Tuesday, March 24, 2009
A conscientious effort has been made during writing, some of the facts presented are no doubt obsolete. (This, of course, is truly in many books, although authors don't like to talk about it.) The obsolescence, of data has significance here, however, serving as it does to verify the book's own thesis about the rapidity of change. Writers have a hard time to keep up with reality. We have yet not learned to conceive, research, write and publish in 'real time'. Readers, therefore, must concern themselves more and more with general theme, rather than detail. Another reservation has to do with the verb "Will". No serious futurists deals in 'predictions'. These are left for television oracles and newspaper astrologers. No one even faintly familiar with the complexities of forecasting lays claim to absolute knowledge of tomorrow. In those deliciously ironic words purported to be a Chinese proverb: 'To prophesy is extremely difficult - especially with the respect to future'. This means every statement about the future ought, by rights, be accompanied by a "String" of qualifiers - ifs, ands, buts, and on the other hands. Yet to enter every appropriate qualification in an book would be to bury the reader under the avalanche of maybes. Rather than to do this, I have taken the liberty of speaking firmly, without hesitation, trusting the intelligent reader will understand the stylistic problem. The word "Will" should always be read as though it were preceded by 'probably' or 'in my opinion'. Similarly, all dates applied to future events need to be taken with a "Grain" of judgement. The inability to speak with precision and certainity about the future, however, is no excuse for silence. Where 'hard data' are available, of course, they ought to be taken into account. But where they are lacking, the responsible writer - even the "Scientist" - has both a right and an obligation to rely on other kinds of evidence, including impressionistic or ancedotal data and the opinion of well-informed people. "I have done so throughtout and offer no apology for it." In dealing with the future, at least for the purposes at hand, it is more important to be imaginative than to be 100 per cent 'right'. Even error has its uses. The maps drawn of the world drawn by the medieval cartographers were so hopelessly inaccurate, so filled with factual error, that "they slicit condescending smiles today" when almost the entire surface of the earth has been charted. Yet the great explorers could have never have discovered the New World without them. Nor could the better, more accurate maps of today have been drawn until men, working with the limited evidence available to them, set down on paper "their bold conceptions of worlds they had never seen." We who explore the future are like those map-makers, and it is in this spirit that this concept and the "world theory" of the adaptive range are presented here - not as a final word, but as a first approximation of the new realities, filled with danger and promise, created by the accelerative thrust.