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Obituary 

Wendell Bell was an embodiment of wisdom 

Our world will be a lesser place without him. 

http://www.wendellbell.com/

His wide ranging rigorous research, warm humble character, mesmerizing style of writing, and impressive works in futures studies, especially the Foundations of Futures Studies volumes, will continue to be a source of inspiration and continuous learning for many years to come not only futurists but also scholars from all other disciplines. 

Deep condolences to his family and close friends and people who had the privilege to work with him directly.

PRESS RELEASE

7 November 2019, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

On behalf of the WFSF, President Dr. Erik F. Øverland opens the new Centre for Futuristic Studies (Futures Studies) at the Prince Mohammad Bin Fadh University (PMU) in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

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I launched a Playlist in my YouTube channel of an ongoing conversation with Tom Lombardo with the initial aim of reviewing his book on Science Fiction. 

Very soon I realized that it is a good integral method itself which is unfortunately often underappreciated. 

Then I suggested that we run online two persons mini workshops to illustrate that how one can use Science Fiction as the only method of doing formal futures studies for different domains of reality. 

Tom agreed and picked the topic of education, as the first domain of reality, which we are still discussing.

In this new video you see that how we might summarize in a comparative analysis table the many points we obtained from the discussion so far into several categories or elements such as image, context, players, goals, content, process, and infrastructure under at least four scenarios/narratives called a) wisdom of leaders, b) shallow and stupid, c) winners take it all, and d) re-education camps. 

Such a table is indeed the key output, linking science fiction insights to formal futures studies, that will help a general planner/decision maker, make sense of the changes in the future and consider a range of alternative futures based on a highly creative source of imagination, which is science fiction literature. 

The aim is at least twofold. One to illustrate to professional futurists that you can use Tom's book as a Handbook to run a workshop on a topic of choice, just like other Handbooks on Integral Futures, and two to influence the decisions/alternatives/options that policy makers/managers/planners might consider to transform their respective entire system of education.

Watch the Playlist

The China–United States trade war is an ongoing economic conflict between the world’s two largest national economies, China and the United States. President Donald Trump in 2018 began setting tariffs and other trade barriers on China with the goal of forcing it to make changes to what the U.S. says are "unfair trade practices".

There are doubts about the positive and negative impacts of the China–United States trade war. In order to address better and deeper the contradictions, the tensions, and the consequences and also informing the key stakeholders about known and unknown emerging issues in the world economy and society, we apply two helpful FutureS Studies tools known as the “Future Wheel”, to identify the key factors, and “System Dynamics Conceptual Mapping”, to understand the relationships among such factors.

The Trade War is indeed aimed at Containment of China, not simply fair trade, characterized by the narrative of a) Pushing Back the New Silk Road & b) Delayed Rise of China.

Such a narrative also implies a) Delayed Urbanization in the US & b) Less Consumerism and More Reuse, Repair, Recycle, and Sharing in the US Economy.

The China policy might consider serious retaliation moves beyond tariffs, first through a) Currency War, that is likely to backfire if the US buys Yuan, or even worse, it might initiate a b) Global Rampant Copyright Infringement leaded by China and seriously damaging the knowledge-based, digital economy.

We could anticipate also a) Big Wave of Chinese Migrants running away from China instability and b) Shrink of the US Higher Education which counts on China Rich families payments.

The Containment of China might also trigger a large scale a) War in the South and East China Sea and b) a shift in Asia of power and resources towards the Rise of India.

A combined effect/prospect of Global Rampant Copyright Infringement and Shrink of the US Higher Education means that the US Digital Giants and US Universities will lose more than any other body if the US-China Trade War continues to unfold and accelerate. A coalition of digital giants and universities will do their best in their own interest to damage the re-election campaign of President Trump in November 2020.



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Introducing
The myth of the gold old ages

The term official future sometimes is misunderstood when we are engaged in discussions about the alternative futures. 

If we remain close to the simple and most direct dictionary definition we could note that 

Official future is that liked/owned/preferred by the officials/authority/power/establishment.

And

Alternative futureS are those liked, dreamed, pushed by different (dissident) groups who oppose the officials/authority/power/establishment.

For a less politically toned and charged definition we could say Business as Usual Future or simply Baseline Forecast (in reference to data and facts).

A crucial insight is related, however, to the "context" of the regions of the planet outside of the Western power influences like Asia because "official" also has other implications in some of developing countries in the East.

In some regions of the planet there are history books full of a supposedly shining past and glorious empires either based on a nation or a religion or language source of common identity expanding through many of today nation-states and boundaries.

In those contexts the Official Vision documents, I would say almost unheard of in most liberal democratic Western countries, implicitly require all citizens and government agencies, even corporations in the private sector, to commit to a revival of the deceased empires as a grand strategy to counter the dominance of the US empire in addition to other Western powers.

A specific category of futurists, some of them graduates of PhD programs in futures studies, are playing the role of background actors following the high ranking officials, to push forward the plan of empire building by reflecting on the long deceased past empires. Depending on our framing and language we might call them imperialist futurists (which is sometimes offensive), or more commonly they are called "civilizational futurists" (a more euphemistic term). 

