The Future Will Be Better
The future is going to be better than the past or present.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-06-05 14:46:06 sponsor: Ekuran (last reply: 2013-10-10 12:37:42)

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As brought up in TRS, The Future Will Be Better was made without going through YKTTW and is full of Zero Context Examples. After the description is spruced up and the examples are fleshed out, this trope will be relaunched.

Hi, welcome to the future. San Dimas, California, 2688. And I'm telling you, it's great here! The air is clean, the water's clean, even the dirt... it's clean! Bowling averages are way up, mini-golf scores are way down. And we have more excellent water slides than any other planet we communicate with. I'm telling you, this place is great!

A trope Older than You Think, that of a story that informs us the future will not be full of doomsday scenarios or nightmarish dystopias, but in fact the time when all troubles will be behind us. Or, at the very least, the future will hold less burdens than that of the past.

It could also be more personalized, where the characters we've been following (or at least some of them) can at least look forwards to a better tomorrow.

This is somewhat of a generational/cyclical trope in some ways: Science Fiction in the optimistic post-WWII era in the U.S. featured easy travel to other planets, flying cars, the triumph of democracy and universally-recognized human rights, etc. Around the late 60s and 70s dystopic scenarios became increasingly common, however usually there was a hero who successfully undermined the dictators or exposed the dark secret that deceived the people, and the dystopia was overcome (Logan's Run, Soylent Green possibly with the hero's publicly-proclaimed end reveal; later, The Running Man). Around the 80s and 90s dystopian Crapsack Worlds would often stay dystopian Crapsack Worlds, with the drama centering more on heroes (or Anti Heroes) dealing with life as best they can and maybe accomplishing some bit of good in the process.

This trope is especially popular in religions. Most of them promise some sort of salvation or enlightenment for their followers if they just keep on believing in the Second Coming or whatever positive future might be coming.

Politicians also love to promise a better future when they get elected. No Real Life examples are needed.

Compare I Want My Jetpack and World Half Full, where someone longs for this to be true and where a person or group of people try to invoke this respectively. Grass Is Greener likewise can deal with characters and their delusion that that place or time that isn't now and here is always going to be better when they get there.

Contrast Older Is Better and Nostalgia Filter. Also related to Society Marches On.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • "Fate" in Magi: Labyrinth Of Magic is a force that moves the world towards a better future for people in general. However, individual people can really get screwed over by Fate and suffer horribly. The main bad guys like to track these people down and give them the ability to fight Fate—to the detriment of everyone around them.

     Literature 
  • Many fairy tales revolve around poor people whose lives turn out better afterwards.
  • In The Pendragon Adventure books the original version of Third Earth, which is Earth in the 51st century, is practically perfect. It's an idealistic paradise where the humans are entirely happy, and all of knowledge and history is easily available. However, it becomes much worse once the timeline is changed.
  • Andromeda Nebula is the paramount example of this in the Soviet Science Fiction literature, and it also started an enduring trend that many later novels followed, e.g. Noon: 22nd Century. Sadly, the process of Deconstruction began upon this trope almost as soon as it became popular.
  • From the New World: After the Crapsaccharine World's society goes to bust, Saki and Satoru know that their future will be better for their child.
  • Discussed in part three of Monday Begins on Saturday: Privalov time travels into the fictional future of mankind, as imagined by his contemporary sci-fi writers, and finds it split by a giant wall in two halves: the "World of Humane Imagination" (falling squarely under this trope) and the Grim Dark "World of Fear of the Future".

     Live-Action TV 
  • A central premise of the Star Trek franchise is that technology and science makes life better. This is among the reasons Star Trek: Insurrection is a bit of a Base Breaker, as it leans more towards Ludd Was Right.
  • In season 4 of Fringe, Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham are always looking forward to their perfect future in which they will raise their daughter and life will be peachy keen. Those who have seen season 5 know their future is quite the opposite...

     Music 
  • The "Carousel of Progress" at Disney World has the song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" (which was also covered by They Might Be Giants for Meet the Robinsons).
  • Timbuk 3's song "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades", although it's more about the singer's personal future and his plans to get ahead in life.
  • The Donald Fagen song "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)" was named for the International Geophysical Year, a series of international collaborations of scientists from many disciplines that ran from 1957-58. The song captures the Postwar optimism reflected in those times and the promise of wondrous technological marvels to come:
    The future looks bright
    On that train all graphite and glitter
    Undersea by rail
    Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
    Well by seventy-six we'll be A.O.K.

    What a beautiful world this will be
    What a glorious time to be free
  • Jonathan Coulton's The Future Soon features the now-loser main character fantasizing about his future success as a "space engineer in space."
  • The song "The White Cliffs Of Dover" by Vera Lynn.
  • "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" by Frank Zappa.
  • "The Miracle" by Queen.
  • "One Day I'll Fly Away" by Gillian Welch.
  • "We Shall Overcome" by Pete Seeger.
  • "Tomorrow Is Mine" from Cabaret.

     Theater 
  • The end of Uncle Vanya has Sonya delivering a monologue to her Uncle about how though their life sucks now, it will be better in Heaven, and they will finally get to rest.

     Visual Novels 

     Web Originals 
  • The It Gets Better Project is a series of web videos by LGBT and ally adults aimed at LGBT youth to promote the message that life will get better, even if it's really tough now. The project is aimed at cutting the suicide rate for LGBT young people.

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