The future only exists in the present as images. Find out more about imagining futures.
Images and ideas about futures are constructed in people’s minds and generate social, collective realities that are relevant in specific contexts – they are the construct by which our futures are made ‘real.’ The idea of images of the future emerged in the work of Berger and de Jouvenel in the French ‘prospective’ school in the 1950s and 1960s, while Polak’s Image of the Future (1973) and Boulding’s subsequent publication of The Image (Boulding 1961) reinforced the power of the image when considering futures. In his seminal work, Polak (1973, p. 19) notes: “The rise and fall of images of the future precedes or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures” with images shaped by the degree of optimism or pessimism about the future and the degree of human agency to influence that future:
It will be helpful to make distinctions between optimism and pessimism along the lines of the concepts of Seinmiissen, "what must be," and Seinsollen, "what ought to be." It would then be possible to speak o…