I was daydreaming about Lucy Ricardo, played by Lucille Ball, the lovable redhead from the black and white eponymous show, now immortalized on lunchboxes and refrigerator magnets for all time.
One day, Lucy and her friend Ethel got jobs in a chocolate line. Their jobs were to package the chocolate and keep up. It’s an iconic and classic moment in television, and nothing is more American than TV. Lucy’s boss kept making the conveyer belt go faster. She thought that Lucy was doing just fine with packing the chocolates. But she was really just hocking away candies in her mouth and pockets.
Truly, a comedic homage to the invasive nature of technology, how people can’t evolve fast enough to keep up with our ever-improving machinery. This concept was set in motion decades earlier by Charlie Chaplin in the movie ‘Modern Times’. It’s about a factory worker who eventually becomes eaten and swallowed by the very machines he is supposed to oversee.
But then I let my mind wander. I thought about another Lucy, our Australopithecus relative who was discovered in 1974 in the plains of Ethiopia. She was named after a Beatles song, that as legend has it, the archaeologists kept listening to over and over at the dig site. Scientists estimate that Lucy, an early hominid, lived over three million years ago. One of humanity’s earliest ancestors.
If we use those two items as bookends, the emergence of ancient Australopithecus and the invention of the chocolate factory, then all the ‘books’ in the middle would pretty much encompass all of the human struggle.
But that chocolate factory and all of its machinery cranking out sweet, tasty goodies, came first from someone’s mind.
In other words, the present wasn’t discovered, it was invented. The same goes for the future.
There will be many conflicts and upheavals to come, many geo-political struggles, many trendy counter-cultural movements. Many of them will appear attractive and draw you in. The key will be in recognizing which ones matter, and which ones don’t.
If you want to join the rest of us in beautiful, sunny tomorrow-world, you may have to change your mind about many things and be opened to learning many others. If you want to make a difference tomorrow, you have to stop thinking like it’s still yesterday.
The bones of ancient ancestors can be discovered. Just pick a likely spot and start digging. But no one could have discovered the chocolate factory. The chocolate factory had to be designed. Someone had to close their eyes and dream up a method that could mass produce delicious and affordable treats that consistently melt in your mouth.
When their mind conceived the answer how it could be done, only then did the chocolate factory emerge.
So, what’s next? I’m not exactly sure. I can only see vague outlines. But I do know this, it will all begin with asking the correct question and closing your eyes.
It could be another chocolate candy down the conveyer belt, or it could be a whole new way to create a chocolate factory.
It’s really up to you.