By reference to the civilization it is generally understood those unrelated or challenging the Western civilization. I have used a narrative in my book on Alternative Planetary Futures, Chapter 5, to describe such efforts, from West to East of Asia, as putting makeup on the dead bodies and in a sense have criticized to do past studies in the disguise of futures studies.

The civilizational futurists are advocating a movement which is simply political in nature, seeking dominance, expansion, and absolute power based on an exclusive source of identity, and they could be quite modern and in favor of using modern tools as much as possible.

However, I should point out that attempts to resurrect dead civilizations and in particular neo-empire building mega projects are simply ignorant of the facts, and promote a baseless false hope, which only wastes big money and dissipate people's energy.

Small business owners who plan for the long term future of their businesses find that traditional strategic planning methods are very difficult to apply to small businesses. Small Business Foresight, by Verne Wheelwright, PhD. leads readers through the steps of long term planning, shows readers how to recognize the forces of change that will impact the future of their small business, how to build scenarios of plausible futures for the business, and how to create a strategic plan for the future of the business.

Small Business Foresight includes more than 60 figures, tables and diagrams to illustrate how foresight methods work for small businesses. Easy to read and understand, this book will enable small businesses to develop a preferred future, and strategies to achieve that future.

In the United States, there are more than 30 million small businesses. However, one in five will fail in the first year, and half will close their doors within five years. Small Business Foresight will give both start-ups and mature businesses the necessary tools to imagine possible scenarios five or ten years ahead and create contingency plans to survive threats while working towards a preferred future vision. Without these tools, any business is susceptible to the ups and downs of business cycles. With these tools, a business is not only prepared to weather business cycles but capitalize on them.

Dr. Verne Wheelwright earned a graduate degree in “Studies of the Future” at the University of Houston (Clear Lake) then went on to conduct research on how to apply the methods he had learned to individuals and small businesses. His first book, It’s YOUR Future…Make it a Good One! successfully applied the methods of foresight and strategic planning to the lives of individuals. It’s YOUR Future… and the related workbook have been translated and published in several languages. Wheelwright’s more than fifty years as an owner of a small business and nearly twenty years as a professional futurist testify to the substantial experience of this author.

My book titled “A Transformation Journey to Creative and Alternative Planetary Futures”, published in 2019 in the UK, presents a counter trend against nationalism, religious extremism, xenophobia, and racism. It advocates an alternative globalization based not on trade, the economy, and politics but on humanity’s transcendence to a collective consciousness. Inspired by a pantheist worldview, I apply an integral perspective toward strategic foresight and anticipation on the planetary scale. Controversial, disappearing, and emerging binary oppositions are explained within the framework of the mythology of the Lord of Wisdom versus the Ignorant Mind. Our anticipatory planetary era addresses the deep question of identity and attachment to a job, discipline, ethnic group, nationality, language and religion. The detachment might be characterized by the recognition of our zero knowledge, as measured in the ocean of all disciplines; zero center for identity; and zero existence (as we have known it) as humanity merges into some higher and enriched complexity.

Advocating for a planetary consciousness as a whole is therefore the primary focus of my book. Although humanity is separated by many cultural differences, we need to collaborate in creating a good future for the planet. Members of the WFSF are already familiar with this vision. Although from distant locations and backgrounds, they are learning and practicing such a planetary consciousness in a unique way.

In addition to looking across the big space, humanity should also consider the big time and reflect more deeply and imaginatively about the alternative futures. The multi-disciplinary approach of futurists is essential in stimulating such a consciousness. There is no good excuse to remain ignorant of fascinating research in evolution, science, and technology on one hand and culture, psychology, and philosophy on the other.

Moreover, we need a balanced framework to integrate Eastern and Western thinking to reinterpret and reinvent ancient mythology-theology. It is of critical importance to appreciate the role of science fiction in this reinvention based on futurist thinking and imagination. Science fiction shapes the evolution of the human mind and human society. As Tom Lombardo, a fellow member of the WFSF, has stated in his newest book, Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future (2018), “science fiction is modern mythology informed and inspired by contemporary science, technology, and thinking.” In each of our respective books, we both strongly argue that humanity needs inspiring storytellers of the future that are informed by contemporary cutting edge theories and knowledge. We need psychologically engaging stories of the future, alongside the facts and figures, suitably grounded in modern science and modern thinking. This is the special role of science fiction as both of us see it.

My book is a vision of a preferable future where all humans have a planetary sense of identity—a “placeless” and “colorless” identity—and a heightened level of future consciousness, embracing a mindset of open transformation and evolution, rather closed dependence on a glorified ancient mythology-theology.

We will be able to creatively build alternative futures, rather than being ideologically locked into one dominant vision. We should be in search of balance in our collective good future using an interconnected fabric of many binary oppositions; a transformation journey through different valleys to achieve wisdom.

Best Regards
Victor V. Motti
victor.vahidimotti@wfsf.org
Skype ID: victorvmotti
Vahid Think Tank


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