are beginning a quest into an unknown reality: the future. You can
approach this journey in many different ways. You can keep your eyes
tightly shut, and let random choice take you where it will. You can
conclude that the terrain will determine the course of your journey,
and give up personal responsibility and choice. You can pretend that
the future isnt really there, and assume youll go on living
just as you are today.
Or you can
take full responsibility for your voyage into the future, and decide
where you want to go. You can map out the social terrain you are likely
to encounter, and plan your travels in anticipation of it. You can
make your journey into this quickly changing landscape a challenging,
creative, liberating adventure - and find the pathways that are right
One way or
another, you will determine the course of your journey. Only
you can decide what paths youll take. Only you can envision
where you want to go. Youll follow the path of your choice -
whether you drift through it half-asleep, or pursue it with full awareness
and consent. And youll end up in the places you choose - whether
you choose them by conscious design or default.
will not prevent you from reaching your desired goals. It may demand
a price - you may have to steer your way through a difficult course.
But you cant blame your failures on your environment. That environment
is constantly providing you with new paths, new opportunities, and
new alternatives. It offers an infinite number of places to go, and
an incredible variety of ways to travel.
As an individual,
you play a role in designing the social terrain through which you
travel. Individuals everywhere collectively mold this terrain through
their assumptions, values, visions, fears and actions. You are not
likely to creatively change the future by mounting a frontal attack
on society and its institutions. You can learn to to exert steersmanship
by questioning challenging assumptions, values, visions, and fears,
and by modeling real alternatives. You must start with your own life,
and become aware of the larger effects of your actions.
who lived before your time has moved through such a rapidly shifting
landscape on such a varied canvas. If you are old enough to read these
words, the world has changed more in your lifetime than it changed
in most of the centuries that proceeded your lifetime. Futurists tell
us that more change will occur in the next 25 years that has occurred
in the last 100. We are witnessing an unprecedented explosion of social,
technological, and environmental change. This is not merely an era
of rapid change - this is transformation.
rate of change frightens many people. On a personal level, it can
result in apathy, withdrawal, reaction, and future shock.
On a social level, challenges have emerged on an unprecedented scale.
But the landscape
of the future provides more creative opportunities than ever before.
And it provides you with more options and alternatives than you would
have had in any previous society. Do you know another time when individuals
had more real choices in work, play, belief, and lifestyle?
can choose your career and the work you want. You dont have
to be tied down to any particular job or way of working; you have
options. Youre not locked into a tightly-knit traditional community.
You can move and travel at will, and form communities of you own choosing.
You dont have to conform to any particular lifestyle, belief
system, religion, sexual, or social code. You never did, of course
- but today, there is more diversity, social tolerance, and information
about alternatives than ever before.
When you take
responsibility for your life, youre not depending on the government,
big business, the establishment, parents, or peer groups
to design your future. And yourre not blaming these institutions
for your failures. You are making the choices in your life, and accepting
responsibility for the consequences. No institution is preventing
you from designing the future you want, and no institution can create
it for you. If you want to change the institutions, you must change
the value systems that form them - starting with your own.
You live in
an unlimited Universe of resources and opportunities. When you are
fully aware of this Universe, everything seems fresh and alive, and
you experience a state of grace. You see a world full
of interesting people, all with their own talents, skills, goals,
and unique personal histories. You see a world full of idea and visions,
and the tools you can use to actualize those visions. You see a world
full of information that allows you to clarify your vision, connect
ideas and people and tools, and create the kind of future you want.
You also see
a Universe of potential within yourself. You have many talents, skills,
and positive attributes, some known and many yet to be discovered.
The brain/mind scientists tell us that we are using a small percentage
of our total mental capability. Athletes, psychologists, and spiritual
teachers tell us that we are using a small percentage of our physical,
emotional and spiritual capability. What if we were to fully utilize
our potential, and integrate mind, body, and spirit? Has the world
yet seen what a human being can be?
Universe, there is a unique way of life that is right for you. We
call this right livelihood. Right livelihood occurs when an individuals work, play, lifestyle, interpersonal relationships,
and physical environment are all in harmony with his/her examined
inner goals and values. Your right livelihood is yours; it is not
likely to fit anybody else. You can discover right livelihood
in a spirit of cooperation and creative play. A healthy society is
an expression of many individuals acting with right livelihood.
There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Discovering and creating
your preferred future requires innovative work and play. If you dont
enjoy the process of creating right livelihood, youre on the
wrong path. But you cant make visions real without values, integrity,
risk, and work. There are certain steps you must take to create your
desired future, and that is what this book is about.
You must develop
an understanding for the time you are in, your cultural and intellectual
heritage, and the probable future(s). You are deeply involved in a
complex society, and you need to be aware of social and historical
context. The Western tradition of the last 2,000 years has created
the social background for your quest. It is now undergoing a profound
revisualization of wo/man, society, and Universe. If you have a sense
of this revisualization and its background, you can predict and understand
the dynamic forces that will shape the social environment of tomorrow.
The West has
emphasized logic and technology in the last 150 years. It is now rediscovering
intuition, emotion, and the esoteric tradition. One of the most exciting
possibilities of our times is the synthesis of East and West, of left-brain
logic and right-brain intuition, of rational materialism
and subjective spirituality. This synthesis will have a profound impact
on your future quest.
To design you future
meaningfully, you need to have a concept of the future.
Where is society going in the next five, twenty, fifty years? You
need to forecast future trends, and design in anticipation of them.
You cannot really make the simplest of decisions until you do so.
livelihood requires a personal vision. How do you really want
to live? What would you like to be doing ten, twenty, fifty years
from now - or the next moment. Dont be afraid to dream. One
of our greatest failings as a society is our lack of vision. We can
think only of getting by for the moment. Rarely does one
hear creative visions of what life could be like in 2005. Do
you have a creative vision of your life 25 years from now?
find your vision by default: you must plan. Many people think
that a plan is a straightjacket that stifles spontaneity. Were
speaking of a different kind of planning. A plan is a conceptual map
of the terrain, not a rigid timetable. A good plan allows and enhances
spontaneity, and fits into an overall pattern.
many techniques you can use to plan your quest. The Western tradition
has given us the creative thinking process, the scientific method,
cybernetics, and systems engineering. All these techniques can be
used on a personal level. To work well, they need to be combined with
older. Right-brain techniques - visualization, meditation,
intuition, inspiration, and ritual. The important thing to remember
about techniques is that they are only tools, and tools are not constructive
if they are not building a larger vision. Our society has forgotten
this point. It sees technology, architecture, and material wealth
as end in themselves, not as tools to enhance the experience of living.
can be more than utilitarian. It can be, in itself, a thing of beauty.
It must be, for process cannot be separated from goals.
When an artist
paint a canvas, s/he has a vision of what s/he want to create. S/he
knows how to use and respect tools. S/he has a sense of cultural heritage,
and the evolution of transformation. S/he expresses in concrete forms
personal values and goals, and communicates this vision in an elegant
way to the observer. This is an aesthetic process.
Your own life
is your greatest work of art. Your entire life is the concrete manifestation
of your inner goals, values, and visions. If you design your life
with consciousness and grace, like a competent artist painting a canvas,
you will make your journey in to the future a truly aesthetic quest.
You can take
charge of your life. You can design the future you want. On the following
pages, well look at social and historical context, tools, future
visions, and resources to help you do so.
What are you
going to do about it?