The Critical Importance of Positive Images for the Future

The Critical Importance of Positive Images for the Future

Live in the moment … we’re told.

Be present … we’re urged.

And sure, being mindful of the here and now has undoubted benefits.

But so too does thinking of and planning for the future, in a positive way …

via Psychology Today by Charles Johnston


  • If we are to progress successfully, we must have positive images for the future.
  • The “creative systems theory” concept of “cultural maturity” offers an effective and practical guiding narrative.
  • “Cultural maturity “describes a developmentally predicted next chapter in the human story, an essential “growing up” as a species.

Cynicism today is rampant. Few people hold positive expectations when it comes to the future. This lack of hopeful images has critical consequences. It is unlikely that we would encounter today’s escalating rates of anxietydepressionsuicide, and violence if people were more generally optimistic about what lies ahead. And we confront the simple fact that cynicism all too easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If our future is to provide fulfillment, we must have compelling and realistic images of what that fulfillment would look like and how it might be achieved.

In my most recent book, Insight: Creative Systems Theory’s Radical New Picture of Human Possibility, I describe how most at all current positive images ultimately fail at the task. Certainly, this is the case with utopian pronouncements. Techno-utopian claims promise that new inventions will save us. But we know all too well that as often as new technologies provide benefits, they put us at risk.

Invention can work as an answer only to the degree we are capable of using invention wisely. We also find utopian images of a more spiritual sort. For certain people, they can be particularly inspiring. But in the end, they reflect wishful thinking more than anything that can provide real guidance. And they commonly suffer from a more specific shortcoming. They tend to attract people who share specific idealized ideological beliefs. We do not in our time need contemporary versions of time-worn “chosen people” narratives…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE