Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are you a Futurist?

The term "futurist" or "futurologist" refers to someone who is in the sciences, or social sciences, and attempts to predict the future of society or life on earth. From Wikipedia:

The terms most commonly refer to authors, consultants, organizational leaders and others who engage in interdisciplinary and systems thinking to advise private and public organizations on such matters as diverse global trends, plausible scenarios, emerging market opportunities and risk management.

I first became aware of this term while reading Sage of Synchronicity by Marcus T. Anthony. You can read my review of his book here. I remember thinking - wow, is there actually a profession that attempts to predict the future? 

Well, not only is there an emerging and expanding field of futurology, but you can find academic areas of focus directly related to many different topics that are future related. Here are some courses you can take from the Center for Future Consciousness:

  • Philosophy, Wisdom, Enlightenment, and Education
  • Mind, Consciousness, and the Future of Psychology
  • The Study of the Future, Future Consciousness, and Science Fiction
  • Evolution, Cosmology, and the Future of Science and Technology
  • Virtue, Ethical Character Development, and Ethical Evolution
  • Issues in the Future of Society and Culture

What is amazing to me is the depth of this field. We touched on this subject in college. My professors actually encouraged me to write about my views of human development combined with spirituality and evolution. I have always felt we are heading into an era where we will begin to understand exactly why we are here, and what our expectations should be of ourselves. How to use a disciplined mind to actually create the life you want to live. I believe some of them felt the same way. One professor talked about her out of body experience. The class loved it!

As the markets fell and the banks collapsed, I would tell my husband what I thought would be future trends. I knew we would be going through a drastic cultural shift, and sure enough, many of my predictions have come true. It doesn't take a genius to figure these things out - just someone who is tuned into patterns of behavior. We are all tuned into something. 

For the most part, I have been a lone voice in my life. I'm surrounded by people who believe this way of thinking to be "out there," or as my brother recently referred to it as - "weird." Imagine my surprise to find many of you actually have the same or similar thoughts. Now to find whole groups and centers dedicated to evolution, well, I am beyond happy. I feel like I'm coming home. Do you ever have that feeling when you are doing something, or reading something, and all of a sudden a light goes off and you feel illuminated? Well, that's how I felt as I read more and more about futurology. 

I have always been a fan of anything having to do with science fiction. I spent way too much time as a child daydreaming about what it would be like to live in the future. Which would explain my obsession with The Jetsons, and writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. I believe we are drawn to our "bliss" as Joseph Campbell coined the term, from a young age. But I think it's rare that anyone notices our special gifts unless it's something that really stands out. But what would the world look like if we had specific educational fields dedicated to helping a person see their unique potential at a very young age? If it was just part of the curriculum to be in touch with intention, consciousness and ethical responsibility? Would we still have bullies if they knew that what they were thinking and doing actually created their own personal experiences? How would that affect business or politics?

As for me, I am going to call myself a futurist and continue to study trends. I may even take online courses, and attend workshops here. As for educating myself, reading essays on the future by some incredible visionaries will go a long way in keeping me illuminated, in my bliss, flow, vortex, etc.

What about you? Are you a futurist? 


Brian Miller said...

i am a sci fi buff...i do tend to think of the future, thought probably not with the same depth...

The Good Cook said...

Nancy, TBHITW studies trends as it pertains to human migration. Years ago the trend was to move south - it is now reversed, people are migrating north (in the USA). Why? Water. Or I should say the lack of it. Think Nevada, Florida, California, Texas... the Mighty Colorado does not even reach the sea anymore... I guess he is a futurist and me, I'm going along with him on this one...

Nancy said...

Brian - You may be more of one than you know. Maybe in how it pertains to children?

Good Cook - I agree. We are looking to the Northwest as our retirement site. Why? Water. (Although I have to admit to some feeling of security right next to a giant fresh water (clean and clear) lake.) But I have always worried about water, which is not surprising growing up in the driest state in the nation at just 7" per year of rainfall.

Whitney Lee said...

I would love to see our educational system change. I would love to think that my children would know what profession would best suit (on all levels) instead of spending half their lives trying to figure out who they wanted to be. Have you ever read any of the Conversations With God books? One of them talks about the changes needed in our school systems and what they could potentially look like. It was fascinating and a phenomenal idea.

I had no idea that this concept of prediction could now be a learned science. You'll have to keep us posted on what courses you decide to take.

Nancy said...

Whitney - I couldn't agree more about education. I watch my grandson from a developmental point of view, and I'm astounded at this generation's ability to learn in such a rapid manner. We are going to need to change how we teach this generation of children. I would love to see them taught from a very early age to use all their senses - and actually be validated for using them.

Rain said...

Hey Nancy, great post. You taught me something I didn't know! I think that as far as being a futurist, my love for predicting weather is as far as it goes. I watch the barometric pressure and I have a "weather stick". I used to have a whole weather station set up on my balcony, maybe I'll get back into that this summer!

Butternut Squash said...

I wonder if the future might look something like the ancient past. It does seem that some very old ideas have come round again.

R.J. said...

You describe an interesting theory.Are you a fan of The Futurist magazine?

I would think of myself as futurist in terms of studying trends in a scientific framework as opposed to a religious one.

As always, you set me to thinking about stuff. It is appreciated that you obviously spend a lot of thought and effort.

Von said...

I'm quite used to pontificating about trends etc but find it much more pleasant to live in the present.Happy Easter!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

All very interesting for those in the field and for those of us who read, enjoy and wonder about it occasionally. We can't all be futurists however, as it is those living in the now that create the future.

