Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Stop Thinking about the Future

Welcome to the Center for Future Consciousness blog. These are exciting and challenging times of accelerative change. There is much to be optimistic about and much to provoke anxiety and uncertainty. There is hope and there is fear. And there are great divisions. As the recent election in the United States has reminded us, an event that highlights the ideological and philosophical differences among American citizens and one that serves as a focal point globally, there is a struggle going on for the future of this country and the future of the world. In part it is a struggle between tradition, stasis and the status quo, and progress, evolution and the future. It is a struggle in which those who support continued freedom, open inquiry and the advance of knowledge through science and technology are frequently painted as naive, contrary to nature, and morally suspect.

Tom and I take a firm stand for the future. This is not to negate the importance of the past and the invaluable lessons it holds, nor is it to diminish the poignant power of nostalgia and memory. Indeed, we cannot move into a bright future without a grounding in the past. We cannot think of what we will be without knowing what we have been. But as Tom has said, "the future is the only game in town." Our actions have no bearing on the past and the present ever unfolds before us.

There is a great philosophical leaning toward the present these days, and many teachers, gurus and spirtual leaders argue that we should be more present-focused, that that is where our happiness lies. We are urged to live in the moment, to go with the flow. This sounds very appealing at times in our fast, frenetic, multi-tasking, attention-deficit culture. But not only is living in the present an impossibility of consciousness, (for past and future always intrude upon consciousness and the present is contextualized in the past and the future) it is the mentality of the child who does not think ahead about the consequences of his or her actions. It is a life without planning or direction. Living in the present is to be ever open to distraction and diversion. Living in the present is to cede control over your life to chance, and happenstance. Living in the present is anti-evolutionary. All of the accomplishments and things of value in life involve lessons from the past and goals and purposes involving the future. Ethics depends on a consideration of the consequences of our actions in the future. Love and commitment are only possible within the context of the future.

Thinking about the future is of the utmost importance, even if you take the nihilistic stance that you won't be here anyway in the next 30 or 40 or 50 years. Thinking about the future enhances your life now. Thinking about the future provides purpose, meaning, and direction, and leads to greater happiness and mental health. Thinking about the future, both your individual future and that of your local and global community, is the responsibility of each of us for we inhabit an interconnected, reciprocal reality.

We hope you will join us in an on-going dialogue about the future and about what it means to improve one's consciousness of the future. And we invite you to visit our website for additional readings and resources on the future at