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The future is the indefinite time period after the present. Whether it's less than a millisecond away or a billion years, its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the nature of the reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist are temporary and will come to an end. The future and the concept eternity have been major subjects of philosophy, religion, and science and defining them non-controversially has consistently eluded the greatest of minds. It is the opposite of the past, and is the time after the present. In the Occidental view, which uses a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the projected time line that is anticipated to occur. In special relativity the future is considered to be absolute future or the future light cone. In physics, time is considered to be the fourth dimension of the universe.

In the philosophy of time, presentism is the belief that only the present exists and the future and the past are unreal. Religions consider the future when they address issues such as karma, life after death, and eschatologies that study what the end of time and the end of the world will be. Religious figures have claimed to see into the future, such as prophets and diviners. Organized efforts to predict or forecast the future may have derived from observations by early man of heavenly objects.

Future studies, or futurology, is the science, art and practice of postulating possible futures. Modern practitioners stress the importance of alternative and plural futures, rather than one monolithic future, and the limitations of prediction and probability, versus the creation of possible and preferable futures.

In art and culture, the future was explored in several art movements and genres. The futurism art movement at the beginning of the 20th century explored every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, poetry, theatre, music, architecture and even gastronomy. Futurists had passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. Instead, they espoused a love of speed, technology, and violence. Futuristic music involved homage to, inclusion of, or imitation of machines. Futurism expanded to encompass other artistic domains and ultimately included industrial design, textiles, and architecture.
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