The Secret and Magical Futures
In describing what I actually do as a futurist, and as ever, trying to fit into the 30 second elevator pitch at parties, I've often come back to a joking stance: "I'm a rigorous imagination technician. Not engineer, that you do for yourself. But technician, helping explain how things work, yes, that I do with imagination, vision, images of the future and how to get there or avoid going there."
Despite the critical-reflexive, self/client empowering, non-deterministic and inherent action orientation of this stance, I still get dumbfounded by the level of magical thinking in our society when it comes to the future. Whether it be techno-optimists who religiously fantasise and proselytise that we will create technology beyond our dreams and solve every problem and open up impossible means of transcendence, all at the flick of a psychic switch, or new-age retro-romantics who have read the cards, studied their sun signs for the year and, in the middle of a primal scream session had a sudden realisation gifted by an animal spirit that their future would require we do away with all technology, they all have one thing regularly in common: magical thinking.
I'm obviously going to have to change my humorous 30 second pitch, otherwise I could easily been seen as promoting magical wish fulfillment (if I didn't have a conscience and wanted to be rich, then maybe I would;)