These days, it’s hard to find time to be idealistic, to develop ways of improving our world, thinking through the causes of existing problems and then coming up with possible solutions. And, yet, dreams can be incredibly powerful, driving society and humanity forward in the never-ending process called progress. Think of how long physicist and inventor, Robert Goddard (1882 –1945) dreamt of, and experimented with, rockets before developing the first successful liquid-fuelled rocket. As the father of the age of rockets, however, he was never to see his invention fire the Apollo 11 crew into space on a mission to land on the moon in 1969. This achievement was the fulfilment of the dream of another visionary, President John F. Kennedy, who forecast in the early 1960s that that America would succeed before the end of that decade in landing humans on the moon and returning them safely to earth (see Voyage of the Moon Dream). Think of Nelson Mandela dreaming of a democratic South Africa free from Apartheid while languishing in jail on Robben Island. Think of Gandhi’s ideal of a united India free from colonial rule and prejudice. Ideals are never cheap, never easy, but without them, I suspect humankind would stagnate and even retrogress. So, here is a space to think and to ponder on a more idealistic level.
The other day, I realised that years of systematic study of the future had turned me into what can only be defined as a neo-progressionist. Firstly, it’s time to move beyond twentieth century post-modernism with its deconstructionist scepticism about reason, progress, science and the future.