The Parish of Burchetts Green

The Rev'd Dilys Woodmore takes a look into the future

A look at Futurology

I have been fascinated by the so-called 'new science of' futurology. You may well think that there is nothing about looking into the future and, in many respects, I would agree with you.

Nevertheless, today there are scientists who call themselves futurologists and spend their time making forecasts. These are based on present trends in relation to past history and then projected forward in time. Their findings are, therefore, not just guesswork but have a credible factual foundation.

Again, they are not prophets in the Biblical sense called by God to encourage people to a way of living that was acceptable to God by warning them of what lay ahead if they didn't change their ways. Futurologists continually research the movement of ideas and trends in modern society.

If we listen to predictions from any source we will find 'experts' warning us of a whole host of problems, such as melting ice caps, global pandemics, terrorism and many others. It's all too easy to be paralysed by such possibilities that we can't fully comprehend and it doesn't really get us very far.

Futurologists would argue that whilst the future is unknown and unwritten, we can. begin, to trace the outline and prepare the first drafts. The recent banking crisis provides an example of this.

Wherever we look in society, massive changes will be taking place. If all this sounds overwhelming, one thing to remember is that too much information together with not enough time is something we will all have to get used to in the future. Futurologist Richard Watson shares five key factors for his vision of 2050.

I Ageing. The population worldwide is living much longer and this will he a key factor for the future economic balance.

2 The environment will remain, vitally important not just in terms of climate control but peaks will he reached in supplies of

oil, gas and water.

3 The shift in power from west to east and the rise of China and India will continue to affect world trade and development.

4. Greater connectivity. The world is shrinking in terms of global communication and how we live, work and think.

5 Technology, ie genetics, robotics and nanotechnology, will continue to expand and perform everyday functions as well as those in industry.

The future is not a foregone conclusion and not a singular experience. If history teaches us anything it is that revolutionary thinking can and does overturn so called inevitabilities. The most reassuring prediction statement is that there are some things that will not change because they are part of the human condition. The need to interact with fellow human beings will remain a basic driving force for life and there will always be the inbuilt desire to seek out a higher authority who is in control of the amazing universe and the most beautiful planet Earth that we inhabit. At the time of the birth of Christ, the Magi or Wise

Men were the astrologers who read the stars and made their predictions. They were men of science and could he called the first futurologists. It certainly gives us something to think about and much to give thanks to God for.