Note — May 15, 2022

Polak’s Pull From the Future

I use the word ‘note’ for the chunks of newsletters on my website and for some of the shorter posts, based on the concepts of digital gardens and Zettelkasten, but that’s not really what I’m doing. Johannes Kleske, on the other hand, is writing an actual Futures Garden, and the link above is to his note on Polak’s The Image of the Future. Why am I starting with this nitpicking on notes? Because on top of the great insights from the book, it’s also an excellent example of extracting and documenting a concept (Pull of the Future) in a very useful manner.

All of man’s thinking involves a conscious process of dividing his perceptions, feelings, and responses and sorting them into categories on the time continuum. His mental capacity to categorize and reorder reality within the self (present reality) and in relation to perceptions of the not-self (the Other) enables him to be a citizen of two worlds: the present and the imagined. Out of this antithesis, the future is born. […]

The rise and fall of images of the future precedes or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures. As long as a society’s image is positive and flourishing, the flower of culture is in full bloom. Once the image begins to decay and lose its vitality, however, the culture does not long survive. […]

[W]e must examine and be as fully aware as possible of the influence on society of those images of the future already existing in the minds of political planners, scientists, and professional practitioners in every field.