“Heightening Future Consciousness for Creating A Flourishing Future”

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Hi. I want to welcome you back to the Foresight Strategies Show. Today we have Dr. Tom Lombardo. Dr. Tom Lombardo is a director of the center of future consciousness. Today we’re going to be talking about heightening future consciousness to create a greater or flourishing future. Welcome Dr. Lombardo. How are you?

Yes, thank you. I’m doing well. Dr. Nilda.

That’s awesome. We’re going to jump right in because future consciousness to me is one of those awesome topics that I love to cover. Coming from behavioral health background. I’m a political social worker and I did that. Actually. I’m still doing a little bit of it, but doing that for 25 years prior to becoming a futurist. I just think it’s fascinating. So let’s talk about it. Let’s just dive right in. What is future consciousness?

Future consciousness is our most unique and empowering capacity that we possess as human beings . It is all the various psychological processes from emotion to motivation to thinking and imagination and creativity that we use in dealing with imagining, being conscious of the future, so it composes all of the different aspects of the human mind and I would suggest that it’s the capacity, that drove the evolution and development of human civilization and that without it we would not be able to function as human beings in life. That is, we’re constantly setting goals, constantly making plans, having hopes, fears and desires about the future. We have stories we tell ourselves about our own future. That is from the time we wake up, we engage our future consciousness.

So you talk about heightening so well, in our conversations, you always say that we all have consciousness. We all have future consciousness. But you heightened the future consciousness. Tell me a little bit about that and how essential that is to creating that flourishing future.

Yes. Well, since the future that we do create is a consequence of future consciousness which heighten it would maximize or enhance the type of future that we have. And what I’ve had suggested is that there’s a set of a character virtue we can develop that are gonna be the means by which we heightened future consciousness. These character virtues include hope and optimism and courage, self responsibility for our future. The love of learning and thinking, having a deep purpose in life. Emotions of hope and wonder. I don’t know if I mentioned the love and skill of thinking and creativity and deep purpose as well. So I have a set of 13 different character virtues, each of which we can strengthen and develop. And it’s something that we need to do ourselves. These character virtues are not born with, these are accomplishments so we heightened our future consciousness through the development of the character virtues involved in a future consciousness.

Is spirituality at all a part of this future consciousness?

Well, I don’t have it listed as a character virtue, but one character virtue I do list is cosmic consciousness and cosmic consciousness is the capacity to see one self within the big picture of things, so that comes close to where at least some people mean by spirituality, but could also be what Neil Degrasse Tyson means when it’s about seeing oneself in the context of the universe. So, there are many aspects of spirituality that would sound very similar to various things that I’m saying, but also they would sound similar to things that somebody who is a secularist would say as well too.

Okay. So talking about Neil Degrasse, what is the value of science fiction? Because there’s a part of future consciousness that brings kind of that mystic science fiction. So what is the value of science fiction in heightening our capacities?

Yes. Science fiction has a great value. It has great value because human beings resonate to the story to the narrative. We are predisposed to think of ourselves and think of our lives in terms stories. And so the form of future consciousness, contemporary form and feature consciousness which has the most influence on the general population, is science fiction because science fiction is narrative. It’s stories, it, it produces what I call total person immersion. You get into it with your thinking, your imagination, your emotions. It becomes a whole way of life for a lot of people too. So it has this powerful effect upon heightening all the dimensions of future consciousness because it is presented in the form of stories and it presents an incredible variety of imaginative scenarios that are realistically constructed with characters in them, both good and bad that the viewer, the reader can identify with or can be repelled by. So, it’s important to say, for example, to note that almost all of the biggest selling, movies of the last 30 years have been science fiction. It has this powerful impact on consciousness and it has had for at least 100 years now.

Yeah, I agree. So you would say, that science fiction is the narrative. It’s the story. It’s those scenarios that we developed for that future.

Yeah, it’s all kinds of scenarios. It’s both good and bad in fact. One misleading thing that people often think about science fiction is that it’s just about the future is science and technology, but actually it’s about the future of everything and you can talk about the future of love and sex and marriage and society and the environment. You have science fiction stories, novels about all of those things as well, and there’s been very many famous ones that deal with the futurist society, both dystopias in utopias, so yeah, so it definitely heightens your imagination about all aspects of the future and it also generates cosmic consciousness.

Before I ask you the next question, I want you to define wisdom for me.

Okay. This is a distillation of both eastern and Western, ancient and modern thinking about wisdom because you can pull it all together. Wisdom is the capacity to see the big picture of life and how we’re connected to it and the desire to use that knowledge in order to facilitate the wellbeing of oneself and others. So I use knowledge, I use it in an ethical fashion to help to facilitate a good future both for myself and others. And it’s a desire, a practical ability as well as a massive knowledge that I carry with me. It is internalized into my character.

