The Image of the Future
In the past few years it has
become a more widely accepted fact that the world we live in is running
out of the essential resources needed to support our civilization. Crude
oil and all forms of energy are in limited supply. There is great concern
over the destruction of the ozone layer and global warming. While the
threat of war between super powers isn't as likely as it once was, there
continues to be the threat of limited conflicts that could escalate into a
confrontation that involved other nations, including our own. In addition,
growing food to feed all people now alive, as well as millions more to be
born, does not seem to be a realizable goal.
In addition, there seems to be tension between those who are concerned for
the survival of humanity and our way of life, and those who are concerned
for the survival of the ecology as a whole; too often the goals of these
two groups seem to be diametrically opposed. Because of these and other
factors, a wave of pessimism has been sweeping the world for the last
couple of decades.
Influential authors continue to write of potential doom for our way of
life. This call has been carried by scholars, scientists, leaders in
government and industry, science-fiction writers and many private
environmental organizations and concerned citizens (not to mention the
media which thrives on news of impending disaster). A central theme in
many of these arguments is the world cannot continue on its present course
because to do so can only lead to the breakdown of our economic system and
ultimately the death of millions of people. Most of the alternatives
offered do not contain within them ways to save our civilization, but
rather suggest ways that small groups of us might be able to weather the
coming storm. If we are to believe these authors, there seems little we
can do to escape a future that holds no hope for untold millions of people
destined to live lives filled with physical and emotional suffering and
death as the wheels of our civilization grind to a halt.
Is there any hope? Can we, our society, escape this pessimistic future and
instead enter the Twenty-First Century with hope and faith as we enter a
new age of plenty where the challenge of preserving our world and its
ecology becomes a goal consistent with the survival of humanity and our
way of life?
There are many authors who see much to be hopeful about. Authors who
believe that technology holds a hope for the future and that we may
discover ways to overcome what seem to be impossible odds with our limited
knowledge. Others believe that we are on the brink of experiencing a new
level of consciousness that will lead to the greatest surge of knowledge
and potential the world has ever seen.
What does the future hold for our society and for other societies on the
Earth? Will the actual future be closer to the doom we all fear or the
promise we hope for? What kind of control do we have over the future? Is
there anything we can do?
I believe there is. The hope for the future lies in a better understanding
of how the vision, or image of the future impacts the future itself, and
how this knowledge can be used to "create" for our society, to
help bring about, a positive future with hope and potential for
generations of humanity.