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Cosmic Quote #70

“Ninety per cent of politicians give the other ten per cent a bad name.”–Henry Kissinger

You are what you eat.  You get what you vote for.  This is my only political post of the entire year,  so get your fill now.  Next question?

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Cosmic Quote #69

“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”–Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

No funny chickens for this one.   The world lost its foremost futurist in the past week,  a man who was one of my heroes.   Alvin Toffler taught the world how to think about the future some 45 years ago.  It’s a lesson the world should relearn.   I read Future Shock away back in 1973–and have been thinking about it–and the future–ever since.

Writing in the New York Times on July 6, Farhad Manjoo lays out clearly and concisely why Toffler’s ideas are so relevant today.  I highly urge you to read this piece, and to read Future Shock if you’ve never done so.  I intend to reread it now.  We have never needed foresight more than we do today.

My foresight related blog is available at www.seekingdelphi.com

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Cosmic Quote #68

“Smart is when you believe half of what you hear.  Brilliant is when you know which half.”–Robert Orben

Here’s a tip for you brainiacs.  If you want to know which half of my posts to believe, it’s the other half.  On my other blog,  Seeking Delphi. ™  

Hmmm.  I just started that other blog.  Most of my posts have been on this one.  Well, as Yogi once said, “90 percent of the game is half mental.”

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New Feature, New Life: Seeking Delphi

“Never predict anything, especially the future.”–Casey Stengel

The one and only

The one and only

The Ol’ Perfessor knew what he was talking about.   Well, maybe he didn’t, but the advice is sage nonetheless.  It is notoriously difficult to predict anything in the future with consistent accuracy.  So why in the world would anyone want to become a futurist?  Why bother?  Well, to be blunt, that is exactly why!  Ignoring the opportunities and dangers of the future is what I like to call The Ostrich Syndrome.  Go ahead, hide your head in the sand.  The future is not going to go away.  And if we can’t predict it, there are certainly ways to prepare for it.  To prevent bad outcomes, or at least make them less likely.  To create good outcomes, or at least make them more likely.  And to be  better prepared to deal with whatever does come.

The sad fact is, we live in a short-term oriented society with a short attention span.  So what is the antidote to this malady?  It is more thoughtful foresight.  We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  Kurt  Vonnegut compared science fiction writers like himself to the proverbial canary in the mine shaft, warning of weak danger signals before others perceive them.  That’s what futurists do, though those weak signals can signal opportunities as well as dangers as the world changes.  That’s what I aim to do with the rest of my life.  I’ve enrolled in the  University of Houston’s Masters in Foresight program.  I’m adding a foresight element to a friend’s existing market research business.  I’m becoming an advocate for taking a longer view of everything.  Economics. Education. Environment. Government. You name it.  And I’m starting a second blog, aptly named Seeking Delphi™ after the famed Oracle of Delphi.  We can’t predict the future, but we can anticipate the possibilities, avoid the catastrophes (or some of them) and create the opportunities.   So here goes something.   See you tomorrow and beyond.

The first post on Seeking Delphi is linked here.  Keep an eye out for the addition of a podcast in the coming weeks.

 

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Cosmic Quote(s) #65

“Predictions are preposterous.”–Jackie Mason

“The Best way to predict the future is to invent it.”–Alan Kay

“I don’t try to describe the future; I try to prevent it.”–Ray Bradbury

 

Most predictions are indeed preposterous.  So why would I become a futurist in my old age?  The object is not to predict the future, but it could be to invent it (per Alan Kay) or prevent it (per Ray Bradbury).  At any rate, as futile as it may seem, I predict that the next stage of my life will be highly focused on the future (as I said in a previous post, 65 is the new 45 and I need a renewed direction in life.).  I also predict that my next post will create a new feature–called Seeking Delphi–and with it a second blog.  And a very plausible scenario also includes a podcast.  You can predict some things, though what I ultimately will do is not usually one of them.  Stay tuned….

 

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Cosmic Quote #59

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat!”–Lily Tomlin

Per Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus, it would appear that the best strategy for combating the stated dilemma is to simply keep running the race or navigating the maze, lest one stops and realizes how absurd it all is.   I’ll keep at it, if only because I need the cheese.

 

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Cosmic Quote #58

“Physics is not religion. If it were, we’d have a much easier time raising money.”–Leon Lederman

Non Sequitur by Miley www.cartoonstock.com Used by permission

Non Sequitur by Miley
http://www.cartoonstock.com
Used by permission

I’d bet that if physicists could raise money the way televangelists do, they wouldn’t use it to build themselves mansions and buy themselves private jets.  Well, OK, maybe if the mansion was on Mars and the private jet could fly them there with a lab full of experiments.   Moral:  be careful what you believe in, you might have to pay for it.

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Cosmic Quote #57

Who do you look up to?

My list of most admired individuals is made up mostly of scientists.  OK, Groucho and Gandhi are on that list,  but so are Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Max Tegmark, David  Deutsch, Albert Einstein, etc., etc., etc.   Which scientists do you most admire?

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