Here’s how we’ll live in the future

Written by By Jason D. Jones, CNN

When Jesus Christ walked into the Garden of Gethsemane, he was met by men in white robes. Inspired by the protests in the streets, they had heard the proclamation, and they could recognize a good thing when they saw it. People said they’d heard the “worker in the vineyard” was going to lead his people back to the land of Israel.

The men fetched a Roman golden horse, and Jesus rode across the sand into the city. They spread out into a circle around him, and the Mayor of Jerusalem declared a 24-hour public celebration. The wine flowed freely. The noise blared from loudspeakers. The crowds cheered in unison. Jesus looked down from the walls of Gethsemane, saw what was happening and said, “Today is the sixth day of the sixth month.” It was certainly a happy day.

“The (man in white) appeared to Jesus with his robe sort of frayed and in need of repair,” says Columbia University professor Susan Bruce Jones. “One can guess what his higher calling was.”

This highly stylized scene, which lends its name to a song written by Marilyn Monroe about the preacher, illustrates just how close the world we live in is to the prophecy Christ walked into on that day.

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While some biographers claim “He will make everyone great” is one of Jesus’ most favorite parables, Jesus was in a uniquely powerful position to measure how the world was changing. He was in the middle of the largest social upheaval of his time.

The age of empire was ending, empire was being conquered, and the planet was getting smaller by the day. All of these changes — prosperity, democracy, science, technology, human rights — were both accepted and being changed by the year. Yet somehow, Jesus never stopped reading the climate.

Fast forward 400 years, and prophet isn’t quite the right word. Words like “turn the tide” have changed over time, because another result of “the sixth day of the sixth month” — since we create our own new stories and light our own candles, knowing that we have no one else to blame — is that forecasts aren’t practical.

“Everything starts with predictions, and it always ends up being wrong,” said Stephen Wolfram, a professor at the Harvard Perimeter Institute, and founder of Wolfram Alpha, a scientific search engine.

Still, Wolfram says the Internet has made “people a lot more willing to believe a lot more things.” He also thinks predicting the future is the common thread of all of modernity.

“As economists have advanced, we’ve told people our forecast for that particular year is very reliable because we track all the other forecast,” he said. “The problem is that science as a profession is a very recent thing; the prediction of the future is not.”

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