Monday, June 23, 2014

Futuristics - 1981 to Today

Years ago in 1981, I took a college class at Ft. Steilacoom Community College (now Pierce College) in Washington state called, Futuristics.

I have no real commentary here on Futuristics or Futurism. I merely present this to you in the hope that it spawns curiosity and a consideration of our need to pay attention to the future. It may be more fun to live your life in a haphazard fashion of constant discovery and challenge, but in an overall consideration it is much better to more fully comprehend what we need to do before it happens.

Even for those who feel they have and do plan their lives out, they too are not doing all they easily could be. There surely are the outliers, but mostly we need to study the concept of Futurism in order to properly consider is ramifications. I've heard people before say they hate science fiction. That is typically your action adventure, robots and technology type sci fi.

I would suggest seeking out good sci fi and speculative fiction because in that we explore how the future, technology and possibilities will affect us. Typically and traditionally, games and sci fi are two of our best formats to test and experience our future possibilities. On top of what they propose, they can also use entertainment and humor, as well as fear and anxiety, properly place, to make a good and fair point of, what we should consider now, what we need to be concerned about and in some cases, what we need to concern ourselves with less.

It can also offer us alternate ways to think, as well as new perspectives, new anxieties, and new hopes.

The following is from my notes taken in that class. I offer it here not as a way to offer something new so much as to offer something that may be new to you, or may lead to further investigation if you find it interesting. Some of this information is dated now. The reference to Marilyn Ferguson's book has now had a chance for some consideration and critique.

Futuristics is 1. Systematic, 2. Imagining, creating, envisioning.

It is the study of past events and present problems to project possible, sane futures, in the most scientific and artful way possible\imaginable.

Components of Futuristics

  1. 1.       Systematic study of the future.
  2. 2.       Futurists propose a range of possible possibilities.
  3. 3.       Help groups find or create alternative futures.
  4. 4.       Determine which variables will predict future.
  5. 5.       Stimulate future creations or alternatives.
  6. 6.       Application of scientific method to understand the future.
  7. 7.       Consider Futuristics as an art rather than science.
  8. 8.       Emphasis is on managing the future and preparing for it.

Future Studies – Futuristics (or Futurology)

  •        An attempt to examine systematically the factors that can influence the future, and then project possible futures based on the interaction of the factors.
  •       Also, involves imagining and exploring desirable futures in hopes of discovering new ideas, new alternatives and new goals.


  1. 1.   Future is knowable.
  2. 2.   Knowledge of the future is beneficial.
  3. 3.   Future is influenced by present conditions.
  4. 4.   Humans by nature have hope for the future.
  5. 5.   People can and should shape the future wisely.
  6. 6.  Trend is not destiny.
  7. 7.  There are many right answers.
  8. 8.  We have the most leverage (impact) in the future.
  9. 9.  The study of alternate futures is a mind flexing experience.
  10.        We can no longer afford to learn inductively from experience.
Anomie – Lack of purpose, identity or ethical values in a person or in a society; disorganization, rootlessness.

Marilyn Ferguson – “The Aquarian Conspiracy

Basically our society is shifting to whole brain thinking.
Aquarian – New beginning, mind-fresh approach. M.F. started brain\mind bulletin.
Conspiracy – To breathe together; intimate, joining.

Take scientific thought along with common experience and add (1) accelerated learning (2) expanded awareness (3) powers of visualization (4) capacity to remember memories and (5) shift from left to right brain thinking.

  1. 1.       Holistic Medicine – Biofeedback
a.       Electromyography
b.      EEG (brain waves)
c.       Fingertip skin temperature

  1. 2.       Education
a.       Use one side of brain to train the other.
b.      Learning IS a process of education.

  1. 3.       Individual transformation can be achieved by:
a.       Entry
b.      LSD
                                       i.      Possible to view things in a different way
c.       Exploration
                                      i.      Try on new paradigm
d.      Integration
                                      i.      New Paradigm taken on
e.      Conspiracy
                                      i.      Join others with similar beliefs

Willis W. Harmon (electrical engineer)

  1. 1.       Incomplete Guide to the Future

a. The Dilemmas
   i. Growth
       1. Population
       2. Economic
   ii. Work Roles
       1. Unemployment
       2. Meaningful job
   iii. Distribution
   iv. Control
       1. Technical Assessment

  1. 2.       Any solution to one problem aggravates another.


  1. 1.       Trend Extrapolation

a.       Study past variables to see into the future
                                                               i.      This is the main tool used

  1. 2.       Scenario Writing
a.       Used in military, government, Sci Fi, etc.

  1. 3.       Cross Impact Matrix
a.       Principle of continuity.

  1. 4.       Delphi technique
a.       Many independent experts speculate
b.      Speculations compiled

Paradigm Shift

  1. 1.       Paradigm

a.       A tentative "ideational" structure used as a testing device to interpret reality.
b.      A way of perceiving, thinking, valuing and doing associated with a particular vision of reality.
c.       Model

  1. 2.       Paradigm Shift
a.       Radical shift in the way of perceiving, thinking, valuing and doing associated with a particular vision of reality.

  1. 3.       Models
a.       Made up of concepts
b.      Concepts
                                      i.      Pattern of thoughts developed by existing norms and values and structures.

Exponential Growth

  1. 1.       Rapid acceleration of growth in a given situation.
  2. 2.       Growth that occurs at a percentage rate.

Trend Extrapolation

  1. 1.       Projecting, extending or expanding beyond what can be known.
  2. 2.       Extraction of previous figures of trend into a possible future.


  1. 1.       Creation of rational thought designed as an aid in interpreting reality.

a.       To simplify and organize and categorize info.

  1. 2.       Good model will help you to predict and measure.
  2. 3.       When model is facilitated – some data is covered up.
  3. 4.       Therefore models can be “allusionating” and deceptive.
a.       You can eventually lose some objectivity.

Wuli – Patterns of organic energy

Transformation of Paradigm Shifts

  1. 1.       Thomas Kuhn
a.       Changes in science don’t occur on a gradual basis.

So, those are my notes from college, 1981.


What's going on today? First you can check out Wikipedia. If you want to know, check up on some of today's Futurists like:

This is a fascinating area and like good science and speculative fiction, it helps us understand new scenarios of where we are headed. How can that ever be a bad thing. Awareness is paramount to our being prepared for our future. Even more so now a days.

Give it some thought. Check it out!

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