Contemporary Futurist Thought
  
Contemporary Futurist Thought
Science Fiction, Future Studies, and Theories and Visions of the Future in the Last Century
Published:
1/29/2012
Format:
E-Book
Pages:
1
ISBN:
978-1-46780-595-7
Print Type:
B/W

Contemporary Futurist Thought describes recent thinking about the future, dealing with both the hopes and the fears expressed in modern times concerning what potentially lies ahead. There are many such hopes and fears – perhaps an overpowering number, competing with each other and swirling about in the collective mind of humanity. Psychologist and futurist Tom Lombardo describes this mental universe of inspiring dreams and threatening premonitions regarding the future.

 

The book begins with an in-depth examination of the highly influential literary genre of science fiction, which Dr. Lombardo identifies as “the mythology of the future.” He next describes the modern academic discipline of future studies which attempts to apply scientific methods and principles to an understanding of the future. Social and technological trends in the twentieth century are then reviewed, setting the stage for an analysis of the great “contemporary transformation” occurring in our present world. Given the powerful and pervasive changes taking place across the globe and throughout all aspects of human life, the questions arise: Where are we potentially heading and, perhaps more importantly, where should we be heading? The final chapter provides an extensive review of different answers to these questions. Describing theories and approaches that highlight science, technology, culture, human psychology, and religion, among other areas of focus, as well as integrative views which attempt to provide big pictures of all aspects of human life, the book provides a rich and broad overview of contemporary ideas and visions about the future. In the conclusion, Dr. Lombardo assesses and synthesizes these myriad perspectives, proposing a set of key ideas central to understanding the future.

 

This book completes the study of future consciousness begun in its companion volume, The Evolution of Future Consciousness. These two volumes, rich in historical detail and concise observations on the interrelatedness of a wide range of interdisciplinary topics, are a significant contribution to the field of future studies and a valuable resource for educators, consultants, and anyone wishing to explore the significance of thinking about the future.

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA"><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt">This book is a study in contemporary thinking about the future, dealing with both the hopes and the fears expressed in modern times concerning tomorrow. There are many such hopes and fears – perhaps an overpowering number, competing with each other and swirling about in the collective mind of humanity. But as Ortega y Gasset points out, the distinctive quality of humankind is our capacity and inclination to invent and attempt to create imagined futures. We live in a mental universe of inspiring dreams and threatening premonitions regarding what lies ahead. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt">In looking at contemporary ideas about the future, I first examine science fiction and the discipline of future studies, two of the most popular and influential approaches to the future in present times. Next I describe major social and technological trends in the twentieth century, the impact of such trends upon human society, and extrapolations into the future regarding where these trends may lead. Finally, I review and compare a great number of contemporary theories and paradigms of the future, attempting to describe the main belief systems about the future and the main implications and predictions that follow from these different belief systems. I conclude with a summary of what I believe are the most important and valid points to keep in mind when we think about the future. <o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt">This book is a continuation and completion of my historical and theoretical study of future consciousness, begun in my book<B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="COLOR: blue">,</SPAN></B> <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Evolution of Future Consciousness</I>. In <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Evolution of Future Consciousness</I><SPAN style="COLOR: blue">,</SPAN> I examined the psychological make-up<B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="COLOR: blue">,</SPAN></B> benefits<B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="COLOR: blue">,</SPAN></B> and functions of future consciousness and I traced the development of future consciousness from prehistoric times up to the end of the nineteenth century. Although there are many connections between earlier thinking on the future and theories and approaches that have emerged in the last hundred years, I will start this book afresh, without assuming any knowledge on the reader’s part of what I covered in the previous book. This book can be read independently, though I will frequently make reference to ideas and themes within the earlier book. The reader may wish to go back to the first book to follow up on references from this book. <o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt">I should at the onset<B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="COLOR: blue">, </SPAN></B>however, provide a definition of the expression “future consciousness.” In <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Evolution of Future Consciousness</I>,<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> </I>I defined future consciousness as “the total set of psychological abilities, processes, and experiences that humans use to understand and deal with the future.” There is nothing strange or mysterious about this meaning that is given to the expression “future consciousness” and in fact, as I have argued, future consciousness is a basic human capacity that is absolutely essential to successful everyday living. As I traced the development of future consciousness from its most primordial and basic origins in the previous book, in this present volume I look at the complex and expansive array of concepts, principles, and theories that make up contemporary future consciousness. Our future consciousness continues to evolve, in response to the complexities and rate of change in our present world, and thus our hopes and fears – our optimism and pessimism concerning tomorrow – expand and grow as we journey into the new millennium. <o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt">Why should we be interested in thinking about the future, and in particular, why should we be motivated to understand the rich and often confusing “swarm” of contemporary ideas and theories about it? In <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">The Evolution of Future Consciousness</I><SPAN style="COLOR: blue">,</SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> </I>I discussed in depth the values of future consciousness, of which there are many. As I stated in that book, the future is the only game in town and humans, by their very nature, think about the future and direct their behavior as a consequence of such thinking. It is hopes and fears – the emotional dimension to thinking about the future – that move us (and in some cases paralyze us). Concerning contemporary theories - these are the ideas and ideologies that will influence the future direction of humanity – the world in which we will all live. Such theories give us a sense of direction for our lives, as well as a sense of what potential challenges and dangers we may face.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P>  </SPAN></SPAN>

