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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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Part C – Summaries and Prognoses

Extract

X – The Humbug of Guessing Games: Death Traps, Missed Opportunities, Last Chances Having always somehow muddled through, humankind is ill equipped to recog- nize that points of no return may well have been passed already. Many imply, nonetheless, that conjectures about things to come can be trustworthy. Nothing is less sure. Even history does not distinguish itself above all as capable of causing much consensus. Much less can there ever be a great deal of accord in regard to future actions. There is no convincing solution to these perplexities. The best that can be hoped for is betting on likelihood, and no doubt it would be better to err on the safe side. Yet even initial fragmentary assumptions, none of which can evidently be put to the test, are at best "guesstimates." One thing at least cannot be really up for discussion: basing one's actions on mere guesses is not an alluring method. Even if a worst-case scenario, an emer- gency escape route, is allowed for–as a kind of fall-back, supposedly a bedrock of perfunctory choices and crude courses–the resulting procedures let, to say the least, much to be desired. But what else is there? And of course, in retrospect (if it will be possible at all) everyone will know better. It still remains striking that prophecies, often announced in the most high-handed manner, are not becoming more discredited; at least their originators don't. After the shock that no one really foresaw–the downfall of communism (there could...

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