In the previous post in this series, we saw how the astronomer Carl Sagan outlined the process of “15 billion years of Cosmic Evolution” in the final episode of the TV series Cosmos (1980). He referred to our “tracing that long path” by which the “star stuff” of which we are made eventually arose to consciousness here on the Planet Earth, and how we have now begun “contemplating the stars” and to “wonder about our origins”. Elsewhere—indeed, in the opening segment of the very first episode of Cosmos—he observed that “we are a way for the Cosmos to know itself”. And it is to that Cosmos and our quest to make sense of and organise our knowledge about it, that we now turn. Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part II”
As noted in the earlier post describing heuristic principles for scanning, for most of the run of the Master of Strategic Foresight at Swinburne we used to say—to new students starting in the first unit—that Futures Studies begins with ‘the sum total of all human knowledge’ (Hayward, Voros, and Morrow 2012, p184), before it then asks, whether implicitly or explicitly: “now what?” It would therefore seem to make sense, then, to have some way of organising the sum total of all human knowledge into some sort of more-or-less coherent schema, in order that one might begin to get to grips with what is, after all, merely the starting point of the vast multidisciplinary field of Futures Studies (FS). Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part I”
Nikolas Badminton of the Exponential Minds Podcast and I had a chat a couple of months ago. That interview is now live.
We had a pretty fun conversation. It did meander just a teeny little bit, but it does manage to mention quite a few things as a result: something of the history of my use of the Futures Cone; the levels at which foresight can be implemented; Big History and how I’ve used it to frame the coming civilisational energy transition (i.e., away from fossil fuels); as well as mention of David Christian‘s new book which continues on from Origin Story (which I was reading in manuscript at the time). Of course, there are also some aliens mentioned in there, as is Hoag’s Object. There’s also a little bit on this blog’s current scanning retrospective and the concept of futures intelligence. So, all in all, regular readers won’t find too much that is unfamiliar in the interview, but it might be fun to hear it spoken of. Nikolas did a pretty good job of paring it all back from the very long chat we had! 😉
What I am smiting my forehead over, though, is that I forgot to mention Cal Newport’s 2019 book Digital Minimalism, during the segment where we were talking about using technology with careful intention. My bad! Also, Newport’s podcast, whose name I couldn’t quite remember, is Deep Questions, and it just keeps getting better and better as Cal hits his stride with it. It’s definitely re-ignited my interest in intentional approaches to productivity. Might end up doing a series of posts on that, one of these years…
Anyway, I do hope you enjoy listening to the interview as much I did recording it! Thanks Nikolas!
How DEVO – like Cassandra – saw the future, tried to warn us, and was widely ignored
The title for this post comes from a song lyric by the avant-garde music group DEVO, namely, from the opening song ‘Time Out for Fun’ from their fifth studio album, Oh No! It’s DEVO. By the time that album was released in late 1982, DEVO as a band had spent the better part of a decade promoting the thesis of ‘de-evolution’ – the idea that humanity, rather than progressing, was actually regressing, and was in point of fact not evolving but really de-evolving (which was the origin of their name) to a more primitive state of mindlessly conformist automatons. Continue reading “‘Dark Clouds in the Crystal Ball’”
There have been two more formal publications on Big History recently: one a journal article – hinted at in the previous post – written in part to honour the memory of Erich Jantsch, the other a book chapter, as well as an informal podcast episode in the FuturePod series.
… would have been today (Capra 1981, p.151). Instead, the world lost an incomparable polymath and genius on 12 Dec 1980, less than a month before his 52nd birthday, and we are all much, much the poorer for that loss (Capra 1981, Linstone, Maruyama & Kaje 1981, Zeleny 1981). Continue reading “Erich Jantsch’s 90th birthday…”
The question asked in the title of this post is one I have been pondering for the most part of a decade now, ever since I saw the image, shown in Figure 1, of the galaxy PGC54559 (popularly known as Hoag’s Object) in 2010, following several months of thinking about what Kardashev Type III civilisations might look like.
I’ve had a new paper accepted for a special issue of the SAGE journal World Futures Review, on Foresight Education, edited by Peter Bishop. It is yet to be assigned to a volume/issue (UPDATE: it is most likely to be Vol.10, No. 4, Dec 2018), but has had a formal DOI assigned to it to allow for web linking prior to final publication, and is available through SAGE’s OnlineFirst system. I am also allowed to link a version from my University’s research repository, Swinburne ResearchBank. It is an accepted manuscript form, which SAGE allows to be placed in a university repository, rather than the final officially-published version, which they do not. Always look to the pagination of the final published version if you are going to be quoting things from it… Continue reading “Big History and Futures Studies – what a cosmic perfect match!”
The book chapter from which I took the posting on the Futures Cone last February has now been published online by Springer International. It is available to those who have SpringerLink subscriptions (many universities do, so try logging-into your University library and looking for the SpringerLink database) via the doi: link given below. I’ll be checking whether the possibility of self-archiving exists, which means I would be able to deposit a pre-publication (note: not the final) version of the chapter at Swinburne ResearchBank for wider availability. Continue reading “Chapters and an Article”
Interestingly, ‘Threshold 9’ (i.e., the ‘next’ Threshold in the 8-so-far main Thresholds of Big History) has been on my research agenda for quite a few years now, so it is a great pleasure to be able to talk more widely about the broader long-term future (as well as Threshold 9) in an issue of BHI’s Threshold 9 😉
I hope you enjoy it. Once the videos from the conference are uploaded, I’ll be writing about and linking to some of them in later posts.
Until then, remember: “keep looking to the future”. (I wonder what that would be in Latin 😉