Personal power is is the now - the present moment is the only place where you can effect true change. At times we think we could control outcomes, feel safe(r) if we could predict or pre-determine the future....forgetting that every meaningful act takes place in the now.

Futurism is also built on our conception of time. Some say time is a mere human construct, meaningless in the universe - an illusion. Those scientists would contend that time and the future are but illusions.

My little mind will never figure it all out - so I elect to live in the now ... like Von.

Friko said...

No, I am not, for the simple reason that the future frightens me. I hate to admit it, but I am glad that I will not be around for the full effects of global warming, the wars between the haves and have-nots, the emigration of peoples from the Southern continents to the temperate North, the entrenchment of vested interests and the cruelty that will cause.

I have the feeling you are looking with a far more detached and clinical eye at the course of the future than I can.

The only hope I have is that mankind will realize the direction it is taking and do something before it is too late.

Or perhaps, mankind will be able to colonize other stars and mess up other worlds.

Natalie said...

Nancy, some years ago, I had the idea to go down to my kids school and apply to be a 'LIFE' teacher.
I was planning to teach the children spiritual laws, personal reponsibility, compassion etc and life skills e.g. how to cook, use appliances, negotiate the system / advocate for themselves etc.
How to recognise, and move through grief (loss of a pet, family member, moving house)
I saw so many children needlessly suffering because of a lack of education in these crucial areas.
This is what I see for the future.

Nancy said...

Rain - Great idea! Keep me posted.

Butternut - It very well could. In fact I see more communal living and sharing of resources. Much like generations past.

R.J. - It sounds like you are one, as well. Thinking of how things evolve is worthwhile, I think.

Von - Living in the moment is absolutely how we need to be most of the time, but looking for how we would like to see the world evolve is good too. It helps us make different choices now. More of a global view of things, I think. Happy Easter!

Bonnie - Everything you said is absolutely true. It never stops us star-gazers, however. :-)

Friko - I'm hoping we can have an optimistic effect on the future by making changes and plans now. I know there is going to be some difficult years, but why not envision a new world - a better one? Can't hurt and it might help. :-)

leilani said...

Nancy, im underwater so much the year 2010 is a surprise! I can tell you though if we dont care for our ocean NOW.. our future is gonna be different! I quessd that make me a submerged futurist! =0D

Nancy said...

leilani - I could not agree with you more! It makes me so sad to see all of the garbage, oil, runoff from cities emptying into our oceans. It is so important we all do what we can: cut down on garbage, plastic, antiquated sewer systems, chemicals on our lawns or to melt snow, over fishing, etc. Thanks for the reminder.

luksky said...

Your post is kinda coincidental. Lately, my 9 year old daughter has been obsessed with the "future". She draws pics of futuristic cars, homes, etc. and questions what life will be like in the future.

As for myself...futuristic thoughts never enter my mind.

Nancy said...

luksky - Encourage her. Not everyone thinks of these things, as you mentioned. Not everyone is interested. But if it comes natural to her it's worth nurturing.

ellen abbott said...

I would say I was when I was younger. Science fiction was my reading mainstay. Now, not so much. As I hurtle into my own shrinking future, I find my self content to stay in the now.

I do have one question though...where is my flying car?

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I can so see you as the futurist, Nancy. You're on the cutting edge, for sure, with this communal idea you've got percolating. & it's no 60s commune!

Nancy said...

Ellen - I have always wanted a flying car!

Rob & Trish - Thanks. I do see it happening in the future. Sharing resources is going to be important someday.

Miss Footloose said...

You said: "But what would the world look like if we had specific educational fields dedicated to helping a person see their unique potential at a very young age? If it was just part of the curriculum to be in touch with intention, consciousness and ethical responsibility?"

It would get my vote!

Years ago I started reading Joseph Campbell, Deepak Chopra, all sorts of books on meditation, Wayne Dyer's book YOUR SACRED SELF, and a whole new universe opened up for me.

I've read that in our rational scientific society we have "bred out" our innate abilities to listen to our inner selves, our intuition, esp, whatever it is that connects us to a spiritual dimension.

I think/hope in the future our technical, scientific, prove-it-or- else society will acknowledge/prove the existence of a "spiritual" dimension.

I'd like to know how the often stunning events and experiences of (for instance) Australian aboriginal people are explained "away" by scientists.

Enough said. Interesting post!

DJan said...

Well, Nancy, of COURSE you are a futurist! Looking at the content of your posts since I started reading here, there was never any doubt. I am also interested to see where your journeys take you, because I am also a sci-fi enthusiast and a New Age hippie who never grew up!

Nancy said...

i dont know if I am a futurist, but I am a reader and writer, and I love to read about future stuff, sci fi novels, and I am writing a book based on a futuristic place where hologram vacations are the norm and someone gets lost and never comes back from there (oh and Costco muffins are not only good for you but cause weight loss and intelligence, ha ha)

Nancy said...

Miss - I couldn't agree more. We have buffered our innate abilities. In the future we may feel less threatened with allowing our senses to be used. I think religiosity in the past has taken its toll on things having to do with sixth senses. Maybe science can take the fear out of it.

DJan - Thanks! You're a great New Age hippie!

Nancy - I would definitely say, from your comments, that you have a very active and open mind about the future. Love the book and muffin idea!

Jayne Martin said...

What an outstanding post. Now I have to get that book. I remember reading Toffler's "Future Shock" many years ago. This is a fascinating field and you pose some very good questions, especially in light of the recent bullying tragedies.

Oh -- I've not got a translation widget like yours. I didn't even know such a thing existed. See how much I learn when I visit here.

Happy Easter, my friend.