Friday, October 23, 2015

The Future is What You Make of It

Thirty years ago, a science fiction movie was released that was based around a DeLorean that was turned into a time machine that could traverse the space time continuum when it reached 88 miles per hour. This movie, whose script was originally rejected by a number of major film studios for not being risque enough, and was also rejected by Disney due to a plot element of a mother falling in love with her time traveling teenage son from the future, and was eventually picked up and produced by Steven Spielberg.

As I'm sure you're aware (especially if you read Joe's post from earlier this week), this movie was “Back to the Future.” This movie became the top grossing movie of 1985, quickly became a cult classic, and  later spawned two sequels. In the first of these sequels, the main characters, Marty and Doc Brown travel thirty years into the future.

Title Card for Back to the Future
For the past couple of years, there has been a countdown clock that has been featured on the side of the Mormon Geeks website. This clock has been counting down the time until the future date depicted in Back to the Future Part II, which occurred two days ago on October 21, 2015. I'd like to discuss the day after that, October 22, 2015, which was yesterday.

The clock in the DeLorean, featuring the dates traveled to
 in Back to the Future Part II
In Back to the Future Part II, after bringing him to 2015, Doc shows Marty a newspaper headline from the following day (which he obtained before picking up Marty from 1985 and then returning a day earlier), which shows that Marty's son was arrested for taking part in a theft. Then, of course, they execute a plan in which Marty briefly replaces his son, who looks identical to him (both are played by Michael J. Fox, after all), and prevents him from getting bullied into participating in the theft that resulted in his arrest.

In the original timeline, Marty's son was 
arrested after being coerced into taking 
part in a theft by bully Griff Tannen
After Marty prevents the theft, the headline changes to show the gang of bullies that attempted to coerce him into being involved with the theft have been arrested instead for vandalism and destruction of public property. This part of the movie also shows that one small choice can make a big difference in future consequences.

After Marty briefly replaces his son, it is 
instead Griff and his gang that are arrested
Yesterday, USA Today published a replica of the newspaper headline that appeared in the movie, in commemoration of Back to the Future Part II.

Yesterday also marked an exciting event that occurred in my family. As this is the same date as shown on the newspaper in the movie, I was doubly excited. On October 22, 2015, at 7:23 PM, my niece, Alexis, was born. Alhough I was probably much more excited about the link to the date on the newspaper shown in the movie than her parents (who were much more focused on the new addition to their family), my brother (her father), who also grew up watching the Back to the Future movies with me, definitely got a kick out of the connection.

Me holding my newborn niece last night, 
only a couple of hours after her birth
I've already been encouraging my nieces and nephews in developing their geeky interests. I have a history of buying them birthday and Christmas gifts with geed-related themes (granted, at times I'm just sharing my own interests with them, in hopes that they will develop an interest as well, but as we are not short of geeks in my family, they get just as much encouragement from their parents and other aunts and uncles).

Connection to Back to the Future aside, I  want to welcome my newborn niece into this world. The time of the future depicted in Back to the Future Part II is our present. Altough for Alexis, her entire future is still ahead of her, which is something I am excited for. As I think of the possibilities in store for her, Doc Brown's closing words in Back to the Future Part III come to mind, “Your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

We have all been given the gift of agency by a loving God, and that includes choosing how to live our lives. The choices we make today will determine the kind of person we will become in the future. Just as George McFly went from cowering before Biff, being intimidated and living small as shown in the original timeline shown in Back to the Future, to becoming confident, believing in himself and becoming a successful author due to Marty's influence on a couple of choices he made in the past, the same is also true for us.

George McFly in the original timeline
George McFly in the new timeline, showing the big difference making different choices made on his life
As Back to the Future taught us, seemingly small choices can have large impacts on our future. So in closing, I hope that we all will remember that the future truly is what we make of it, and encourage each of us to use the gift of agency to make it a good one.

No comments:

Post a Comment