Memory of Futures

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Abstract

We think of memories as being focused on the past. However, our ability to move freely in the temporal realm of past, present and future is far more complex and sophisticated than commonsense would suggest. In this paper I am concerned with our capacity to produce and extend ourselves into the far future, for example through nuclear power or the genetic modification of food, on the one hand, and our inability to know the potential, diverse and multiple outcomes of this technologically constituted futurity, on the other. I focus on this discrepancy in order to explore what conceptual tools are available to us to take account of long-term futures produced by the industrial way of life. And I identify some historical approaches to the future on the assumption that the past may well hold vital clues for today's dilemma, hence my proposal to engage in 'memory of futures'. I conclude by considering the potential of 'memory aids for the future' as a means to better encompass in contemporary concerns the long-term futures of our making.

Memory of Futures

in KronoScope

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