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Futureorientation 1/2010

Dear reader. Utopia comes from Greek. U = ‘no’ + topos = ‘place’, so ‘utopia’ means a non-existing place.1 ”This is utopian,” we say, meaning that something is farfetched and unrealistic. In this way, the concept of utopia has become part of our daily language and influences the way we think. However, it is worth noting that utopias are not always unrealistic, nor does the original meaning of the word imply they should be. On occasion, they could easily be realized, if we could just agree to do so.

Read the editorial

Af Morten Grønborg, editor FO.


The Utopia issue

Martin Kruse: The Difference Between Utopias and Visions – and the Fear of the Totalitarian Nature of the Utopia

What is the difference between a utopia and a vision? What is the origin of the utopia in the history of ideas? And what role does futures studies play in it all? Take the time to read Martin Kruse’s article and get wiser

Morten Grønborg: The World According to Fresco

With The Venus Project, 93-year-old Jacque Fresco, a multi-disciplinarian and futurist, has created an all-encompassing alternative to the society we live in today. Fresco recently visited Copenhagen as part of the event COP Kreativ, where he talked about designing the future. If you weren’t near Copenhagen, or if you happened to miss his lecture, you can read here about his ideas of how we can create a better world

Klaus Æ Mogensen: Orwell was an Optimist

“Big Brother is watching.” This is how George Orwell described the surveillance society in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The novel depicts a dystopian society where the state closely watches everyone and strikes down hard on any activity that can be viewed as subversive. ‘Big Brother’ often shows up as a grim spectre in contemporary debates about surveillance, but reality is actually surpassing fiction: We are under surveillance everywhere, often without being aware of it, and the information collected about us is kept for years and may be used against us. Hence, Orwell could be seen as an optimist

Klaus Æ Mogensen: Orwell was a Pessimist

“Big Brother is watching.” This is how George Orwell described the surveillance society in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The novel depicts a dystopian society where the state closely watches everyone and strikes down hard on any activity that can be viewed as subversive. ‘Big Brother’ often shows up as a grim spectre in contemporary debates about surveillance, but reality isn’t as bad as the fiction: We may be watched everywhere, but we can remain calm, because the surveillance is there to protect us. Orwell was a pessimist

Søren Riis: Nudging Utopia

The Nudge technology can lead to better design, more desirable behaviour and a better world … all without your noticing it. The method is based on the fact that human beings are far less rational and intelligent than we like to think. Hence, we can benefit from small, gentle, imperceptible nudges in the right direction

Nikolina Olsen-Rule: Utopian Spaces

In order to understand the more philosophical ideas behind the utopia phenomenon, a more concrete approach may be necessary. For this purpose, a society’s physical organization is an obvious thing to watch. Take a look at three perfect cities

Sara Jönsson: Faith in the Future in a World of Dystopias

Utopias are big words and thoughts. But in a world increasingly characterized by complex structures and globalization, it is easier to speak of individual responsibility than of a common dream, which we all must struggle to realize

Johan Peter Paludan's column: Utopians - our closest colleagues?

Outside theme

Marcel Bullinga: Nine trends and nine inventions that will shape the face of the 21st century

Nine trends and nine inventions will shape the face of the 21st century. They will have a similar impact on our lives as the car, the TV and the airplane had on the lives of our parents. Take a sneak peak at Marcel Bullingas upcoming book Futurecheck

Johan Peter Paludan: Future Strategy in the Present – Part 1

The historian and the futurist can be said to study two sides of the same matter, specifically the present, writes Johan Peter Paludan in this first article about the phenomenon of futures studies and its role in organizational and strategic planning

Morten Paustian: Visionary thinking – A philosophical trip with Clumsy Hans

Thoughts aren’t just isolated in the human skull, but contain impulses with ideas that fly around among other people. The thoughts vibrate out in the world and attempt to guide people forward to each other, so that encounters and events can become inspiring transactions

Futureorientation 1/2010

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Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

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