Thinking about the future
I believe we are living at a time of accelerated cultural change, as we approach the culmination of a 300-year transformation of social and economic life on planet earth. During this time the human population jumped from its earlier static level of less than a quarter of a billion people worldwide, to its present level of 7 billion people and still rising. Previously unimaginable technologies appeared during this period, giving the human race unprecedented new capabilities, for good or ill.
The present moment is full of peril but also great promise. The planet has been profoundly depleted in the making of what may yet prove to be a cosmic springboard for humanity. Yet at this moment we cannot be sure of the outcome: a few missteps and the springboard may turn out to be more like a cliff edge. The 300-year run-up may simply be the prelude to planetary ecological disaster. Like a rocket at take-off the one-time burn of resources may lift us into high orbit, or may end in catastrophic disintegration.
Attempts to think about the future at this juncture polarize more strongly than ever before between fear and hope. Yet finding a basis for hope is surely the most constructive response, the one most likely to contribute to a favourable outcome, even if the case for optimism cannot be proved in advance.
Much of the material on this website represents an effort to understand the present human situation and from that to seek a basis for optimism, an approach I think of as ‘deliberate optimism.’ To the degree that it is successful, I hope it can contribute to the making of a better world.