“The greatest existential challenge facing the human species, can in part be traced, to the fact that we have underdeveloped practices for thinking possible worlds out loud.” Stuart Candy
“All that was ‘normal’ has now evaporated; we have entered postnormal times, the in between period when old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged, and nothing really makes sense. To have any notion of a viable future, we must grasp the significance of this period of transition which is characterized by three c’s: complexity chaos and contradictions. These forces propel and sustain postnormal times leading to uncertainty and different types of ignorance that make decision-making problematic and increase risks to individuals, society and the planet. Postnormal times demands, the paper argues, that we abandon the ideas of ‘control and management’, and rethink the cherished notions of progress, modernization and efficiency. The way forward must be based on virtues of humility, modesty and accountability, the indispensable requirement of living with uncertainty, complexity and ignorance. We will have to imagine ourselves out of postnormal times, and into a new age of normalcy – with an ethical compass and a broad spectrum of imaginations fro the rich diversity of human cultures.” Ziaddin Sardar
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway, between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging our carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” Arundhati Roy
“Critical futures studies asserts that the present is fragile, merely victory of one particular discourse, way of knowing, over another. The goal is to disturb the present power relations through making our categories problemmatic and evoking other places, other scenarios.” Sohail Inayatullah
“The liberated futures we want don’t exist as untouchable distant points out of our reach. When we focus on collective action, mutual self aid, self-determination, centering the leadership of the marginalized, we defy linear time. We pull those futures into the present. Let’s keep pulling liberated futures into the present over and over again, until that’s all there is.” Walidah Imarisha
“And therein lies the central truth of globalization today: We’re all connected and nobody is in charge….” Thomas L. Friedman
“Ideas that we do not know we have, have us.” William Appleman Williams
Clues for a Time of Turmoil
– Act in a spirit of hope. Hope, not optimism….Hope has to do with looking directly at the circumstances we are dealing with and still go on because one hopes that one can make a difference in the face of all that stands in the way of making a difference.
– Act according to a “tentative commitment.” Be willing to look at a situation carefully enough, to risk enough, to contribute enough effort, enough hope, to undertake your project…and to recognize that we might have it wrong. We may have to back off or change not only how we are doing something but whether to do it at all.
– Be “context alert” as a moral and operational necessity.
– Be a learner/teacher, a wary guide, and explorer in the wilderness. Be question askers all the time, not answer givers.
– Practice compassion. Facing life requires all the compassion we can bring to ourselves and others.
“The loss of certainty that there will be a future is, I believe, the pivotal psychological reality of our time.” Joanna Macy
“In the critical, futures studies aims not at prediction, or at compassion, but seeks to make the units of analysis problemmatic, to undefine the future.” Sohail Inayatullah
“I’m smart enough to know I’m dumb.” Richard Feynman
“Keep being what people aren’t ready for.” Emma Magenta
“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” Richard Feynman
“Any useful statement about the future should at first seem ridiculous.” Jim Dator
“I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred tree of life and the whole earth will be one circle again.” Crazy Horse
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler
“The future started yesterday, and we’re already late.” John Egend
“Things are getting better and better, and worse and worse, faster and faster.” Tom Atlee
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy
“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it is about the future.” Niels Bohr
“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Sitting Bull
“Fail to dream about the future, and you forfeit your role in its creation.” Max Elder
““We believe it is our right and our responsibility to write ourselves into the future.” Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown
“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” Elie Wiesel
“The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.” Zora Neale Hurston
“The start to a better world is to believe that it is possible.” Lily Tomlin
“In dealing with the future, it is far more important to be imaginative than to be right.” Alvin Toffler
“My interest is in the future, because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.” Charles Kettering
“Envisioning and making the future must be a massively public endeavor.” Marina Gorbis
“Hope locates itself in the premise that we don’t know what will happen, and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.” Rebecca Solnit
“We cannot expand our self, and our collective self, without making holes in our heart. We are stretching our boundaries…it can be painful. Of course there will be rips and tears. When we imagine a better future, we should factor in this constant discomfort.” Kevin Kelly