Okay, awesome. So why is wisdom important? In empowering the capacity to develop and construct the creativity of future consciousness.

It’s important because when you take all of the character virtues of future consciousness, heightened feature consciousness, and you synthesize them together, what do you get? You get wisdom. Wisdom is the highest expression of future consciousness. And when you look at the definition of it and look at what people have written about it, that’s in fact what they’re talking about. What they’re talking about is using knowledge, being empowered with your emotions and motivation and your actions to create good futures for yourself and others. So wisdom has an optimistic element as a deep purpose element, as the self responsible element to it. It involves a ongoing pursuit of self development and helping other people. So it’s the synthesis of all of the character virtues of future consciousness.

For some of our audience who are not futurist, they may look at this and say, ah, maybe that’s a little hokey, or how would you bring it home for them?

I wouldn’t bring it home for them by asking them to, try to understand the stories that they tell themselves about their past and about their ideal future. Write it down on paper. What story, what is the story that I tell myself about my life up to now and what kind of story do I tell myself about where I’m going now? Then I would ask them, can you rewrite that story both about your past but especially about your ideal future and put it in a form where you actually are pursuing and using heightened future consciousness or wisdom to guide your future life. And it turns out that the most affective way to change people is to get them to rewrite their life narrative, to consciously take responsibility for their future that is, think about and write it out and think about how they would change it. So can you live what I would call a wisdom narrative for the future and what would that mean for you? And my suggestion is that if you did that, that would maximize your chances of having a flourishing, great, good, productive, constructive, creative future. And if everybody did that, we would have an age of wisdom, which is exactly what we need.

And that coupled with AI would be like amazing because with all the technology that is out there, talk about the science part of it, right? Bringing that together with wisdom that would be amazing.

And now you hit an important nail on the head because in fact they have an expression here, we should all pursue becoming wise cyborgs that is using technology in order to pursue ends or goals that are wise not using technology, just simply for bread and circuses. And shallow and stupid ends or destructive ends, but rather to integrate with our technology in ways that we actually are, supporting our own development of wisdom in the development and other people of wisdom. Because I would suggest that, I know maybe I’m going over a little bit on what I’m saying right now, but I think humans are all cyborg and we haven’t been for a long time. You look like a Cyborg or the headphones on and the glasses with the mic. Our functional synthesis of technology and the biological. And so let’s be wise cyborgs as opposed to stupid and shallow cyborgs.

I love that. So part of what I do, and I love this because they teach this and we have a magazine, we have this program, but we also have a magazine and I do trainings. I have a membership site and we talk a lot about mindset, that consciousness and how you have to develop that because most of us are not really taught to develop. Oh, right now, for the month of June, we’re talking about creativity, critical thinking and creativity comes from that consciousness, it has to be that future consciousness. What do you want to design for your future? And that all comes from creativity, which is all comes together with. I always address things from that behavioral health standpoint now to those people that will say that doesn’t work, life is difficult, and they, this is the narrative that they tell themselves. They hate this narrative. Like life is hard, everything is hard. I’m not going to have a job because this whole technology’s just gonna ruin everything because you get that too, right? What would the response to that be?

It depends on what you do with technology, whether it’s something that comes up beneficial or something that comes out working against you and humans have always had technology. This is just the latest wave of it. To run away from technological evolution is foolish because it just keeps happening. We’re creating it. We are creating it and there’s negative things to it in this good things to it. There was an article written once about is Google making us stupid? And the head of Wiki versiti replied, speak for yourself. And in fact, yes, you may lose jobs to advancing technology, but people lost jobs to advancing agriculture and farming and in design. And then you need to evolve further. You need to, find ways to take the technologies that are there and emerging around you and use them to help yourself to flourish now. And they say another thing in there, they say it’s, you said you used it, the expression it’s hard to. Yes. Okay. Espinosa said in the 17th century, all things excellent. As difficult as they are rare. And who said that happiness and flourishing and having a good future should be easy? In fact, anything that is really worthwhile requires effort. So becoming a wise Cyborg having a flourishing existence requires effort. Yes. And by the way, the cover here’s the cover of future consciousness. And there’s a chapter in there on creativity, which is key to heightened future, kind of just this big huge section on critical thinking and other ideas pertaining to thinking well. So future consciousness, was the network prize award winner for 2017 as the a book by the scientific and medical network, which is a European organization as the book that presented original, a new world view, I think that’s how they said it and I agree with it because in fact this is the kind of book you could save for years and it really presents to you a way of thinking about your life and put it in the context of the world in which you live, such that you can in fact realize flourishing in the future.

