Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is there a Future for Optimism?

I have been an optimist all my life!

I have worked and strived for giving every person that I meet and have worked with, a reason to be happy, to be motivated and inspired and always to look forward to a better future. It is with hard work and determination that you make it right. And yes, it is not an easy task and I wish more and more people do and act that way, but it is something that is everybody’s responsibility. This is not a single act or someone else’s job. It is our job.

But where is it all going? Will we get somewhere with this crazy and strange idea that we can all be happy and positive?

I was privileged to be invited to a private screening of the new Walt Disney Pictures movie, TOMORROWLAND. For all of us who grew when you needed single tickets to ride on the monorail at Walt Disney World or needed to buy extra tickets to get on the rides again, it was an experience like no other. Yes it was during the 60’s and 70’s when many of us went for the first time to Adventureland, Fantasyland and to the future world of Tomorrowland. We read or were told by our parents about the New York World’s Fair in 1964 and about Disney’s Carrousel of Progress and the It’s a Small World attraction. And they, and maybe we, were part of a kind of fairytale.

But as stories start to fade, so was our hope for the future. At some point in time “our” future did not start to be seen so bright and wonderful; and no more happy endings as the world entered a series of critical issues, from wars, to conflicts, sickness and disasters; to natural catastrophes, to an uncertain future. At some point in time, our future looked positive, full of ideas and innovation and optimism. But we let it go; we did not give it all our best, or did we?

There was no more a “… hope-filled future like the ones promised us in the 1950’s”, as Robert Ito wrote in his “Back to the Future for ‘Tomorrowland’” article on the New York Times[1].  But, when did this change? And Why? No one is certain of when and why our moods became negative and our vision about the future changed. Our positive view of the future dimmed and over the years, and as a result, more and more adults see the future more difficult for their children.

However, we have lived in an era of unprecedented change, growth, research, new vision, and of course, future oriented developments. It is true that we need to cope with the realities of our complex world and try to solve its major issues and conflicts, but there is hope. When we see what organizations and institutions are doing for an improved educational system for all children; what companies are doing for the conservation of our planet Earth; when we look forward to space travel and exploration beyond Mars or the research that goes into the future of medicine; or that still inventions created by da Vinci, Edison, Verne, Eiffel and many others are yet to be perfected and improved upon, we can see a better future; a new Tomorrowland.

Walt Disney envisioned a park where all the family could - together - spend a happy day; he created lands for adventure, frontier exploration, and fairytales; and of course, for a new tomorrow. He envisioned a prototype city for the future. And we can still work to create a future, our future, based on what we want and how we see it: positive and optimist

In the movie there is a very interesting character, ATHENA, played by Raffei Cassidy who believes that “it is her mission to recruit DREAMERS energized to realize the promise of a better world.” Is that only her belief or could it be ours as well?

As Tomorrowland’s Screenwriter Damon Lindeloff said in an interview: “The future is what we make of it.” We can still create our future how we want it to be; we can build our “Tomorrowlands” filled with the hopes we had before and better yet, with more optimism and enthusiasm.  We just need to work together on making it work, seeing the future not as it could have been, but as it can actually be.

And if we do so, we can start building our Tomorrowlands the way we want them to be; and yes, we can still create a future for Optimism.

"Be Inspired to Motivate". 
Luis Vicente

[1] Robert Ito, “Back to the Future for ‘Tomorrowland’”, The New York Times, Sunday May 17, 2015, p. 25, 28.

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