What to do about our global future?



We have coined the expression Journeyism for this series because it merges certain elements of journalism with a sense of adventure. Our journalistic initiative seeks to “popularize without compromise” the manner in which we spell out our elementary introduction to overcoming breakdowns in education and economics, the communication of which, historically, has suffered from a regrettable tradition of inadequate linguistic expression.1See the quote at footnote 16 below for a hint as to the underlying cause. The element of adventure underscores our need to take a road less traveled to discover sustainable solutions for each.2Along with our intended audience, specified below, just as importantly, we hope our efforts will attract the attention of journalists as well as society in general.

We open our series with introductory questions as a preliminary to raising further discomforting questions as we go along – questions that, unfortunately, have neither frequently nor properly been raised where and when it matters most. Our hope is that these inquiries taken all together will encourage you to raise such questions for yourself.

Why does Bent On Futurology make an appearance, here and now?

We have to make a start, aligned with the hidden decency in all, so that the decency be sifted and lifted out of past conventions…. 3McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 12.

Here and now, we make a start and take a stand. We take a stand on the hope rooted in our “hidden decency4Its presence in you, drawn from personal experience, follows our preliminary discussion leading up to a series of four exercises starting with Journeyism 10.”, a core desire that would serve to uphold the dignity of all humans.

We also take a stand on our basic capacity and need to “sift” and “lift” that desire effectively, in opposition to the ethos of conventions that would subtly shift its ground at every opportunity to thwart that core desire: “the dominant ethos of military-industrial-educational alliances of all colours with a mindless cluster of economic oversights, alliances that keep some of us hungry, some of us pampered, and all of us busy and ignorant.”5McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 114.

Of course, we would be foolish to expect that you would take these claims at face value. Still, is there a lingering suspicion bubbling up in your sensibility that the current ebb and flow of the world’s routines is somehow out of kilter?

As it stands, we are hoping our efforts in some way appeal to the imagination of present-day educators and professionals who are in contact with our youth, but most of all, we hope to attract the earnest attention and engagement of concerned youth, who (in varying degrees of quiet desperation) may be dissatisfied with the status quo.6We certainly welcome and encourage the participation of youth who are exploring avenues of innovation and leadership through such worldwide organizations as Student and Innovation House https://www.studenthouse.dk, AIESEC  https://aiesec.org/, MaRS Discovery District https://www.marsdd.com/, WISE Initiative https://www.wise-qatar.org/. The impetus behind their search for solutions, as far as it goes, reinforces our broad concern.

Our goal, therefore, is to contribute as best we can to “clearing the air for the heirs”7McShane, P. (2016) Profit: The Stupid View of President Donald Trump. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 217. who will become the educators and professionals facing the herculean task of shaping our global future. We cite, for example, The World Economic Forum, an international publication “committed to improving the state of the world…”8www.weforum.org

In 2013, Telefónica in partnership with the Financial Times commissioned a survey of young people aged 18-30 across 27 countries in six regions. The survey…found, at the time of polling, the economy was the biggest concern for young people in North America, Europe and Asia. Meanwhile in the Middle East and Africa, the most pressing issue was terrorism, and in Latin America it was social inequality.”9Hutt, R. “What do young people value?, The World Economic Forum, Jan. 2016. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/what-do-young-people-value/

[T]he issue [we] raise here is the global possibility of shifting solidly and effectively from long-term helplessness to a massively new control of meaning that will take control of the globe away from the tyrants and touts and tricksters and gun-toters that are too evidently in charge.10McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 4.

What is Futurology?

Futurology is the type of inquiry that asks in a serious fashion what is to be done towards the long-term.11Benton, J., Gillis-Drage, A. and McShane, P. (2005/6). Introducing Critical Thinking. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 196.

Our focus, in a spirit of hope, is on the massively complex, long-term task of what to do about our global future.

You will notice straightaway the basis and direction of implementing this task draws on the extraordinary labour of two thinkers, Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984)12See “Part 3, Leading Ideas, p. 165ff. in Pierrot Lambert, Philip McShane, Bernard Lonergan: His Life and Leading Ideas, Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 2010. and Philip McShane (1932- ), whose voices have been flying under the radar the past seventy odd years, and who, despite many obstacles, have persevered to anticipate a fresh view of the human journey ahead. Their collective view partly rests on a simple, but astonishing, message of hope: it is, in fact, within our capacity to summon academic communities worldwide to collaborate progressively toward creating a better future.

It was Bernard Lonergan who brought to light the concrete possibility of creatively restructuring the economy and education. He also anticipated the neglect it would suffer at this stage and left the massive challenge of implemention to future generations.

