Futuristics With Flair

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(12), 1002–1003. Reviews the book, The Study of the Future: An Introduction to the Art and Science of Understanding and Shaping Tomorrow's World by Edward Cornish (1977). One form of trained incapacity among psychologists is that they dwell on past learning and contemporary causation and dip into the future only via present-based expectations, anticipations, and prophecies. Preoccupation with the here and now is not the way futurists do it. “If anything is important it is the future. The past is gone and the present exists only as a fleeting moment. Everything that we think and do from this moment on can affect only the future.” Futurism's questions are becoming more biting, its extrapolations more convincing, its methods more deliberate. It is increasingly true that psychologists handicap their own effectiveness by ignoring this style of thinking. Samuel Johnson knew that all along “Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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