Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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History, future studies.  ---  .This section is about future studies.  Topics include:   ---  1/24/2006

History, future studies.  ---  (1) All planning is future studies.  We are all engaged in future studies.  (2) All memory is history.  We are all engaged in historical studies.  ---  11/15/2000

History, future studies.  ---  (1) If trends stayed the way they are today, then how would things play out in 10, 100, or 1000 years?  (2) What has been the trend in the last 10, 100 and 1000 years?  How will that trend continue?  (3) What are the current known probabilities (ex. of earthquakes)?  (4) What unknowns could occur?  (5) Predictions for the next 10, 100 and 1000 years, in all subject areas.  ---  1/20/1999

History, future studies.  ---  (1) Imagining future possibilities.  This is do-able.  (2) Figuring future probabilities.  This is a little bit tougher.  (3) Predicting the future.  This is very difficult.  ---  6/6/2004

History, future studies.  ---  (1) Living in a time of change.  (A) Contra: living in a time of change can be unpredictable, stressful and anxious.  (B) Pro: living in a time of change makes you feel like you can change things, which makes you feel more empowered and useful.  (2) Living in times of little change.  (A) Pro: living in times of little change gives one a feeling of predictability, security, safety and laziness.  (B) Contra: Living in times of little change makes you feel like you cannot change things, which produces learned helplessness and resignation.  ---  8/6/2001

History, future studies.  ---  (1) Personal future studies.  Where do I want to go in life?  What are my goals?  How to get to where I want to go?  (2) Global future studies.  What kind of world do we want to live in?  How far is the world to where we want it to be?  How to get the world from where it is to where we want it to be?  ---  6/6/2004

History, future studies.  ---  (1) The art, philosophy and science of the future.  (2) The future viewed in terms of systems theory.  (3) As Proust is an artist to the past, who is an artist to the future?  ---  4/30/2005

History, future studies.  ---  (1) The opposite of memory or thinking about the past would seem to be thinking about one's future (forecasting conditions and planning goals).  When it comes to thinking about one's future, the tendency is to think about the future of the world in addition to oneself.  This is different from thinking about one's past, which most people do without much thought to the world that they lived their past in.  (2) When it comes to thinking about one's own future, a person can make the same mistakes that people make when they think about the future of earth in general.  (A) Utopianism: believing everything is going to be perfect.  (B) Dystopianism: believing everything is going to be awful.  (C) Stasis-ism: believing everything is going to be exactly as it is now.  (D) Different-ism: believing everything is going to be totally different than it is now.  ---  2/8/2001

History, future studies.  ---  (1) What is the percent of time a person or society spends thinking versus not thinking?  (2) What is the percent of time a person or society spends thinking about the past, present and future?  One wants to have a healthy balance among thinking of the past, present and future.  Not thinking about any too little or too much.  (3) What is the person's or society's general attitude toward the past, present and future?  Attitudes about the past include the views that thinking about the past is useful or useless.  Attitudes about the present include the views that thinking about the present is useful or useless.  Attitudes about the future include the views that thinking about the future is useful or useless.  (4) History is about time, change, and the human experience of time.  (See also: Psychology, temporal thinking.  See also: Philosophy, time.  See also: Philosophy, change.)  ---  4/30/2005

History, future studies.  ---  (1) Where are things headed?  What are the trends?  The trends are human over-population, decreasing resources, and increasing pollution.  (2) What do we want to happen?  What are our goals?  Our goals are environmental sustainability and social justice.  ---  5/27/2007

History, future studies.  ---  Another mistake some people make is thinking the future is entirely predictable.  These people make detailed, long-term plans, without any contingencies.  These people become disconcerted when things do not go as they predicted and planned.  The future is not entirely predictable.  Learn to go with the flow.  ---  10/31/2001

History, future studies.  ---  Contingency planning.  "If W happens I will do X.  If Y happens I will do Z."  ---  6/6/2004

History, future studies.  ---  Fatalism, the view that the future is predetermined and unavoidable, is a very unhealthy attitude to take about the future.  On the other hand, to think that the future is completely random, totally beyond our influence, is also a false and unhealthy attitude.  We can influence the future, we do have some degree of control.  People who believe the above false views stop thinking about the future and stop working toward the future.  ---  10/31/2001

History, future studies.  ---  Future end games: immortality or extinction.  ---  5/16/2004

History, future studies.  ---  Future studies and trend spotting, and current events are areas that are just as important as history and spotting trends in history.  ---  12/29/1997

History, future studies.  ---  Future studies is about forecasting and planning.  ---  11/13/1999

History, future studies.  ---  Future studies is as important a subject as history.  Some people ignore future studies.  ---  4/16/2006

History, future studies.  ---  Future study is more important than history during fast changing times.  They should teach kids future studies more than history in school.  ---  08/17/1997

History, future studies.  ---  Future.  Philosophy about present and future situations and problems.  (1) Nuclear weapons.  (2) Environmental issues.  (3) World government.  (4) Computers.  (5) End games.  ---  09/08/1993

History, future studies.  ---  Future.  What can we expect from: (1) Medicine: To never get sick, to never die, and to be big and strong.  (2) Psychology: super genius, peak performance, unrepressed and mentally healthy. (3) Technology: Ease and leisure time.  Etc. for all subject areas.  ---  08/04/1993

History, future studies.  ---  Future.  Who knows what the future will bring?  It is exciting, scary, curious, the unknown.  ---  12/30/1992

History, future studies.  ---  Historians deal with what has been.  Futurists deal with what may be.  Futurists deal with the imaginable.  This is a very useful task.  Many types of groups of people function as futurists.  The science fiction writers are great futurists.  The philosophers who deal with hypotheticals are often futurists.  The dreamers and the poets are futurists, and they are working as hard as the practical realists.  ---  3/13/2000

History, future studies.  ---  If history has a weight, does not the future also have a weight?  Yes, the future does have a weight.  ---  11/17/2005

History, future studies.  ---  Make future predictions for all subject areas, for 10, 50 and 100 years from now, for best, worst and most likely occurences.  ---  9/10/2005

History, future studies.  ---  Methodology of future studies.  (1) Imagine all the possibilities.  (2) Imagine best goal states to attain.  Figure out how to attain them.  (3) Imagine worst states to avoid.  Figure out how to avoid them.  ---  8/6/2000

History, future studies.  ---  Predicting dice roll probabilities is easy because you know all the possible outcomes.  Predicting the future is not easy because all the possible outcomes are not known.  Predicting the future is not like predicting dice rolls.  ---  4/16/2000

History, future studies.  ---  Science and technology shapes the future more so than politics and law or economics and business.  There are several arguments why: (1) Politics, law, economics and business are only rules that we decide on.  We can set the rules and we can change the rules.  Science and technology is discovery and invention.  Once discovered or invented, things cannot be un-discovered or un-invented.  (2)  Plus the fact that technology determines the types of politics and business systems possible.  (3) I say this in spite of the fact that politics can try to outlaw technology.  And I say this in spite the fact that economics determines if technologies can be produced or purchased, as far as money goes.  Because both politics and economics can be circumvented.     PART TWO. What are the technologies that will shape the next 100 years?  Most likely, genetics and computers.  ---  3/5/2002

History, future studies.  ---  Some people say the future is not predictable so it does not even pay to think about it.  They say that previous attempts to predict the future have failed, so don't even try.  What might be the self-interested bias of someone who would make such a statement?  They might be near-sighted or myopic.  They might be conservative traditionalists who fear change.  They might be interested in short term exploitation of non-renewable resources.  They might be biased against the future because they want to keep the status quo because it suits their self interests.  They might be trying to selfishly sandbag you in that they don't want you to think about the future but meanwhile they themselves are diligently preparing for the future.  ---  7/24/2004

History, future studies.  ---  The degree of confidence with which you can say what will and will not happen in the world tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, etc..  The statistical probabilities of what will occur, based on the recent past.  ---  2/24/2002

History, future studies.  ---  The further you look into the future the harder it is to predict.  ---  2/24/2002

History, future studies.  ---  The future of humanity, if humanity has a future, is a global, peaceful, ecologically sustainable, social justice pursuing, intelligent people.  That is to say, progressives and hippies are the future.  On the other hand, if humanity is on a course of destruction, it will mean conflict, war, ignorance and intolerance.  That is to say, the neo-con path leads to destruction of the earth.  ---  11/11/2005

