Magazine article The Futurist

A World Future Celebration

Magazine article The Futurist

A World Future Celebration

Article excerpt

We look ahead quite naturally during personal anniversaries and public commemorations: Our New Year's resolutions are testimony to this tradition. Every new decade, we take a farther look, and every century, even farther. The Third Millennium is a quadruple set point: a new year, a new decade, a new century, as well as a new millennium.

The Third Millennium invites us to move from our small cycles--daily, monthly, seasonal, annual--to the grand scale of human history. From the perspective of the year 2000, Socrates and Homer are only a couple of millennial cycles away; Tutankhamen, only one more. As distant history draws closer, so also does the distant future.

Consider all we have accomplished during this millennium: We established governments based on the consent of the governed. We discovered science, developed medicine, and then created the universities. We proved the world was round and discovered new worlds beyond our horizons. We split the atom and tapped the power of stars. We mastered flight, moved toward the stars, and reached the edge of time and the universe with our minds.

If this past be prologue, what dreams can the Third Millennium hold? Our imaginations stumble to keep pace, and the past no longer prepares us for the pace of unprecedented change. Despite the greatness of past accomplishments, the greatest challenges still lie ahead. They promise great adventure and sheer exhilaration.

And yet, in many ways, the Third Millennium is already here. For example, most of the cars and housing of the year 2001 have already been built. Doctors of the next millennium have started medical school and lawyers are now college sophomores. The first children who will be educated entirely in the Third Millennium were born last year.

As we mark the passing of one millennium and the entry into another, we have the mandate for assessing where we are and what we have accomplished for humanity in this millennium. This assessment of where we are leaves us poised for our future, ready for the next cycle, the next season, to the renewal. All of the hopes and dreams of a springtime in the human spirit await us.

Some 40 nations now have official millennium projects. If the United States follows in the tradition of its past national celebrations--such as those for the U.S. Bicentennial, the Constitution's Bicentennial, and the quincentenary of Columbus--a national commission will be established to prepare for a Third Millennium Jubilee. …

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