Future Memory

My husband just texted me that I should watch the latest Scott Adams Periscope because he discusses future memory in it. If you go to Adams’ Twitter page, you will easily find the video near the top (obviously, this is time-sensitive to this day, 3-16-2020), and then you will find the future memory bit starting about 47 minutes in. Here’s a link for those who are search-impaired: https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/1239552289037156352.

I’m a little stunned by the video. Well, not exactly stunned. I already knew that Adams believes in the power of positive thinking, that if you speak something to the universe long enough, it has a greater chance of coming to be. This is esoteric thinking, and he has no problem with it. He discusses it in his book on success. Thus, I’m not so much stunned as intrigued by this segment on future memory. Adams is an odd mix of high intelligence, atheism (at least in the past; in this video he mentions God as a concept that might be true), and curiosity. He isn’t a scientist, but if he were, I imagine he would stick to a basis of what is known to be true but would veer from it where his mind and ideas led him. He would not make his ideas public until he had cause to do so. That is my assessment, anyway.

Regarding the esoteric concept of future memory, he brings it up hesitantly at the end of the hour long video. To be fair, I can only take his word for it that he does indeed possess the ability to have visions of the future. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for a couple of reasons: anybody who puts themselves out there as a kind of “prophet” will only be successful temporarily if his statements don’t turn out to be true; I have experienced future memories myself. As for the first reason, many false “prophets” have not let the temporariness of their fame stop them from dishing out their visions, but Adams is the type of person who looks at the long view. He’s not a rash person, in other words, who is willing to go down in a bath of poisoned Kool Aid with his followers. The second is my personal weakness. If I’m willing to believe in esoteric ideas — that they are in fact real in my life — I’m more willing to believe them in another person if that person is reputable. By the way, I’ve put prophet in quotes above because prophecy isn’t simply knowing the future. It’s essentially speaking God’s word, which might include future edicts. I don’t think that future memories are necessarily something that come from God. Rather, they seem to be part of the reality of a universe we don’t fully understand.

I believe in future memories as a concept because, as I said, I’ve experienced them. I might have written blog posts on this in the past. I have more than ten years worth of blog posts; I can never remember what I’ve written and what I have not. Scott Adams calls his future memories “visions.” I don’t know that I’d call mine visions as much as I’d call them obsessions. I get obsessed with an extraneous detail that seems irrelevant. One example I like to give is the Ford Fiesta. I became obsessed with the idea of having a Ford Fiesta when all I had was a gas-guzzling SUV. I guess you could say I had a vision of a blue Ford Fiesta, but that is a sorry sort of vision. One would hope a vision would be more exciting than an economy car. I didn’t tell anyone I was obsessed with Ford Fiestas. I might have told my husband I wished I had an economy car like a Fiesta so that I could drive to the big city and visit museums and health food stores. I was stagnating in our small town, and I was ready to move on and see the world. The car was a symbol of mobility to me and that is all. But I didn’t tell anyone else. In other words, I didn’t plant the idea of it in anyone’s head. Later, when my husband was given an unexpected job opportunity in Roswell, he asked his brother to find him an economy car that would help him commute to Roswell until we were able to move. His brother picked a blue Ford Fiesta. The car is extraneous because my future memory was really about moving. I could sense a move, and the car represented that. Also, the car was a piece of crap. It caught on fire last summer and the engine burned up. It had problems. P.s. don’t buy a 2013 Ford Fiesta.

Other visions I’ve had have been similar: obsessions with certain types of houses or of meeting people I hadn’t yet met. Some of these obsessions set me up for disappointment because in some cases, I thought that God was directing me. Those have been few and far between — generally the visions of meeting people before I had actual conversations with them. Looking back, I no longer believe God directed me to those people. Not that I don’t believe God orders my steps. It’s as the Bible says, “[His] word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” I believe he will also direct us to people for specific purposes of spreading the gospel. In those cases of future memory, I saw events that were going to happen, but those events weren’t necessarily earth-shattering and didn’t involve spreading the gospel. They were just weird pre-cognitive glimpses of the future that I couldn’t put into context until later. I gave the example of the Ford Fiesta, but there was also the vision of a mid-century brick home, of tearing up carpet and finding original asbestos tile flooring that had to be cleaned up as a secondary layer. Actually, that was a dream rather than an awake vision. At the time, I thought my subconscious was telling me I had many layers to tear up inside my mind before I could reach a clean, bare state. When we eventually were in the market to purchase a home, we looked for houses with the flooring already done, but we didn’t find one (oil industry has narrowed the housing market). We instead found a house that looked like my dream, which had the original asbestos tile under the carpeting. To be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to guess this context because I didn’t want a huge fixer-upper project.

If you’ve read my book The Minäverse, you know I dealt with this concept of future memory in my main character, Oso. The original (working) title of the book was Future Instinct. While I don’t think it’s a great book — the plot barely hangs together and it could use another editing pass — it will always have my heart in it: redemption, humor, and future memory. My next book is much better as far as plotting and (hopefully) reaching an audience, albeit it isn’t humorous. And there are prophecies rather than future memories and characters I don’t love nearly as much as Oso and Gillilander. Ah, well. That’s the way it is.

I don’t know what you make of future memory. I have no expectation that you consider me anything but crazy at this point. I’m guessing, though, that most people have these little glimpses into the future without knowing the context or seeing any importance to them. Most people might not even remember or acknowledge these little glimpses. I happen to be an obsessive person, and hence my remembering them. Scott Adams might be, too. Focused is the complimentary term for it. Go listen to the end of his video if you don’t think we’re crazy. You might find his story fascinating.



  1. The term “future memory” reminds me a lot of Arrival.

    I’ve had a future memory that came true, at least in concept. I was about to call “true” future memories as a consequence of misleading vividness. But even if there’s a few visions of our lives that turn out to be true enough for us to notice them as future, then it’s still pretty remarkable.

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