Well not everyone thinks I’m a “lazy out-of-work crazy” like my self-loathing alter ego, but I do get a lot of questions from friends and family wondering just what it is I’m studying and planning on doing with (an aspect of) my life. Sometimes even strangers get in on it.
Last week I was reading Foundations of Futures Studies in Chapel Hill’s Café Driade, arguably the highest-quality coffee shop I’ve ever been to. While two of us were waiting for our drinks, another patron asked me: “Futures Studies? What is Futures Studies?” As near as I can reconstruct, here is how I responded (so be ye instructed, dear reader):
“Futures Studies the mirror-side of history. It’s using what we know about our past and present, and extrapolating it into possible, probable, and desirable future scenarios for tomorrow.”
“So it’s like consulting?”
“Yes. Futurists help humanity navigate the waters of change and articulate our best futures out of a range of potential futures. We work with non-profit organizations, businesses, churches, and even governments.”
“Wow. Sounds interesting.”
I don’t know if he was just being kind, but it is terribly interesting. A multidisciplinary range of inquiry involving systems thinking, sociology, anthropology, history and even science fiction! (And I’m only in my second semester) A little later this year my mentor Jay and I should be hosting some videocasts unpacking some of the delights of Foresight@Regent. Stay tuned.