Skip to content

What to do about our global future?

Journeyism 1

Futurology is the type of inquiry that asks in a serious fashion what is to be done towards the long-term.1Benton, J., Gillis-Drage, A. and McShane, P. (2005/6). Introducing Critical Thinking. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 196.

We have coined the expression Journeyism for this elementary inquiry about the future because it combines a fresh approach to journalism with a sense of adventure. Our approach is to “popularize without compromise,” by breaking free from a tradition of inadequate expression2See Journeyism 24.. The element of adventure involves taking a road less traveled.3Along with our intended audience, specified below, just as importantly, we hope our efforts will attract the attention of journalists.

We begin by posing a series of preliminary questions.4This initial series of questions is 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, taken all together, these inquiries 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 …. 5McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 12.

Here and now, we make a start and take a stand on the state of the world and what needs to be done about it. We take a stand on hope rooted in our “hidden decency6Its 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.

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.7Benton, Gillis-Drage and McShane, 2005/6, 188. 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.8Aristotle, 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 a day, or for a life? Do those possibilities ring a bell for you?

Your own thinking process, the desire identified by Aristotle, is [at] 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 … .9Benton, J., Gillis-Drage, A. and McShane, P. (2005/6). Introducing Critical Thinking. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 216.

Therefore, we take a further stand on our extraordinary capacity and need to “sift” and “lift” that desire effectively, in opposition to

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.10McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 114.

“Hmmm … What does all this mean?”

We would guess that you are wondering about our unconventional approach to the problem of what to do about our global future. If so, your reaction would be understandable, anticipated and, as it happens, helpful towards opening up the conversation. So, let us ask, was it your curiosity that brought you to our website in the first place? Hold that thought, or rather that question, along with another: did you catch yourself wondering what on earth we are talking about?

Making sense of our unconventional take on this matter begins by focusing on what happens when you are in a state of wonder. We also need to put our heads together to make a few elementary, but critical, discoveries about it.

Are you, perhaps, also wondering why the current ebb and flow of the world’s routines is somehow out of kilter? We don’t believe it would be a stretch to suggest that, in these difficult times, a good portion of the public is wondering  about that as well. Among that public, our hope is to attract the earnest curiosity of young scholars, be they individuals or groups, who are dissatisfied with the status quo and are exploring various avenues of innovation and leadership. Our goal is to contribute to “clearing the air for the heirs”11McShane, P. (2016) Profit: The Stupid View of President Donald Trump. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 217.; that is, upcoming generations destined to inherit the responsibility for humanity’s future.

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.12McShane, 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 field of inquiry, doing it competently and with a coherent division of labour.13See McShane, 1998, below. In the future, our culture will draw on the luminous contribution of a restructured academic community to serve all manner of global needs.

There are windows to be opened and fresh air to be let in.14Lonergan, B. (2017)  A Third Collection. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 16). University of Toronto Press, 98.

Along the way, we will be supported by the extraordinary labour of two thinkers, Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984)15See “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. Their collective view partly rests on a simple, but astonishing, message of hope: it is within our capacity to summon academic communities worldwide to collaborate progressively toward creating a better future.

In 1965, Bernard Lonergan discovered the concrete possibility of restructuring post-secondary education16An image of Bernard Lonergan’s original “discovery page,” from February of 1965 may be found in Lambert and McShane, Lonergan: His Life and Leading Ideas, Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 163.. He also anticipated its casual dismissal would eventually be overcome17The academy’s indifference to Lonergan’s discovery can be discerned in current and past conventions in education. Contemporary education is “lost in some no man’s land between the world of theory and the world of common sense” (Lonergan, 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.”(Lonergan, 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.”(Lonergan, B. (1993) Topics in Education. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 10). University of Toronto Press, 232.) .

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.18Lonergan, B. (1999) Microeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 15). University of Toronto Press, 106.

Our Journeyism series seeks to draw out, in elementary fashion, key components to Lonergan’s discovery of an “effective science of the future, a globally-effective futurology”19McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 6. As a result, we anticipate “the eventual emergence of new standards of competence…”20Quinn, T. (2017). Invitation to Generalized Empirical Method in Philosophy and Science. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., xxviii..

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.21McShane, P. (1998) A Brief History of Tongue. Halifax: Axial Press, 115.

Why does “Bent On Futurology” give special attention to 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.22Lonergan, B. (1999) Microeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL 15). University of Toronto Press, 93.

And yet,

there 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 absence23McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 5.

The absence of an economic science and its serious consequences has not escaped the attention of youth worldwide as reported by The World Economic Forum, an international publication “committed to improving the state of the world…”24“The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world … ” See www.weforum.org/our-impact.

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.”25Hutt, R. “What do young people value?, The World Economic Forum, Jan. 2016. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/what-do-young-people-value/

Our response to that absence is introduced in Economics Actually, an elementary two-part introduction to Lonergan’s other great discovery, the science of economics26Bernard Lonergan, For a New Political Economy, vol. 21 of Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, ed. Philip J. McShane (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998) (CWL21) . His discovery solves the economics part of the problem. However, the long-term challenge will be to implement that science responsibly “towards a fresh normative interpretation both of the [ebb and] flow of one’s own life and the [ebb and] flow of the economy.”27McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 102.

[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.28McShane, P. (2013) Futurology Express. Vancouver: Axial Publishing, 4.

References   [ + ]

1 Comment

  1. hazzang825 on July 15, 2019 at 5:21 am

    This webpage is full of interesting things.
    I really do believe that it will bring change to the world.
    I always wondered about how I learn because I know that the world is changing and the scattered knowledge could be integrated into wisdom.
    Thank you for letting me see it clearer.

Leave a Comment