Monday, January 2, 2012

Are You Prepared to Design the Future?

By Jacque Fresco

Although many of us feel we can prepare for our future by thinking, acting, and learning using present methods and values, nothing is farther from the truth - especially in today’s rapidly changing world. A newborn child enters a world not of his or her own making. Each succeeding generation inherits the values, accomplishments, hopes, successes, and failings of previous generations. And they inherit the results of the decisions made by those generations.

For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence when technologies were simple or non-existent, this may have had little impact on human life and the earth that sustains it. Each generation of hunters and gatherers, then plowmen and pioneers, passed on tools to the next generation to help them survive. Change from one generation to the next was slow and hardly noticeable. In those days there was little understanding of science and how things worked, and explanations were not scientific.

This is no longer the case in today’s high-tech world where a change that affects millions may happen in a matter of seconds. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation, let alone that from centuries ago. Previous generations left a legacy of, exploitation, occupation, and irrelevant values that present great challenges, but also opportunities to the people of today.

The application of scientific principles, for better or worse, accounts for every single advance that has improved people’s lives. Important documents and proclamations have been issued granting rights and privileges to members of societies, but at the heart of human progress - or destruction - is the rock-solid foundation of science.

The future does not just happen. Except for natural events like earthquakes, it comes about through the efforts of people and is determined largely by how well informed people are. You can play a role in the shaping of tomorrow’s world by asking yourself questions like, “What kind of world do I want to live in?” and “What does democracy mean to me?” There are many other options of organization for the future than those typically discussed today.

Here is a scenario for you to consider: Suppose you were called upon to redesign planetary civilization without any limitations based on how things are done today. The goal is to help rid the world of war, poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation, and to create the best world for all inhabitants, given the resources at hand, for the longest period of time.

Remember, you are free to rearrange society in any way you think will work. The only limitation is that your social design must factor in the carrying capacity of the planet, which means the resources have to be sufficient to support life on the planet.

You can rearrange the entire civilization to make what you consider the best of all possible worlds, bearing in mind that any unmet need for any segment of the population reduces the standard of living for all. This may include not only environmental protection, but also city design, transportation, interpersonal relationships and the restructuring of education, if you feel it is necessary.