Futures studies

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Moore's law is an example of futurology; it is a statistical collection of past and present trends with the goal of accurately extrapolating future trends.

Futurology (also called futures studies and futurism) is the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. There is a debate as to whether this discipline is an art or science. In general, it can be considered as a branch of the social sciences and parallel to the field of history; in the same way that history studies the past, futurology considers the future.

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

  • The generation which will come into active thought expression at the end of this century... will inaugurate the framework, structure and fabric of the New Age [of Aquarius], which will start with certain premises, which today are the dream of the more exalted dreamers, and which will develop the civilisation of the Aquarian Age. This coming age will be as predominantly the age of group interplay, group idealism, and group consciousness, as the Piscean Age has been one of personality unfoldment and emphasis, personality focus, and personality consciousness. Selfishness, as we now understand it, will gradually disappear, for the will of the individual will voluntarily be blended into the group will.
  • The ancient symbol for the sign Aquarius (into which our Sun is now entering) is that of the Water-carrier, the man with a pitcher of water. This passing of the Sun into the sign Aquarius is an astronomical fact... not an astrological prognostication. The great spiritual achievement and evolutionary event of that age will be the communion and human relationships established among all peoples, enabling men everywhere to sit down together... and share the bread and wine (symbols of nourishment). Preparations for that shared feast (symbolically speaking) are on their way, and those preparations are being made by the masses of men themselves, as they fight and struggle and legislate for the economic sustenance of their nations, and as the theme of food occupies the attention of legislators everywhere. This sharing, beginning on the physical plane, will prove equally true of all human relations and this will be the great gift of the Aquarian Age to humanity.
  • Energies emanating from... Aquarius... will (through the effect of its potent force) stimulate... men into a new coherency, into a brotherhood of humanity which will ignore all racial and national differences and will carry the life of men forward into synthesis and unity. This means a tide of unifying life of such power that one cannot now vision it, but which—in a thousand years—will have welded all mankind into a perfect brotherhood.
  • Many religions speak of the End of Days. It refers not to the end of the world, but rather the end of our current age – Pisces, which began at the time of Christ’s birth, spanned two thousand years, and waned with the passing of the millennium. Now that we’ve passed into the Age of Aquarius, the End of Days has arrived.
  • You can never plan the future by the past.
    • Edmund Burke, letter to a Member of the National Assembly, Volume IV, p. 55. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 304-06.
  • Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you -- be futurewise.
  • It is one of our most exciting discoveries that local discovery leads to a complex of further discoveries. Corollary to this we find that we no sooner get a problem solved than we are overwhelmed with a multiplicity of additional problems in a most beautiful payoff of heretofore unknown, previously unrecognized, and as-yet unsolved problems.

Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path (1981)


(full text online)

  • Neither the great political and financial power structures of the world, nor the specialization-blinded professionals, nor the population in general realize... that it is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known.
  • It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and henceforth unrationalizable as mandated by survival.
  • War is obsolete. It could never have been done before. Only ten years ago... technology reached the point where it could be done. Since then the invisible technological-capability revolution has made it ever easier so to do.
  • It is a matter of converting the high technology from weaponry to livingry. The essence of livingry is human-life advantaging and environment controlling. With the highest aeronautical and engineering facilities of the world redirected from weaponry to livingry production, all humanity would have the option of becoming enduringly successful.
  • All previous revolutions have been political—in them the have-not majority has attempted revengefully to pull down the economically advantaged minority. If realized, this historically greatest design revolution will joyously elevate all humanity to unprecedented heights.
  • All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly — right now.
  • Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment. . . . Humanity is in ‘final exam’ as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in Universe

G - L

  • The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
  • Science, and physics in particular, has developed out of the Newtonian paradigm of mechanics. In this world view, every phenomenon we observe can be reduced to a collection of atoms or particles, whose movement is governed by the deterministic laws of nature. Everything that exists now has already existed in some different arrangement in the past, and will continue to exist so in the future. In such a philosophy, there seems to be no place for novelty or creativity
  • You'll see that, since our fate is ruled by chance,
    Each man, unknowing, great,
    Should frame life so that at some future hour
    Fact and his dreamings meet.
    • Victor Hugo, To His Orphan Grandchildren. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 304-06.

M - R

  • The future is a world limited by ourselves; in it we discover only what concerns us and, sometimes, by chance, what interests those whom we love the most.
    • Maurice Maeterlinck, Joyzelle, Act I: Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 304-06.
  • When we try to imagine the distant future, we may of course imagine hi-tech gee-whizzery. Yet emotionally, we also think in primitive terms of dominance and submission, of hierarchy and power structures, superiority and inferiority. Even when we imagine future computers and robots, we are liable to have simple-minded fantasies about being used, dominated, and overthrown. Bug-eyed extra-terrestrials from the Planet Zog, too, and their legion of hydra-headed sci-fi cousins, are implicitly assumed to have the motivational structure of our vertebrate ancestors. Superficially they may be alien - all those tentacles - but really they're just like us. Surely they'll want to dominate us, control us, invade Earth etc?
  • My own philosophical position, if I may put it that way, is very briefly as follows:
    (1) I think about the future, therefore I am and can be a human being;
    (2) The future is partly knowable for man: thinking back = thinking forward;
    (3) Anyone who ponders the future will learn that this is still open to a considerable extent that can be further determined from case to case...
    (4) Determining one’s own destiny implies two things: ready acceptance of a stewardship for the future and of the duty to make a choice;
    (5) Everyone must therefore be able to have access, as soon and as completely as possible, to all available data for, and possible consequences of, this choice to be made...
    (6) For this purpose everyone, choosing in complete freedom and on his own responsibility, must be able and permitted to utilize all the philosophical and scientific thought models useful for this vital choice;
    (7) Thought models, or models of the future, are useful insofar as they can reasonably contribute towards the optimum realization of man’s future-directed wishes and actions in a given situation or period;
    (8) Optimum realization aims at a harmonious synthesis of effectiveness and justice in the furthest possible surveyable part of future time;
    (9) The effectiveness to be aimed at calls for the application and refinement of all conceivable prognostic techniques for adding to knowledge of the future, including those which can be effectively developed over an ever-wider time scale...
    (10) All objectives meet in the endlessly continued approach to and progress towards the ideal “summum bonum”, though this, the most valuable humanistic good of a full human society, may perhaps never be capable of realization in total perfection.
  • I believe Mahatma Gandhi was a futurist in the best sense of the word. He foresaw trends and had the confidence to record his predictions and prescriptions in bold and stark terms. He did so, not in a stray article or opinion piece, but over a life time of speeches, writings – and living – beginning with Hind Swaraj, the remarkable he started writing in 1909 and completed in 1910.

S - Z

  • We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.
  • In spite of the dominance of mechanistic thought in the contemporary world, a perplexing residue of the magical tradition still survives in the form of several issues, solutions to which do not appear possible within the context of a purely mechanical view of the world.... It is important to recognize that the materialist, scientific paradigm that dominates the late twentieth century world and provides the basis for its dominant institutions, has its basis in the life and work of Pythagoras, one of the most significant representatives of the perennial philosophy and a founder of the magical tradition. This spirit, which gave rise to our world view, is a spirit that must be recaptured if our civilization is to flourish. The choice is a clear one to many, and was summed up in a book title by the late Pythagorean and futurist Buckminster Fuller, Utopia or Oblivion.
    • John Strohmeier and Peter Westbrook, in Divine Harmony : The Life and Teachings of Pythagoras (1999).

See also

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