James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public
domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at
Jump to the following topics:
- We use
many methods for studying the future.
is one means of examining the future.
- Is our future
possible outcomes if we knew the future.
- Techniques for
managing our future.
many methods for studying the future. We are constantly trying to
predict the future: we listen to weather reports, consult with
financial advisors, try to guess the upcoming lottery numbers, glance
at our "horoscope" in a newspaper, interpret our dreams, attend to
our hunches, hire economists, read science fiction which depicts
possible futures, and use other approaches. means.
is one means of examining the future. Futurism is the intellectual
study of the future. The approach is generally based on science,
empirical data, statistics, and rational thinking; some futurists
might allow a degree of intuition in generating predictions, but they
reject approaches which are founded on mysticism or divination
techniques (e.g., astrology). Futurists do not believe in
pre-determined fate (secular or god-ordained) but rather in the power
of human society to create its future through its decisions and
actions. Futurism includes people from many fields: economics,
business, politics, technology, sociology, planning, the military,
etc.; this broad spectrum of disciplines results in conflicting views
of the future, but most futurists strive for a wholistic overview
which accounts for these different viewpoints (e.g., those from an
environmentalist's perspective versus those from an industrialist's
perspective). Futurism has been examined in many venues:
- Books. For example, Megatrends, Brave New World,
and Jules Verne's novels.
- Films. For example, Star Wars.
- Television programs. For example, Star Trek.
- Consultations, to advise business leaders and others.
- Nonprofit organizations. For example, The World Future
Society, which publishes a magazine, The Futurist.
Is our future
predetermined? We can consider these possibilities:
- Perhaps the future is predetermined; we cannot control it or
change it. We are moved by inevitable "fate" in a mechanistic
world in which we have no power nor free will. From this
perspective, prophecy is an exact science; we know the future
because it has already been established.
- Perhaps the future is uncontrollable but not predetermined.
The world is a series of random events which have no direction nor
meaning. Our life is buffeted by the chance occurrences of
soulless matter, or by the whim of gods.
- Perhaps the future is totally determined by our actions today.
This grandiose notion is held by some people in metaphysics,
magick, witchcraft, and the New Age movement. However, these
people -- despite their attempts at controlling the people and
natural forces around them -- might eventually conclude that they
have neither the power nor the right to inflict their manipulative
personal will onto others. If we differentiate between "the
future" and "our future," we respect the forces which are
not aligned with our preferences.
- Perhaps the future is partially determined by our
actions today. We recognize various factors:
- Our actions. Our archetypal fields record the thoughts,
images, energy tones, and actions which we generate in each
encounter with an archetype. These elements are our "karma";
their content and their dynamic charge will influence us to
commit particular actions, on the basis of various dynamics:
- We repeat these actions because of "habit." When we are
not complying with intuition's guidance during the
archetypal encounter, we automatically refer to the existing
elements in the archetypal field, to determine, "how do I
usually respond to this archetypal situation?" (In contrast,
intuition would suggest guidance which is based on this
unique situation, instead of defaulting to a generalized
template of behavior.)
- We repeat these actions because of the dynamic charge
which is retained in the archetypal-field elements. If we
did not act according to intuition (which considers all
dynamic factors in this singular situation), our actions
were not entirely accurate; e.g., we did not say or do
exactly what needed to be said or done. Thus, the thoughts,
images, energy tones, and actions did not "connect" with the
actual dynamics of the circumstance, and so they did not
discharge their charge of energy. In the archetypal field,
this charge lingers with the elements. The charge is so
powerful that it compels us to re-create that archetypal
situation for the specific purpose of discharging that
residual charge; for example, we are uncomfortable until we
go back to the person whom we harmed, and we say or do
whatever is necessary to release the charge which we did not
express in our original encounter.
- External factors which we cannot control. However, we can
position ourselves within these factors; for example, if we
know that the stock market will drop, we sell our holdings.
Thus, we do not determine "the future" itself, but only our
placement within it. Even so, our will does not totally control
our placement; our karma might require us to experience the
disaster, so that we can discharge a residual charge from our
archetypal fields. For example, if we have been greedy, we have
acquired an amount of money which is not supported by the
dynamics of our life, and so we will be compelled to discharge
that excess through financial tragedy. The tragedy does more
than merely adjust our material situation; it also motivates us
to re-evaluate and adjust the elements in the archetypal field
which corresponds to what we could call the "Money" archetype.
possible outcomes if we knew the future. Although accurate
predictions are useful in helping us to prepare for the future and to
recognize patterns in our lifestyle, they can -- whether correct or
incorrect -- be destructive (whether someone gives the prediction to
us, or we acquire it in our own way, or we give a prediction to
- Predictions can become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Particularly if we are suggestible, we might begin to act in such
a way that we cause the predicted events to occur. For example, if
someone says that we will have a car accident, this suggestion can
unconsciously cause us to drive unsafely so that we create that
accident; we have accepted the prediction as a command that is to
be fulfilled. We see self-fulfilling prophecies in many areas of
life; for example, if a trusted economist says that the stock
market will plunge, some investors will sell their stocks, thereby
causing that plunge.
- The counter-measure: We develop a strong ego which cannot
be manipulated by other people's suggestions. And we can view
self-fulfilling prophecies as self-defeating prophecies;
for example, nightmarish, dystopian predictions (like those of
the novel, 1984) can be taken as warnings of events
which might occur if we do not change our ways.
- Predictions can be perceived as constraints. If we believe
that the future is preordained regardless of what we do, we might
discard the intuition, motivation, creativity, resourcefulness,
and sense of responsibility which we would otherwise employ if we
believed that we can influence our future.
- The counter-measure: We can consider and test the notion
that we can control our destiny, through the use of
intuition and the other faculties which are listed here.
- Predictions can have an undue influence on our emotions. For
example, a prediction of disaster or death can cause fear and
depression. Contrarily, a prediction of prosperity might
overstimulate us with unwarranted excitement.
- The counter-measure: We can cultivate the same type of
emotional detachment which helps us to cope with the other
uncertainties in our daily life, such that we do not become
terrified by a "slippery when wet" road-sign, or exuberant when
a mass-mailing envelope says that "you might be the winner of
- Predictions can have an undue influence on our actions. They
can cause use to spend time and money fruitlessly on events which
are not going to occur anyway. In an extreme example, predictions
of "the end of the world" have caused believers to quit their
jobs, leave their families, and give away their material
- The counter-measure: We can consider that our major
decisions need to be considered in the light of a variety of
data (not merely one prediction) and also a variety of
information-processing techniques (e.g., intuition, logic,
common sense, review of past experience, etc.).
- Predictions merely postpone the inevitable. In retrospect, we
might see that a disaster served a purpose: (1) it taught an
important lesson, or (2) it helped us to develop a valued quality
(such as compassion, strength, or forgiveness), or (3) it paid a
debt, or (4) it helped us to leave something behind and to proceed
to the next phase of our life. When we avoid a particular
misfortune, we might have to encounter the same underlying karma
later in a different situation.
- The counter-measure: Our intuition tells us which
misfortunes are to be avoided (and how they can be
avoided), and which ones must be undergone (to fulfill the
purposes which were listed above).
- We can become intrigued by our power. Whether this is the
power to know the future, or the power to control the
future, or the power to control other people by telling them about
their own future, we might be interfering with the flow of events.
If we interfere, we might encounter various problems: (1) we
become responsible for the damage which we commit in our desire to
control events (in contrast to the guiltlessness of simply acting
according to our intuitive perception of the needs of the moment),
(2) we are distracted by the opportunism and the lust for data
instead of tending to the responsibilities of our own life, and
(3) we might lose our ability to discern the future (because any
powers which are abused tend to be taken from us, by the dynamics
of spirit which allowed prophecy to occur and which we forsook
when we stepped out of the flow to obey our lust instead of the
intuition which comes from spirit).
- The counter-measure: Our intuition tells us only what we
need to know about the future, and what we need to do to
prepare ourselves, and which details are meant to be shared
with other people. We don't need to know everything.
- We can be blamed for the events which we have predicted.
Because of our knowledge of upcoming events, people might wonder
whether we have helped to plan them. For example, after Edgar
Cayce used his intuition to reveal some facts regarding a crime,
the police considered him to be a suspect because they believed
that only a participant could have known those details.
- The counter-measure: We attend to intuition,
which tells us what to say and what not to say. And
perhaps we can express our insight as a mere guess, or as a
- Predictions can remove some of the fun and adventure from
life. Many people enjoy the stimulation and suspense of
not knowing the future; hence, the popularity of mystery
novels, exploration (in science and other fields), gift-wrapping
on Christmas presents so that the recipient can only
wonder what is being concealed, and the statement, "Don't
tell me; I love surprises."
- The counter-measure: We allow our natural courage,
patience, and joie de vivre, so that we are less
fearful and controlling in our relationship with our future. We
can find a balance in knowing whatever we need to know while
allowing for some exciting uncertainties.
managing our future.
- Archetypal field-work. The a-field elements are our "karma"
which will provide part of the framework of our future conditions.
- Self-talk. For example: "I accept responsibility for my
life in the present, to make a better future." "I can create a
future of happiness" -- or "success" or another goal.
- Directed imagination. We visualize ourselves in the
material situations which will be fulfilling; for example, we
might visualize ourselves in a loving relationship. We don't
use our imagination in "worrying," which is the imagining
- Energy toning. For example, we can generate energy tones of
confidence, hope, pleasant anticipation, etc. -- instead of
fear and anxiety regarding the future.
- The "as-if" principle. We act "as if" we have a sense of
responsibility for all aspects of our life. For example, we act
as if we are a person who pays bills before they are due.
- Intuition. We enhance our awareness of intuition, so that we
are aware of upcoming situations; for example, we might have a
hunch that a particular job opportunity would be beneficial for
us. We use intuition at all times, because it tells us how to
respond appropriately to the dynamics of a situation; these
appropriate responses help to create a good relationship, job
environment, family, etc. -- now, and onward into the future.
- Faith. We develop faith that the universe is good or at least
fair and just. Thus, our future is likely to be pleasant, as long
as we comply with the requirements of life (i.e., the dynamics of
- Optimism. We believe that we are likely to experience success
- Discipline. We develop the discipline which is required to
direct ourselves toward our goals.
- Goals. We create goals which will be personally fulfilling.
- Material preparations. In this chapter, most of the
suggestions deal with our psychological approach to the
future. But, of course, we must also prepare ourselves
materially; for example, we attend to our body's fitness
(so that it will be healthy in the future); we manage our finances
(with regard to savings, debts, etc.); we continually improve our
job skills (so that we will be able to perform new tasks in the