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- We use many methods for studying the future.
- Futurism is one means of examining the future.
- Is our future predetermined?
- The possible outcomes if we knew the future.
- Techniques for managing our future.
We use many methods for studying the future. We are constantly trying to predict the future: we listen to weather reports, consult with financial advisors, try to guess the upcoming lottery numbers, glance at our "horoscope" in a newspaper, interpret our dreams, attend to our hunches, hire economists, read science fiction which depicts possible futures, and use other approaches. means.
Futurism is one means of examining the future. Futurism is the intellectual study of the future. The approach is generally based on science, empirical data, statistics, and rational thinking; some futurists might allow a degree of intuition in generating predictions, but they reject approaches which are founded on mysticism or divination techniques (e.g., astrology). Futurists do not believe in pre-determined fate (secular or god-ordained) but rather in the power of human society to create its future through its decisions and actions. Futurism includes people from many fields: economics, business, politics, technology, sociology, planning, the military, etc.; this broad spectrum of disciplines results in conflicting views of the future, but most futurists strive for a wholistic overview which accounts for these different viewpoints (e.g., those from an environmentalist's perspective versus those from an industrialist's perspective). Futurism has been examined in many venues:
- Books. For example, Megatrends, Brave New World, and Jules Verne's novels.
- Films. For example, Star Wars.
- Television programs. For example, Star Trek.
- Consultations, to advise business leaders and others.
- Nonprofit organizations. For example, The World Future Society, which publishes a magazine, The Futurist.
- Perhaps the future is predetermined; we cannot control it or change it. We are moved by inevitable "fate" in a mechaniztic world in which we have no power nor free will. From this perspective, prophecy is an exact science; we know the future because it has already been established.
- Perhaps the future is uncontrollable but not predetermined. The world is a series of random events which have no direction nor meaning. Our life is buffeted by the chance occurrences of soulless matter, or by the whim of gods.
- Perhaps the future is totally determined by our actions today. This grandiose notion is held by some people in metaphysics, magick, witchcraft, and the New Age movement. However, these people -- despite their attempts at controlling the people and natural forces around them -- might eventually conclude that they have neither the power nor the right to inflict their manipulative personal will onto others. If we differentiate between "the future" and "our future," we respect the forces which are not aligned with our preferences.
- Perhaps the future is partially determined by our actions today. We recognize various factors:
- Our actions. Our archetypal fields record the thoughts,
images, energy tones, and actions which we generate in each
encounter with an archetype. These elements are our "karma";
their content and their dynamic charge will influence us to
commit particular actions, on the basis of various dynamics:
- We repeat these actions because of "habit." When we are not complying with intuition's guidance during the archetypal encounter, we automatically refer to the existing elements in the archetypal field, to determine, "how do I usually respond to this archetypal situation?" (In contrast, intuition would suggest guidance which is based on this unique situation, instead of defaulting to a generalized template of behavior.)
- We repeat these actions because of the dynamic charge which is retained in the archetypal-field elements. If we did not act according to intuition (which considers all dynamic factors in this singular situation), our actions were not entirely accurate; e.g., we did not say or do exactly what needed to be said or done. Thus, the thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions did not "connect" with the actual dynamics of the circumstance, and so they did not discharge their charge of energy. In the archetypal field, this charge lingers with the elements. The charge is so powerful that it compels us to re-create that archetypal situation for the specific purpose of discharging that residual charge; for example, we are uncomfortable until we go back to the person whom we harmed, and we say or do whatever is necessary to release the charge which we did not express in our original encounter.
- External factors which we cannot control. However, we can position ourselves within these factors; for example, if we know that the stock market will drop, we sell our holdings. Thus, we do not determine "the future" itself, but only our placement within it. Even so, our will does not totally control our placement; our karma might require us to experience the disaster, so that we can discharge a residual charge from our archetypal fields. For example, if we have been greedy, we have acquired an amount of money which is not supported by the dynamics of our life, and so we will be compelled to discharge that excess through financial tragedy. The tragedy does more than merely adjust our material situation; it also motivates us to re-evaluate and adjust the elements in the archetypal field which corresponds to what we could call the "Money" archetype.
The possible outcomes if we knew the future. Although accurate predictions are useful in helping us to prepare for the future and to recognize patterns in our lifestyle, they can -- whether correct or incorrect -- be destructive (whether someone gives the prediction to us, or we acquire it in our own way, or we give a prediction to someone else):
- Predictions can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Particularly if we are suggestible, we might begin to act in such a way that we cause the predicted events to occur. For example, if someone says that we will have a car accident, this suggestion can unconsciously cause us to drive unsafely so that we create that accident; we have accepted the prediction as a command that is to be fulfilled. We see self-fulfilling prophecies in many areas of life; for example, if a trusted economist says that the stock market will plunge, some investors will sell their stocks, thereby causing that plunge.
- The counter-measure: We develop a strong ego which cannot be manipulated by other people's suggestions. And we can view self-fulfilling prophecies as self-defeating prophecies; for example, nightmarish, dystopian predictions (like those of the novel, 1984) can be taken as warnings of events which might occur if we do not change our ways.
- The counter-measure: We can consider and test the notion that we can control our destiny, through the use of intuition and the other faculties which are listed here.
- The counter-measure: We can cultivate the same type of emotional detachment which helps us to cope with the other uncertainties in our daily life, such that we do not become terrified by a "slippery when wet" road-sign, or exuberant when a mass-mailing envelope says that "you might be the winner of $1,000,000."
- The counter-measure: We can consider that our major decisions need to be considered in the light of a variety of data (not merely one prediction) and also a variety of information-processing techniques (e.g., intuition, logic, common sense, review of past experience, etc.).
- The counter-measure: Our intuition tells us which misfortunes are to be avoided (and how they can be avoided), and which ones must be undergone (to fulfill the purposes which were listed above).
- The counter-measure: Our intuition tells us only what we need to know about the future, and what we need to do to prepare ourselves, and which details are meant to be shared with other people. We don't need to know everything.
- The counter-measure: We attend to intuition, which tells us what to say and what not to say. And perhaps we can express our insight as a mere guess, or as a logical deduction.
- The counter-measure: We allow our natural courage, patience, and joie de vivre, so that we are less fearful and controlling in our relationship with our future. We can find a balance in knowing whatever we need to know while allowing for some exciting uncertainties.
- Archetypal field-work. The a-field elements are our "karma" which will provide part of the framework of our future conditions.
- Self-talk. For example: "I accept responsibility for my life in the present, to make a better future." "I can create a future of happiness" -- or "success" or another goal.
- Directed imagination. We visualize ourselves in the material situations which will be fulfilling; for example, we might visualize ourselves in a loving relationship. We don't use our imagination in "worrying," which is the imagining of disaster.
- Energy toning. For example, we can generate energy tones of confidence, hope, pleasant anticipation, etc. -- instead of fear and anxiety regarding the future.
- The "as-if" principle. We act "as if" we have a sense of responsibility for all aspects of our life. For example, we act as if we are a person who pays bills before they are due.