|Institution:||University of Hawaii – Manoa|
|Keywords:||futures thinking; future-directed decision making; spatio-temporal assumptions; emergence of novelty; intergenerational change|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101118|
M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014. Our collective conception of the future is problematic. We face three fundamental problems concerning the future. One is grounded in its relationship to reality, another is grounded in obtaining knowledge of the future, and the last is grounded in the ability to affect the future. How can we assign reality to the future that does not exist? How can we gain knowledge of the future that does not exist? How can we affect the future that does not exist? These questions have led me down a path of inquiry that has questioned the some of the core assumptions concerning the subject of the future. This study is exploratory. I have come to reject the foundational assumptions upon which much of the general perception of the future is founded. Raphael van Riel, in his book, The Concept of Reduction (2014) states that, 'The concept of reduction is supposed to reconcile diversity and directionality with unity, without relying on elimination' (van Riel 2014, 1). The concept of time is theoretically reducible to a diversity of its parts. The concept of time establishes directionality with respect to its parts. The parts are declared to be the past, present, and future. The process of reduction is deterministic in that it forces a line of thought – a pathway, upon anyone attempting to conceptualize the future. A temporal reductionist line of thought by the authority of its argument defines the future, provides a locus for the future, creates a unity between time and the future, and imbeds the whole phenomena within a spatio-temporal structural assumption of reality. In general, thinking about the future is based upon certain foundational structural assumptions are not satisfying. These assumptions are derived from socially constructed spatio-temporal structures and processes which have come to have a commanding influence on most futural conceptualizations, abstractions, thoughts and language. A major problem has evolved concerning how to approach the subject given these barriers. Traditional conceptions associated with motion, change, driving forces, trajectories, time and space, and space-time have become questionable. I have concluded that the idea of the future needs to be redefined in the context of an alternative theory and method of inquiry that is not based on spatio-temporal assumptions. A categorization of approaches to the future differentiates between theories and methods that are grounded in spatio-temporal assumptions and those that are not. The structure that is built upon spatio-temporal processes is rejected and an alternative structure is hypothesized. The alternative structure is presented based upon a theory of monadic motion and relations, and a different understanding of what constitutes the future. In this new context, the relationship of the future will be reevaluated in its relationship to reality, in relationship to knowledge about the future, and in the ability to affect the future. My proposition will then be reexamined in light of this alternative theory.