It’s difficult to predict and especially about the future.
– paraphrased and unknown source
The future will not be as bad as we fear, nor as good as we hope.
– paraphrased and unknown source
Always in motion is the future.
It can be very helpful to explore scenarios about the future. Not because we are trying to get it right, but because these scenarios can help us make more conscious and intentional choices which impacts our lives in the future. We may decide we don’t want to act so certain scenarios come through, and we do want to act so other scenarios come through. By exploring scenarios about the future, especially in science fiction, we can also highlight aspects of our current society.
So what are some trends we need to be aware of? I cannot really say anything apart from what others are saying, but I can mention a few things here that seem important to me:
Multinational corporations and international laws and regulations favoring these corporations over people and nature. We need to implement policies that favor people, nature, and future generations. (Seems obvious, but too often the reverse is happening these days.)
A political system where politicians do not have incentive to act from a longer time perspective. We need a political system where people are rewarded for thinking, planning, and acting with a long term and global perspective in mind.
Lack of legal rights for nature and future generations. We need to give nature and future generations legal rights and a strong voice in our society and legal system. (With people appointed to give voice to these voiceless groups.)
A worldview that sees humans apart from nature, the Earth and the universe. This leads to many unfortunate and short sighted actions and decisions, at all levels. We need a worldview where humans are seen as embedded in wider social, ecological and cosmological systems, and where this is experienced, felt, and acted from. The Universe Story, the Great Story, Big History, and Practices to Reconnect are some ways to do this.
An approach to science that’s compartmentalized and fragmented. We need a more integral approach, for instance as explored by Ken Wilber and others.
A large gap between the super wealthy and the rest, and large proportions of humans living in poverty without consistent access to food, water, and education. We know that more egalitarian societies do better in almost every way, and that this gap creates tension, fear, and violence, so we need to take this more seriously. We need policies that help reduce the gap.
Western continued economical, political, and military imperialism. We need to strengthen local economies and traditional cultures around the world, and give them a stronger voice internationally.
Some other things that come to mind: Sustainable economics, transportation, technology, buildings etc. Biomimicry. Further research into mindfulness, meditation, inquiry, heart centered practices, body-mind practices etc. Taking research into the “paranormal” more seriously, including UFOs. (We know there are phenomena we don’t understand, so why not take this research seriously?)
In terms of the future, I do think that it won’t be as bad as some fear and not as good as some hope. It will be mixed, most likely. My guess is that we’ll see a water level rise from 5-10 meters within some decades, changes in food production, and some areas where many people now live becoming inhabitable with following migrations. Multinational corporations will continue to be quite powerful, including politically, unless something happens that brings it to people’s attention more than today. We will continue to develop and implement more sustainable technologies and ways of living, just because we have to and it makes sense in so many different ways. Some folks will continue to react to their own fear with violence, bigotry, and us-them thinking. Wild cards may happen such as major wars, major natural disasters, surprising scientific or technological breakthroughs, or even things like contact with an extraterrestrial civilization.
In terms of science, we know that our current scientific worldview will seem hopelessly outdated in the future. Views we today take for granted, and some of us think will never change, will be replaced by other views – usually ones that better fit the data. (It’s interesting that some scientists act and speak as if they don’t realize this, even if they must realize it as some level.)
With education, I assume the current trend of bringing mindfulness into schools will continue to spread, again because it makes sense and works. I also hope that additional practices, such as heart centered ones and inquiry, will be included more in the future. (These things may also go out of fashion, or there may be a backlash due to religious or atheist ideologies.)
I am aware that my views are obviously quite liberal, although I also think that much of what I wrote are things many will agree are important. For me, this has very little to do with idealism or even ethics. These are practical issues. If we create a world where we act more often from the bigger picture, and in a way that supports life at all levels, it benefits all of us and humanity as a whole.
These are mostly the same things that I was passionate about in my mid-teens, as with so many other things. I sometimes wonder if I am maturing much at all!