is going to change/changes

English translation: hypotheses, not prescriptions

05:03 Jan 24, 2019
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Government / Politics
English term or phrase: is going to change/changes
Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

ELEVEN
Is God in Cyberspace?

There has never ever been a time when the human being was capable of doing something and yet, eventually, that something did not happen. That means one of three things: 1) the human psyche ***is going to change*** fundamentally (good luck with that!); 2) the worldwide social contract ***changes*** so that the “angry men” can no longer be “empowered” (good luck with that too!); or 3) boom!
—Garrett Andrews, online comment on my October 21, 2015, column on NYTimes .com

Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our [expletive] problems.
—Comedian Samantha Bee, commenting on the Orlando massacre on her TBS show, Full Frontal, June 13, 2016

I have been on the road selling different books ever since I published From Beirut to Jerusalem in 1989. I’ve given several hundred book talks to different audiences. So what’s the best question I ever got from someone in the audience on any book? That’s easy to answer. It was at an event at the Portland Theater, in Portland, Oregon, in 1999, when I was promoting The Lexus and the Olive Tree. A young man stood up in the balcony and asked me this question: “Is God in cyberspace?”

I confess, I didn’t know how to answer his question, which was asked with the utmost sincerity and demanded an answer. After all, mankind had created a vast new realm for human interaction. (If the supernova is somewhere between Heaven and Earth, who is in charge there? Amazon or God on high?) The question seized me. So I called one of my most cherished spiritual mentors, Rabbi Tzvi Marx, a great Talmudic scholar whom I had gotten to know at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and who now lives in Amsterdam. I hoped to enlist his advice on how I should respond.

I'm not sure why "is going to change/changes" is used here, not "should/must change.

As I understand the first sentence has a strongly negaive connotation, implying that if people (in the past) were capable to do something bad/horrible they eventually did it. And not to let something bad happen again, the human psyche should must change or the worldwide social contract change should/must change.

This is my understanding of the context and I can't figure out why "is going to change/changes" is used (not should/must change).

Thank you.
Mikhail Korolev
Local time: 03:31
Selected answer:hypotheses, not prescriptions
Explanation:
To paraphrase the first paragraph, the idea is that in the past, whenever people have been capable of doing something terrible, they have done it. Now we've reached the point where a single government, or even a single person, could destroy the world [this is made clear in the following pages of the book]. So will they do so? There are three possibilities:
1. People will change: instead of doing it, as they always have before, they will refrain from doing it. (This is unlikely: that's what "good luck with that!" means.)
2. Arrangements will change so that they are prevented from doing it (also unlikely).
3. They will do it: boom! Universal destruction.

So "is going to change" and "changes" express optimistic possibilities for the future that are regarded as unlikely to happen. It's true that they ought to happen, but that's not what the writer is expressing here.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 02:31
Grading comment
Thank you, Charles.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +3hypotheses, not prescriptions
Charles Davis


  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
hypotheses, not prescriptions


Explanation:
To paraphrase the first paragraph, the idea is that in the past, whenever people have been capable of doing something terrible, they have done it. Now we've reached the point where a single government, or even a single person, could destroy the world [this is made clear in the following pages of the book]. So will they do so? There are three possibilities:
1. People will change: instead of doing it, as they always have before, they will refrain from doing it. (This is unlikely: that's what "good luck with that!" means.)
2. Arrangements will change so that they are prevented from doing it (also unlikely).
3. They will do it: boom! Universal destruction.

So "is going to change" and "changes" express optimistic possibilities for the future that are regarded as unlikely to happen. It's true that they ought to happen, but that's not what the writer is expressing here.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 02:31
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44
Grading comment
Thank you, Charles.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Tony :-)

agree  B D Finch
4 hrs
  -> Thanks!

agree  Yvonne Gallagher: "good luck with that!" is like saying "Yeah right!"
8 hrs
  -> Exactly! I hear it all the time in series nowadays. Thanks :-)
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