Note — Mar 27, 2022

Not Soon Enough

At the Journal of Futures Studies, this piece by Ivana Milojević offers “Meditations on Ending War and Visioning Peace.” First thing to note, and something I’ll certainly steal, the use of the word “eutopian,” to denote “a ‘good’ and possible place vs. ‘perfect’ and impossible as applied in the term utopian.” Second, the short story she applies the word to, Soon by Aleksandra Kollontai which indeed seems like a good place, and not that unachievable. If gains in productivity had been more fairly distributed and there wasn’t a massive neoliberal extraction going on, we could just work two hours a day and have everyone cared for.

Milojević writes that “to end war, we need to challenge the futures fallacies we use to construct reality. We also need to envision peaceful futures.” She details eight futures fallacies, which are presented in a war context, understandably, but could also be applied more generally, or the climate crisis with the future personal exemption fallacy, for example. She also correctly reminds us that we need both theory (stories we tell), and practice (how we actually act). The four visions then proposed are basically lists of positive phrases, which can be good perhaps to prop up one’s optimism, but didn’t advance the piece that much.

(Thanks to Sentiers reader Jörg for sending this to me, keep them coming friends!)

Wars are commonly supported by ‘used futures’ – the term refers to the strategies from the past that we keep on repeating even though they are no longer in line with our desired visions for the future. […]

The ceteris paribus fallacy, or the error of considering only one single aspect of change. That is, the assumption that one can only consider the military aspect when designing strategies and not the economic, demographic, cultural, environmental, psychological, and so on. […]

[P]eace is not a state that results from violence which is its opposite. Rather, it is a strategy that cannot be separated from an inherently dynamic process: a process which absolutely must utilise nonviolent means. […]

So instead of ‘choosing sides’, ‘win-lose’, ‘either-or’, one or at most two futures alternatives, we need to develop habits of imagining a multiplicity of peaceful processes and strategies for our future, based on progressive and constructive narratives. […]

How do we change our own lives to reflect these alternative stories and positive visions for the future? What do we do differently? And most importantly, how do we link these visions of positive futures to our current decision-making?