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In the Presence of the Future

Mapping the Roads to Tomorrow

Georg Schmid

The divide between the techno-scientific and the humanities paradigm has critically endangered general comprehension. The prolegomena to a «unified field theory of futurology» presented here attempt to reconcile these epistemological models by meticulously investigating a gamut of supposedly separate areas, from the social use of art or religion via demographic, economic and technological data to moral and political philosophy. This highly panoramatic and integrative inspection of problems humankind will be facing in the near and foreseeable future yields novel perspectives and a superior grasp of beneficial social practice.

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Preface

Extract

If it were easy to predict the things to come, societies would be in better shape (and individuals would have more chances to lead contented lives). But despite all attempts to make forecasting demonstrably serviceable, compelling results have stubbornly remained elusive. It is therefore expedient to examine the cir- cumstances of these endeavors of anticipating: to chart promising courses de- pends on their workability. Helplessly confined by and in the present, humans, as individuals as well as joined together in societal aggregates, exist in a double-bind: vague, often mis- apprehended remembrance is contiguous to great expectation, fear of the future is hardly held in check by pleasant nostalgia. The present, apparently but a fleet- ing moment, comes about overmatched and transits quickly, its traces lingering for a while, the only clue in the flux of the constant challenge of finding one's bearings. Overtaxing our inadequate power of reasoning, futurity eludes us, and we don't do much better with unraveling the past. The present, that protracted mo- ment in which we live, is the juncture of twofold inapproachability as anteced- ence perseveres but in the guise of disfiguring remembrance and ill-understood vestiges. Subsequence–the logical opposite of all things anterior–, futurity's pre- sumed effects and results, can be presaged in a most uncertain way at best. Forecasts and designs, ambitions and projects, though contaminated by im- perfectly interpreted recollection and poorly mastered present-day challenges, are nonetheless a necessity. They are all the more crucial as the instants of our social and...

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