X-Message-Number: 20061
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: Futurology's declining fortunes
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2002 17:00:27 -0700

Newsweek's Website has a collection of short articles about various 
futuristic ideas & possibilities, built around the theme of life in 2012:


One article describes the sorry state of futurology, which arose in the 
heady days of Cold War power politics and rapid economic-technological 
progress. Today talking about futurology sounds retro, like something from 
an Austin Powers movie. You'd almost expect speakers at futurologists' 
meetings to be wearing Nehru jackets & love beads or something comparable.



 There used to be a real sense of the future in society and what we should 
do about it,  says Michael Marien, editor of Future Survey, the monthly 
publication of the World Future Society.  But [future studies] never 
developed. It never fulfilled its promise. Now we d rather spend money and 
have a good time in the present. 

Mark resumes:

I've noticed this trend too. The discounting of the idea of progress has 
probably contributed to the general lack of interest in cryonics in 
particular, and real life extension in general. If you go back to read what 
"futurists" in the 1960's and '70's wrote about life in our time, you can 
find some forecasts which seem unintentionally funny now. FM-2030 (F.M. 
Esfandiary) certainly made his share of dated bad predictions, along with 
ones that seem plausibly accurate enough to pass. (I can supply some 
examples upon request.)

You can find this pessimistic zeitgeist even in popular science fiction 
shows. The technology used by the crew of the latest Trek spinoff, 
_Enterprise_, (set in the 22nd Century as a "prequel" to the original 
series) doesn't seem all that reliable. They're especially distrustful of 
the new transporter technology.  This probably reflects neurologically 
normal consumers' frustrations with all the recent electronics gadgets 
designed by Asperger's cases who think in non-hunter-gatherer ways. I'm 
reminded of what Rick Moranis said in _Spaceballs_: "Even in the future 
nothing works!"

Mark Plus
It's not "religious" or "science fictional" if you can do it.

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