“That’s because people feel worse when something bad might occur than when something bad will occur. Most of us aren’t losing sleep and sucking down Marlboros because the Dow is going to fall another thousand points, but because we don’t know whether it will fall or not — and human beings find uncertainty more painful than the things they’re uncertain about.
Why would we prefer to know the worst than to suspect it? Because when we get bad news we weep for a while, and then get busy making the best of it. We change our behavior, we change our attitudes. We raise our consciousness and lower our standards. We find our bootstraps and tug. But we can’t come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.”
Daniel Gilbert in NYT Opinion
Other happiness related posts
Just stumbled upon the RADIO4 website that contains an archive of interviews with a huge range of fascinating people. Ranging from Margaret Atwood discussing her novel The Handmaid’s Tale not being science-fiction but based on real political, historical and contemporary events to Arthur C. Clarke writing about the future, James Watson and Francis Crick discuss how they discovered DNA, Gandhi giving a spiritual message to the world, Vladimir Nabokov and his view of other writers and the difference between genius and talent and lastly my hero Roald Dahl discussing childrens’ love of laughter and attraction to rudeness.
On Wednesday 17th, the government think tank, FORESIGHT, will be launching its Tackling Obesities report at the RSA, in London. Based on a 2 year project it outlines its investigations into the future of obesity in the UK, including its prediction that half the population could be obese within 25 years.
During summer 2006 I spent two months working as an intern alongside the FORESIGHT team to envision the impact of the predicted obesity epidemic over the next 50 years. I worked in collaboration with Michael Burton in the development of our scenarios which are highlighted in the images above. Each image represents a scenario based on a variety of topics relating to the many factors that contribute to the increase in obesity in the UK including food deserts, individual genetic make up, cultural stigma, built environment, education, choice etc.
Our work considered the evolution of the body in response to an overtly obesogenic environment and some proposals for tackling the problem. Our project aims to be a point of provocation informed by Foresight’s extensive consultation with leading world scientists, experts and other stakeholders in order to stimulate debate in Government as well as the general public.
More information about each scenario can be found at my website>.
Further news links related to the FORESIGHT report can be found here>
Lucy Kimbell calls herself an artist and interaction designer and one project that i have begun to understand and become intrigued by is her Free Evaluation Service. “A performance/service that sits uncomfortably on the boundaries of live art and pscyhology and management practices,”. By using dashboard dials as a comparative metaphor this service used to help artists visually evaluate and compare their own values in accordance to their own practice and empower those participants by realising how and who evaluated their work. A clever way of making a piece of work that actually works on two levels, pragmatically and critically.
From her website:
How to use this toolkit:
1 Select a dial that represents something within your own practice and photocopy the page
2 Mark an arrow on the dial to show where you are right now
3 Add units, labels or danger zones to increase the usefulness of the dial
4 Repeat the process, gathering together around seven to ten dials. Create your own dials if you prefer using the blank shapes provided.
5 Lay out your dials on a large piece of paper and consider your dashboard. Rearrange and stick them down when you are ready
6 Notice where each arrow is now: think about where you’d like each arrow to be
7 Repeat in a month
Some examples of the results from one session:
Futurists share common methods, including intuitive and expert opinion, trend analysis, the Delphi method, scenario planning, time-series extrapolation and computer modeling. More info can be found at forecasting principles.
“Since the future has not yet happened, futurists have had to develop a number of different methodologies for studying the future. These methodologies range from quantitative, left brain methods to visionary, creative, intuitive right brain methods, and various combinations inbetween. Some of the more prominent futures methodologies include the following:
- Trend Extrapolation: Projects past trends into the future, for some given period of time. Assumes that the future will in some way be an extension of past trends.
- Dynamic Systems Analysis and Computer Modelling: Shows how various variables in different areas interact with each other, within a whole systems context, over time.
- Simulations and Games: An attempt to take certain variables from “reality” in some area and create a computer model or game situation in which one can see how those variables might interact with each other over time. Computers or humans (as role players) or both can be involved.
- Cross Impact Analysis: Shows how choices concerning one variable interact with choices concerning another variable, providing a table of all possible combinations of choices for each variable, and showing which combinations are viable and which not.
- Technological Forecasting: An attempt to forecast what technological breakthroughs and developments are most likely to occur in future and when they are likely to occur. In an age in which technology is a major driving force for change, such as today, keeping on top of the latest developments in technology is essential–especially if one works in the high technology area today.
- Technological Impact Assessment: Looks at how new technologies are likely to impact on society or the environment.
- Environmental Impact Assessment: Looks at how new developments in some area will impact on the environment. Often required today, before new building plans can be approved.
- Social Impact Assessment: Looks at how new developments in some area will impact on society or on some community.
