Futures studies (also called futurology 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, futures studies considers the future.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- 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.
- Patrick Dixon, Futurist and author, Futurewise 1998/2005.
- Business strategy is the battleplan for a better future.
- Reproductive futurism presupposes the absolute and inherent good of heteronormative reproduction by limiting any discourse that would counter this claim, rendering dissent unthinkable.
- Lee Edelman, in Andrea O'Reilly Twenty-first-Century Motherhood: Experience, Identity, Policy, Agency, Columbia University Press, 28 September 2010, p. 271.
- 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 Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975).
G - L
- The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
- Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future (1963).
- 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
- Francis Heylighen (2001) The science of self-organization and adaptivity p. 253.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fred Polak Prognostics, (1971) pp. 65–66.
- 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.
- Niranjan Ramakrishnan, in: Reading Gandhi in the Twenty-First Century, Palgrave Macmillan, 01-Feb-2013, p. 2.
S - Z
- Futurists and common sense concur that a substantial change, worldwide, in life-style and moral guidelines will soon become an absolute necessity.
- Roger Wolcott Sperry, Statement (1981), as quoted in the first pages of a special tribute issue of Humankind Advancing, Vol.5, No.1 (21 January 1994)
- We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.
- Adlai Stevenson, Speech, Richmond, Virginia (20 September 1952).
- 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).
- Futurists believe that accelerating and convulsive changes will characterize our world for decades to come. These will affect profoundly every political institution, and every religious institution in its mission to relate faith to societal changes. Those who enter the twenty first century can expect a continuation and acceleration of this trend toward permanent resolution.
- Norman E. Thomas, in Toward the Twenty-first Century in Christian Mission: Essays in Honor of Gerald H. Anderson, Director, Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut, Editor, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1993, p. 363.
- Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.
- It may seem like a paradox: while futurism, the singer of modernity, was able to perceive and intuit the power of cinema on theoretical and poetical levels, it did not manage to use the new means of expression as a weapon – nor did it appropriate cinema as the art form of all times.
- P. Virilio, in Gian Piero Brunetta The History of Italian Cinema: A Guide to Italian Film from Its Origins to ..., Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 54.