Being Practical about Our Dreams. (about This Issue)
Wagner, Cynthia G., The Futurist
Almost every technological breakthrough can be viewed as a result of utopian thinking--attempts to improve our world or ourselves by applying imagination and ingenuity to realizing a dream (or preventing a nightmare). This sort of utopian thinking could be a key to human development, evolution, and even survival, argues social researcher and educator Tsvi Bisk.
"The primary human survival tool is not instinct but the reasoning mind evaluating the human environment," Bisk writes in this issue. "Those who are better at this usually have more successful lives. Societies and cultures that encourage this kind of thinking are usually much more developed."
Bisk argues for a new, more-practical approach to utopian thinking that synthesizes the scientist's reason and the humanist's values. In a neo-utopia, futurists would be the heroes. (See "Toward a More Practical Utopianism," page 22.)
Practical utopianism would recognize the risks as well as the rewards of technologies such as genetic testing, which may soon enable us to prevent potential problems like alcoholism. …