concrete within the possible, for turning out for the best. But what if none of these terms has an independence fitting enough to serve as ground, horizon, or aim? It’s imperative that things turn out for the best. This imperative would only gain an independence for the in service of which if the problems which prompted it were conditionless objectivities. Pure and wild catastrophes, ‘interstellar’ in origin. But we should remember that a crisis is always a crisis of. The texture of the future is a turbulence cast up by our activity here and now. Dustclouds that make it home before us. There is no smooth space, nor pure decision: every imperative finds its timbre in a predicament that has already burst upon on the scene alongside us and our triumphant parade of mundane repetition. A tumbling and relative motion that is the collapse of the present, that appears to us as stationary, fixed, looped. Problems are possibles in relative motion.
Cover illustration: Eduardo Paolozzi, “4 German Songs”, (1974–1976).