3. Actions (“Hand”)
Fred Polak—a Dutch sociologist and well-known futurist—believed in the enormous power of visions. After having studied the entire history of Western civilization (1961, 1973), he wrote: “The more powerful the image of the future is, the more powerfully it acts in determining the actual future” (1961, II: 341). The contemporary sociologist Lawrence Busch based his doctoral dissertation (1974) on Polak’s achievements. In an article following his dissertation, Busch focused on answering this question: “What conditions appear necessary to construct the future successfully, either as individuals, as organizations, or as a society?” (1976: 29). Here are his conclusions:
- 1. An image of the future must be holistic if it is to achieve widespread acceptance . . . .
- 2. A successful image of the future must provide the promise of the resolution of the anomalies and contradictions of the existing order . . . .
- 3.The future must be constructed in the present, not the future . . . .
- 4. A successful image of the future must provide an escape from the existing order, but it must find that escape within the existing order . . . .
- 5. A successful image of the future must provide an operationalizable methodology for the individual . . ..
- 6. All successful images of the future are structured . . ..
- 7. A meaningful image of the future must involve the mundane . . . .
- One final point needs to be made; it cannot accurately be considered as a condition of a successful image but rather as a precondition of success. This is simply that a crisis must be widely perceived in the existing order. The crisis is the catalyst that makes the new image of the future meaningful as an alternative (Busch, 1976: 29-36).