History, future studies.  ---  The limits of technology.  Many futurists can be categorized as either techno-utopians or techno-dystopians.  An example of a techno-utopian is Ray Kurzweil.  An example of a techno-dystopian is Bill Joy.  However, both techno-utopians and techno-dystopians assume that technology will be the primary driver of events in the future.  That assumption may not hold.  Things other than technology may have a greater effect on future events.  For example, the environment, politics and economics may play a greater role in shaping the future than technology.  The future I would like to see is a future of environmental sustainability and social justice.  If people are poor, or sick, or uneducated, or politically oppressed, or economically exploited, and thus unable to get and use technology, then the predictions of both the techno-utopians and technodystopians will not come to pass.  ---  5/13/2007

History, future studies.  ---  The nature of the future is changing.  Once there was two types of future: (1) The future of your maximum possible life span (example of 50 to 100 years) vs. (2) The future of everything after you are dead.  Once people cared only about their own life span and they did not care about much after that.  However, today, technological advances are making possible the thought that humans can conceivably live much longer.  Humans may perhaps live to be 250, 500 or even 1000 years old with the aid of gene therapy, organ transplant, etc.  When this is possible, and even when just the serious thought of this is possible, it changes the attitude of people towards the future.  It changes the way we conceive of the future.  It changes our relationship to the future.  ---  1/30/2002

History, future studies.  ---  Three possibilities.  (1) Things are getting better.  Things are improving.  Progress is being made.  (2) Things are getting worse.  Fight a rearguard, delaying action.  Guerrilla resistance.  (3) Things staying the same, same level of good and bad, just a different situation.  ---  1/20/2006

History, future studies.  ---  Time thinking.  Specific ways to do future studies.  Where is the world headed in all subject areas?  How quickly?  How sure are we?  ---  12/30/1992

History, future studies.  ---  Two important questions about the future.  When thinking about the future, the question "Where do we want to go?", is as important as the question, "Where are we going?", for both the individual and society.  ---  2/27/2007

History, future studies.  ---  Two parts of future studies.  (1) Predictions and forecasts.  (2) Plans and goals.  ---  2/25/1999

History, future studies.  ---  Two polar views.  (1) The future will be like the past.  The future will be a replay of the past.  (2) The future will be unlike the past.  The future will be completely different from the past.  (3) The probable outcome is that the future will be like the past in some ways and unlike the past in other ways.  ---  10/1/2005

History, future studies.  ---  Two types of futurists.  (1) Egoistic futurists: only interested in the future of their own lives.  (2) Altruistic futurists: interested in the future even after they are dead.  ---  8/6/2000

History, future studies.  ---  Types of future thinking for the individual and the group.  (1) Future thinking by the individual for themselves: Save for their own education.  Stay healthy.  Consider their own future.  Save for their own retirement.  Save for kids college education.  (2) Future thinking about the group.  Asteroid hitting earth.  Overpopulation.  Extinction of species.  Global warming.  Ebola virus.  ---  8/10/2001

History, future studies.  ---  Types of future thinking.  (1) Future of various subject areas. Examples:  Future of politics and law.  Future of science and technology.  Future of economics and business.  Future of sociology and psychology.  Future of arts.  (2) Future of a person, place, thing, event or idea.  ---  2/28/2004

History, future studies.  ---  What good is future studies, since most predictions are wrong?  The good of future studies is that it makes us think about our futures.  We focus on possibilities and hypotheticals, goals and planning, hopes and dreams and ideals, and nightmares (to avoid worst-case scenarios).  (2) Futurist authors.  Naisbitt, Popcorn, Watts and Wacker, Kaku, Saffo.  (3) Methods.  Delphi method.  Interview many experts.  (4) The further out the time frame (1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 years), the tougher it is to predict.  ---  4/28/1998

History, future studies.  ---  What is the relationship that most people have with the future?  They don't think about it because they cannot see it.  Foresight and planning are rare, highly evolved mental capabilities.  Immediate gratification is much more common.  ---  1/30/2002

History, future studies.  ---  Where do we want to go?  Where should we head?  It is a metaphor that compares physical space to actions in the future.  ---  2/27/2007

History, future studies.  ---  While some people make the mistake of living only in the past, other people make the mistake of living only in the present, and still other people make the mistake of living only in the future.  ---  11/17/2005

History, future studies.  ---  Why study the future?  If you care about future generations you will study the future.  Expanding our frame of reference, both temporally and geographically, is a sign of progress.  ---  7/24/2004

History, future studies.  ---  You can plan.  You can prepare.  You can have foresight.  You can think long term.  But life does its own thing.  ---  2/28/2002

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.