Is my proposal utopian? It asks merely for creativity, for an interdisciplinary theory that at first will be denounced as absurd, then will be admitted to be true but obvious and insignificant, and perhaps finally to be regarded as so important that its adversaries will claim that they themselves discovered it.13Lonergan, B. (1999) Microeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 15). University of Toronto Press, 106.

How does Futurology work?

[T]he method of futurology [is] a cyclic collaboration of groups of people deeply interested in effectively restructuring humanity’s stumbling start.14McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 8.

Futurology divides up our communal efforts to get our global minding in order. Simply stated, it’s about knowing precisely what we are doing in any area, doing it competently and with a coherent division of labour.15See McShane, 1998, below. In the future, our culture will draw on the luminous contribution of a restructured academic community to serve our global needs.

There are windows to be opened and fresh air to be let in.16Lonergan, B. (2017)  A Third Collection. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 16). University of Toronto Press, 98.

In the meantime, we occupy a confused and fragmented period of history. Current and past conventions in education and economics are “lost in some no man’s land between the world of theory and the world of common sense”17Lonergan, B. (1996) “Time and Meaning”. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 6). University of Toronto Press, 121. in which “too many people felt it beneath them to direct their efforts to apparently trifling problems.”18Lonergan, B. (1993) Insight. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 3) University of Toronto Press, 27. The resulting ethos “[has] done not a little to make life unlivable.”19Lonergan, B. (1993) Topics in Education. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 10). University of Toronto Press, 232.

Thus, we believe in the capacity for performance of your best self. The self that is open to a fresh perspective on the amazing solution to the problem of living that is the human being.20Benton, Gillis-Drage and McShane, 2005/6, 188. At the core of “the hidden decency in all,” is our native wonder expressed in the first sentence of Aristotle’s Metaphysics:

All men [and women] by nature desire to know.21Aristotle, Ross (Trans.), Metaphysics, Book A, (I).

In short, everyone wonders. Is your wondering a desire to understand, or to have the facts of some matter, or to reach a plan for the day, or for life? Do those possibilities ring a bell for you? “Your own thinking process, the desire identified by Aristotle, is the heart of what matters. To come to it, or at it, critically, is enormously difficult in any age, but it seems altogether more difficult at the beginning of this millennium, so that, even without a critical grip on that desire…we need to escape at every opportunity…from convention, truncation, ordinariness. Above all, we are not ordinary …”.22Benton, J., Gillis-Drage, A. and McShane, P. (2005/6). Introducing Critical Thinking. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 216.

Why do we emphasize the field of Economics?

An economy is just part of ongoing human history. Within that process we are born and raised. By our common sense we find our place in it and work out for ourselves our sad or happy lives and thereby make sad or happy the lives of others.23Lonergan, B. (1999) Microeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 15). University of Toronto Press, 93.

Our challenge, and indeed our global challenge, is to respond to “the need of a bent towards a fresh normative interpretation both of the flow of one’s own life and the flow of the economy”24McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 102. that will reinvigorate the diminished meaning of standard of living.

Our initial effort, “A Very Brief Introduction to Economics’ New Standard Model,” available now, and “Economics for the Positive Anthropocene, ” available soon, draw attention to a fresh approach to economic practice and education with an elementary introduction to an existing, but so far neglected, science of economics and economic restructuring.

Along with Philip McShane we will “mention banking and the shambles of economics because these are at the heart of the crisis…[T]here never was a serious economic science, a serious political economy, but in more recent times there has been an arrogant self-serving cover-up of its absence.”25McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 5.

Meanwhile, our presentations in this Journeyism series seek to draw out, in elementary fashion, key components intrinsic not only to restructuring the study of Economics, but also to restructuring any academic pursuit. We are very hopeful our efforts combined will gradually bring to light a foundation for an omnidisciplinary collaborative transformation of human culture, an “effective science of the future, a globally-effective futurology”.26McShane, P., Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 2013, 6 As such, we anticipate “the eventual emergence of new standards of competence…”27Quinn, T. (2017). Invitation to Generalized Empirical Method in Philosophy and Science. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., xxviii. in all lines of human inquiry. The pressure of history demands it. But, our long descent into conventionality and ordinariness has truncated our effort to respond effectively to those pressures.

The need for, and pressure towards, that division of labour will become evident as we move forward in the new millennium…  it requires only that one be trapped into respectable performance, much as chemists after the 1860s were trapped into the Periodic Table.28McShane, P. (1998) A Brief History of Tongue. Halifax: Axial Press, 115.



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