Our Fascination with the Future

I think the reason we are so fascinated with the future is that we are stuck in a one-way concept of time. We need prophets and analysts to point us past the immediate so that we can anticipate and adjust to what may be ahead. We listen even if these people are wrong, or keep moving the date as if we "miscalculated" as in those who anticipate the Apocalypse, or the return of Elvis...

So what does this mean for brands and the business of marketing and innovation? A sneak peak at the future is reassuring to organizations intent on carrying through with business as planned. Unfortunately, this is a condition based on the assumption that we can "reason" our way in a world dynamic that more closely resembles chaos.

To put it another way: To create Futures is an art, not a science. Futurologists are artists, who predict calamities hoping that their prediction will prevent these calamities from happening. So good futurologists are always wrong. |

Still, we like predictables, that makes us feel more secure. So if predictable is what you want, I found this definition of the future to be quite appropriate:

FUTURE: A sign on the door of a restaurant which says:
“FREE FOOD TOMORROW” and is never removed from the door.

The truth is that future is variable upon collective thought.

What we think affects what we think about, and that in effect determines the ways we react to cumulative effects of collective realities. Another way to put it is:

When you change the way you think about things, the things you think about change.

Think about that the next time you're so sure your five-year plan for the future of your company is worth a shit.

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