Learning From the Future

H. G. WellsConventional wisdom says that we should learn from the past.  Is it possible that we can learn from the future?  I'm a science fiction fan (what self respecting geek isn't) but I'm not talking about time travel here.  I'm talking about extrapolation.  According to the dictionary, to extrapolate is "To infer or estimate by extending or projecting known information".  In other words, we CAN learn from the future by studying and learning from the past, observing the present, and imagining the future..

One of my favorite writing projects in highschool was a science fiction short story based on extrapolation.  I'll have to dig that out of my archives and post it.  In that project I described a world where political correctness invaded our society all the way to our most intimate personal interactions at the family level. 

It wasn't a happy place... even though everyone was smiling.  Imagine fake smiles on fake faces making fake promises, expressing fake love.  Based on the past, it's time for us to get real about our economy and politics and frown out loud with friends and family when we need to.

My post is late this week in part because I've been watching and waiting to see what would happen in our tax future like many other business people.  There seems to be very little business going on this week and I think it's more than a seasonal slowdown.  There is so much uncertainty in our financial world that everyone is walking on egg shells.

Well, the Bush tax cuts will continue for another two years, like it or not, so let's get back to busines NOT as usual in our recent past.  It's time for all of us to get creative in 2011 and resolve to kick ourselsves in our collective butt to get things on a better tack.  Our country is founded on belief in ourselves, faith in our convictions, and an attitude of WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

I'm not talking tea parties, or pity parties... or fake smiles.  I'm talking get down to business and put the politics aside while we get our economy on track.  We all want decent healthcare, a safe environment for our kids to inherit, prosperity and peace.  We have to achieve those things starting with ourselves, but we can't do it alone.  Positioning for the future means nothing if we don't learn from the past.

Napoleon HillWhat past should we be focused on at this particular time in history?  We should learn from the great depression following the world war.  Before you correct my previous sentence I'll let you know that I'm loosely quoting Napoleon Hill from 1937 when there had only been one world war.  He published "Think and Grow Rich" as the United States was recovering from "The Great Depression" just a few years before World War II. 

Incidentally, I recently purchased the original version of that book for $0.99 on iBooks and am reading it.  While descriptions of twenty cent breakfasts are certainly quaint, I find the historical language and context fascinating.  Reading that book has me extrapolating more intensely than I have since highschool.

There had been only one world war when Hill wrote that book but the depression he experienced directly was not the first, just the greatest at that point in history.  Should we learn from the past?  Read this timeline or get out your favorite history book and spend a bit of down time this holiday season extrapolating.  Our current national and world situation may seem frighteningly similar as you review the climate of that era.  I raise these issues not in a spirit of negativity but in the hope we can learn from the past and think positively about the future.

Please comment on this post publicly or privately.  Honest discussion mixed with introspection in the present is the best way for us to help each other learn from the future and create a brighter past!