Survival in a post-oil world _______________________
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The Prospective Mind  —  as described by  Thomas Homer-Dixon  in "The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization" - 2006

". . . here's one thing we do know about the future: surprise, instability, and extraordinary change will be regular features of our lives. Some events, such as 9/11 will even transform our outlook forever. They'll be like massive social earthquakes, rupturing the order of things—the routines and regularities we rely on for a sense of safety and a sense of who we are and where we are going. Our surroundings won't ever look the same again. . . .

. . . If we're going to choose a good route through this turbulent future, we need to change our conventional ways of thinking and speaking. . . . We talk as if we can understand and master everything around us, keeping what we want and discarding what we don't want. This attitude is deeply dangerous. The surest way for us to crash disasterously is to believe that we know and can master it all, because then we'll lose our capacity for self-criticism and self-reflection. We'll no longer see the signals around us that tell us things are going wrong and that we should adjust our course.

We need, instead, to adopt an attitude toward the world, ourselves within it, and our future that's grounded in the knowledge that constant change and surprise are now inevitable. The new attitude—which involves having a prospective mind—aggresively engages with this new world of uncertainty and risk. A prospective mind recognizes how little we understand, and how we control even less.

There's no delusional optimism here. The prospective mind knows that severe pressures are building around the planet. But neither is this viewpoint relentlessly pessimistic. The coming decades will be perilous, but we shouldn't enter them with fear. . . .

. . . we can create a rough image of the future. It's not really a prediction. Instead, it's a bit more like a French Impressionist painting that when viewed as a whole is a vivid, cohesive image, meaningful and rich with movement and feeling, but when examined closely consists of discrete brush strokes and dollops of color. Our image of the future might be crude, but it can still be grounded in sensible judgements about the deep trends and forces affecting us and about the boundary between what's plausible and what's wholly unlikely."

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