“The what?!”

The blog name was coined during a class I was teaching in the Master of Strategic Foresight (at Swinburne University of Technology), on May 30 2015, in the unit FST80010 Powering 21st Century Innovation, which examines the coming Energy Transition which our global civilisation is facing in the next century.

One of the culprits was Beth Hyland (@bethjhyland), who appears to have coined it as part of wider discussion, which occurrence was tweeted soon after by Rob (@Like_Rob) who claims to have “witnessed” it’s birth, whence Beth also tweeted a definition – “an instrument of science and the future”, which I find quite resonant. The rest of the class immediately adopted the term, and it was a bit of a running gag thereafter. So much so, in fact, that these wonderful maniac students decided to immortalise the idea as a parting post-graduation present. How wonderfully preposterous! 🙂

I had previously set up a blog called Preposterous! futures for examining ideas about the future that lie outside of the ordinary pathways of “acceptable” ideas about the future. But, seeing this nickname re-surface – along with a professionally-drawn caricature, no less! – I realised that I simply had to adopt this term as the name of a blog that would look at absolutely everything in space and time, including the future, and that Preposterous! futures would then more clearly be just one category of exploration, among many, many others. It took a bit of time for this arrangement to take shape, but… as we tell our students in our foresight courses: “trust emergence” 🙂

Main Image: The first four images from L to R are how I represent the main stages of Big History (so far) – Cosmos (depicted by the CMBR); Earth, Life (by a volvox); Humanity (by the human eye’s iris/pupil, which I use to also represent our capacity for “foresight”). The last two images are: a rendering of the “eye” of the computer HAL9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (representing machine intelligence and, ultimately, a transition from biological to post-biological intelligence); and finally the galaxy PGC54559 “Hoag’s Object” which to me represents what a seriously long-lived intelligent post-biological species might decide to do to its home galaxy).

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