Further thoughts

The future is rather daunting, and a majority of people prefer not to look. This is understandable though also rather dangerous. The philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “For the triumph of evil it is necessary only that good people do nothing” – and this is very much a statement for our time. Where, after all, are we heading and what are we seeking to achieve?

For campaigning purposes, many organisations focus on specific ranges of issues only, or they might lean toward pessimistic or optimistic scenarios, or adopt positions that reinforce particular political, institutional or philosophical outlooks. Often they can be vying for funding and attention, which can introduce biases.

We humans tend to judge the future in the past’s terms – walking into the future facing backwards. We need now to face forwards.

So in this report we must square with daunting possibilities without turning readers off, and also point out positive potentials without glossing over the tough, sobering stuff.

Our aim is to inform and stimulate, helping readers widen their perspective to perceive options and alternatives, without ourselves adopting strong policy positions. We naturally have our preferences and viewpoint, as does everyone in this business, but we seek not to impose them or recruit people to our cause.

We aim simply to show underlying patterns and trends which can give us better perspective on an apparent deluge of often worrying facts and statements that emerge in the public domain.

We want to widen readers’ sense of possibilities by drawing on both the customary authorities and on unusual forecasting sources.

We aim to balance the ‘what’ (factual content) with the ‘how’ of responding constructively to it. And we hope to engage readers’ hearts and hopes, not just their minds or fears.

NEXT: Project details