- Delphi Polls of Experts–on Either Probable or Preferable Futures: Poll experts in some area on what events they think are most probable (or preferable) and when they are most likely to occur; also the reasons for their answers. Summarize results; give to experts; ask them to take poll again. If they think other people’s reasons for their answers are better, they ‘can’ change their answer the second time; or the third time they take the poll. Gives good results re: experts views of what’s likely to occur in future. More about the Delphi Technique
- Futures Wheels: A group brainstorming technique to quickly determine what some of the first, second, and third order consequences might be, ‘if’ some event were to occur in the future–either for the first time, or if something were to either decrease or increase in value in future. Everything follows from this event put in the center of the futures wheel.
- Scenarios: A possible sequence of events that ‘could’ happen in the future, based on certain initial conditions or assumptions and what could follow from that. Futurists often construct at least two or three different scenarios about the future in some area, believing that different alternative futures are possible. Examples include: best case, worst case, most probable case, and other type scenarios.
- Intuition & Intuitive Forecasting: A right brain ‘a ha’ experience, in which you suddenly ‘know’ something to be true, or you suddenly see patterns and relationships between things that you didn’t see before. Good artists, scientists, corporate executives, and leaders in any area all tend to be intuitive.
- Experiments in Alternative Lifestyles: One of the best ways to find out if alternative values can work is to try them out in practice. Those new “fads” or alternative lifestyles that work, and respond to some social need, often see themselves becoming more mainstream with time.
- Social Action to Change the Future: People willing to join together with others to educate people on some issue and to work for meaningful change often find that their efforts ‘can’ effect and help to change the future.
- Short, Medium, and Long Range Planning: Futurists look at planning in short, medium, and long range terms. [See Earl Joseph's five different time periods for looking at change and the future.]
- Relevance Trees: A way to map out the sequence of events, and in what order, that are necessary to get from where you are now to where you want to be as your end goal by some future date.
- CERT/CPM Analysis: A method for doing complex planning of great numbers of people and subcontractors working on some large project, such as the space program. Indeed, this methodology was first developed for use by NASA in planning how to get to the moon. “
from DR. LINDA GROFF. A Global Futurist at the California State University, Dominguez Hills
Last week Dr. Richard Wiseman, a former magician and now psychologist researcher at the University of Hertfordshire, visited college and told us about his clever work and research insights into various worlds of the paranormal, deception, humour and luck. He was a very good speaker and obviously knew how to engage an audience at the very beginning of a talk by doing a hoax magic trick. He talked to us about deception and the different ways that scientists have tried to understand when someone is lying. He gave us a few audience participtaion tests and made a point that some non verbal communication scientists have tried to understand what visual langusage cues we use that may indicate that we are lying but actually it is the vocal side that we should pay more attention to. For example the flow of words and the amount of words used to say sth can be an indicationof whether we are lying or not.
I managed to talk to him briefly after the talk and asked him about my interest in the future of self knowledge in particular the links between the world of esoteric knowledge, horizon scanning and geno/phenotypoe determinism. He mentioned i should look up Sarah Angliss and her Booth Of Truth. (see previous post)
Some points and comments made by the marketing consultant and journalist, Peter York during a debate set up at the RCA by Nigel Coates called Babylon:don on the 21st November. The question was “Are people willing to cross cultural boundaries if they dont speak the lingo?”
Emerging trend towards Re-victorianisation = new servant class from foreign penetration of east european low income labour.
London is a christmas pudding, no clear segregation between cultural/economic classes.
But what is Englishness? Chipping Norton?!
London architecture could move towards “Difference”. Mosques are not designed by architects. Here is traditional difference. There is still a continuous facade of Georgian beliefs of the past in most parts of London architecture.
London is conforming and becoming more and more bland. There is too much homogeniety.
How can we be more exclusive in an inclusive, multi cultural, politically correct world?
Inclusive is a bad word. It is too kind and gives no challenge. Too politically correct. Why do we have to comply with an agenda of inclusivity?
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space which is claimed to achieve harmony with the environment. Skeptics consider it to be nothing but superstition
Feng Shui translates to English as Wind and Water. These are the two containers for Qi. Since life exists within either air or water, qi is said to be the life energy that flows within these two environments.
The goal of feng shui guidelines is to locate and orient dwellings, possessions, land and landscaping, etc., so as to be attuned with the flow of qi. Location is considered to be of far greater significance than orientation. This is in line with modern thinking, where the 3 principles of buying a piece of property are location, location and location.
The Feng Shui Society
In our Western world , where we just bastardize ways of thinking for our own profit, is Feng Shui a science, pseudoscience, cultural belief or just a way of organising our spatial word according to a life coach or interior designer?
How does this relate to the golden section/ratio?
Patrick Moore, an astronomer from my hometown who set up his laboratory in his home and has been the host for the longest running TV programme, The Sky at Night…
When I was little, Roald Dahl the writer was my hero and lived round the corner from me in Great Missenden in Bucks. He wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, BFG, The Twits and other distrubing stories.