Tom Lombardo, Ph.D. is the Faculty Chair of Psychology, Philosophy, and Integrated Studies at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the University of Minnesota and a graduate fellow of Cornell University. He has served as the Chief Psychologist and Educational Director at John Madden Mental Health Center, the Dean of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, and the Chair of the Psychology Instructional Council at Maricopa Community Colleges. His book The Reciprocity of Perceiver and Environment is the best selling volume in Lawrence Erlbaum’s Resources in Ecological Psychology and has been translated into Japanese.

Dr. Lombardo is an award-winning educator with over thirty years professional experience. He has supervised college faculty, designed innumerable college courses, as well as complete undergraduate and graduate programs. His disciplinary background is very broad and highly integrative. Aside from psychology and philosophy, he has extensively studied intellectual history, evolutionary theory, cosmology, the philosophy of time, science fiction, and most recently futurist literature, ranging from the future of science and technology to the future of human society, culture, and religion. He has worked in academic, clinical training, and mental health settings, and is well versed in theories and practices of human growth, personal development, and self-fulfillment.

Tom has been designing and teaching college courses and giving professional presentations on the future for the last dozen years. He is a regular contributor to the World Future Society conventions. His most recent publications include “Evolving Future Consciousness through the Pursuit of Virtue”, “The Value of Future Consciousness”, and “The Pursuit of Wisdom and the Future of Education” published in the annual World Future Society Anthologies, and “Thinking Ahead: The Value of Future Consciousness” published in The Futurist.  Also, he has recently published two articles “Accelerating into the Future” and “The Future Worlds of Science Fiction: Simmons’ Hyperion Epic” in the World Future Society newsletter Learning Tomorrow. He is a member of the World Future Society and the World Future Study Federation, an Affiliate of Communities for the Future and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, and an Educational Advisory Board Member for the Acceleration Studies Foundation.  His website The Odyssey of the Future (www.odysseyofthefuture.net) contains a wealth of informational resources on the study of the future. Within the last year, Tom has given presentations on “The Pursuit of Wisdom and the Future of Education” at the School for the Future in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, “Science Fiction as the Mythology of the Future” at the NASA Contact Conference and the World Future Society, “Evolving the Mind: The Future of Psychology” at the UCLA - Los Angeles Future Salon, and “The Future of Science, Religion, and Spirituality” at the World Future Society. Beginning in the fall of 2005, Tom started a Phoenix Future Salon in partnership with the Acceleration Studies Foundation. 

 
 


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