The reason for this is simple. Any prediction of the future is a guess based upon the patterns of the past extrapolated forwards in time. We see how things have appeared to have changed in the past and assume that they will continue to change in the same way. And that is why most prophets of the future always get it so wrong.
There are two types of prophets. There are the ones who are revered, who everyone hangs on their every word and who predict a predictable future based on the past. Everyone likes their predictions because they can see the logic in them: computers get smaller and more powerful so in the future computers will be even smaller and even more powerful. Take that to the extreme and we have a microscopic computer more powerful than the entire human race. People love that stuff. But those prophets are usually wrong.
The second type of prophet is the one who realises that it’s the type of changes that will change. This gives rise to visions of a bizarre future that has in some way taken a quantum leap in an unexpected direction that history and case studies could not predict. It takes a brave, lateral mind to be able to take a leap of imagination such as this. People hate or ignore this type of prophet. They don’t like unpredictability and they don’t really like change. The irony is that this type of prophet is usually right. Just study Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo and Leonardo for examples of unacceptable ideas that were spot on.
A true prophet has the imagination to notice possibilities of unexpected change but at the same time practical logic to know that the future always takes the path of least resistance.
This is why, contrary to every predictions, we do not have flying cars or personal jet-packs. The practical considerations of pilot competence, massive fuel requirements and serious safety considerations has meant that even though the technology is available, the idea has no future. Left ‘brain’ critical thinking is required to accurately extrapolate a future.
We don’t walk around wearing silver foil jumpsuits. Pure logic suggests we should, for practicality and heat retention. But we don’t because we don’t feel like it. We prefer wool and cotton. We prefer colours and fashions. Any prediction of the future needs to incorporate ‘right’ brain emotional thinking.
We all need to be prophets. We all need to be able to anticipate the future to a certain degree to be able to cope with the inevitable change the future will bring. To do it we need access to left mode logic but we need to use it alongside right mode pattern recognition and imagination.
The future will be weird, it will be strange – until we get there and then it will be normal. Normal thinking won’t help us guess at it, but strange thinking just might help us get close.
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