Thursday, June 02, 2011


Over at some other blog, a couple of us (big picture, deep thought kind of guys, with a tendency to overdo the modesty and helpfulness) were talking about... the economist Kenneth Boulding ... a brilliant guy ... his spouse Elise ... it is a small little blurgworld indeed.

Elise Boulding wrote, in 1995, "Fred Polak was one of the first thinkers to call attention to the atrophy of our capacity to visualize a wholly different future. His Image for the Future (1953) was written for a Europe paralyzed by the experience of World War II. According to Polak, the human capacity to create mental images of the 'totally other' - that which has never been experienced or recorded - is the key dynamic of history. At every level of awareness, from the individual to the macrosocietal, imagery is continuously generated about the not-yet. Such imagery inspires our intentions, which then move us purposefully forward. Through daily choices of action, individuals, families, enterprises, communities, and nations move toward that which they imagine to be a desirable tomorrow.
"Polak points out, however, that historically alternating waves of optimism and pessimism about reality roll through time, as do alternative views about the end of the world. Sometimes humans are seen as partners with God or Nature, other times as helpless objects of supernatural action. In Polak's reading of history, optimism about reality combined with a utopian sense of human empowerment set in motion a powerful dynamic. Utopian optimism has characterized the Western worldview of recent centuries - but not of the last few decades. In eras when pessimism combines with a sense of cosmic helplessness, the quality of human intentionality declines and, with it, the quality of imagery of the not-yet. Societies in that condition live bounded by the present, with no social dynamic for change available to them. This is our situation in the post-World War II Western world.

"My own lifetime of 75 years, and my reading of history, has shown me over and over again that no matter how bad things are, the human race has been there before - been there, and found a way past destruction. It is finding the way past destruction that makes imaging so important."

For a limited time only, through a combination of circumstances that will not be repeated, you can download without charge Elise Boulding's translation and abridgement of Polak's book, albeit with frequent minor misspellings due to the OCR process.

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Anonymous Grandpa Ken said...

Hello again Mistah Charley. I've been swamped by the needs of my gransons and haven't been able to browse as much as I used to. I came across this by clicking on some of my old favorites. I'll try to catch up with you again as soon as I can if I can.

Grandpa Ken

June 17, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Mongo, At The Moment said...

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Je ne sais quoi. Do wop do wop do wop do wop do wop do wop wah.

March 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM  

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