Right. And it resonates with me because of my background. So yeah, it was just fabulous. Yeah.

My background is in psychology, by the way.

Yeah. Okay. So my background is in clinical social work like for years and I still have a small practice even now, I still have a small practice because it’s very fascinating and I just really see how futures and future consciousness. I see the marriage, I see it’s such a perfect merger because thinking about the future can be quite complex and overwhelming. So, but it’s because we’re not taught to think what we’re all cookie cutters and everything just becomes systematized and we do not flourish in systems. We really don’t. Systems of great initially. But then once that’s done, once you develop the system, now you will have to continue to be. I love the challenge. That’s why I’ve been in school all my life and now that I’ve got the terminal degree, I don’t know what am going to do.

Learning is endless and as I’ve suggested are higher education should in fact revolve around the development of wisdom as opposed to what it revolves around now, which of course involves the development of character virtues and heightening future because that’s what’s gonna make or break us individually or collectively.

Okay. So here’s the last question. What is the importance of evolution in thinking about the future?

Evolution provides us with a way to understand chaos, present and future. It is fundamental law of change in nature in the universe. We are in fact evolutionary deans that exist in an evolutionary universe. And our distinctive capacity for future consciousness is the way in which we are able to produce purposeful evolution, which is a jump forward now over earlier forms of evolution. So if I were to ask, what is the essence of human beings? The essence of human beings is that they can’t engage in informed and thoughtful, purposeful evolution. And there is, and in fact, that’s where the future lies. The future lies in enhancing through future consciousness and wisdom. The ability to guide our future purposeful level solution because we’re in an evolutionary reality,

I think as human beings I can definitely speak for the western world, were very resistant to change, very resistant to evolution. We become very comfortable with, which is something I’m very uncomfortable with. I’m uncomfortable with doing things the same way. I’m one of the biggest jokes from my friends. They will always say, well, that was before cell phones. They always had to write my phone number with a pencil because they were like, you’re constantly changing from one job to the other. And they said, yeah, but it’s always a promotion because I’m always looking to learn something else.

Yes. I would suggest there’s two fundamental motives in humans. One toward stability, which includes safety and security and one toward growth and change and development. And it’s an ongoing struggle between those opposing forces within us. And one of the fundamental character virtues of heightened future consciousness is the pursuit of self growth. And so any human being, any system of human beings that attempts to keep things static and stable in an evolutionary universe is unrealistic and being stable is eventually going to lead to extinction in depth. Someone has to be thoughtful about change and about one’s evolution but you can’t get away from it because in fact, that’s the kind of world that we are in. And that’s the kind of beings that we are. We want things to stay stable.

Absolutely. We’re at the top of the hour here. So I’m going to give you my takeaways. My take away was that you were human beings resonate with stories science fiction is part of that. And that’s why that’s a good connection for us. And science fiction heightens, our dimensions of future consciousness, because consciousness is not just the consciousness, but it’s also the future consciousness because everything is about the future. Future could be 10 minutes from now. So the other one is understanding the stories, the stories they tell themselves about the past and the future so you can actually develop your future based on the past, what you’re currently going through, and you can start developing that. You can’t really do that without future consciousness because that’s where the creativity, the critical thinking and creativity all comes in.

You can’t do mostly anything without future consciousness except for a few very primitive biological functions. You can’t even get up and go make yourself a sandwich in the kitchen without futures consciousness.

Lastly is using tech to integrate in ways that support our wisdom. Not using a Facebook, just to see what your friends are doing, but you’re actually using it in very positive ways, which I think is excellent. I know, again, that’s one of the things that I teach people. Google can be awesome, but everything in Google’s not true because it’s open to the public. So you have to know what you’re researching and then find reliable sources before making decisions.

Yeah. So right now we’re using technology in a way that facilitating the development of wisdom because we’re having a thoughtful conversation with two people who live 3000 miles apart, which is a way to maximize and develop oneself and one’s future consciousness. So this is a good use of technology versus sharing whatever God knows, gets shared on.

Okay. So this ends this segment. I want to thank Dr. Tom for being here with us. I love your topic but definitely have to do other things because this is awesome. We want to have you contribute to the magazine. There’s so much, there’s just so many things that we’re doing and your information is great. So thank you so much. So we’re going to have all of these links. All of these links are going to be like right here on the bottom so you can see all the links and until next week guys, where we’ll bring another futurist and we look forward to seeing you next week. Until then, bye. Bye.

 

Our Guest

Tom Lombardo, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for Future Consciousness and The Wisdom Page, Editor of Wisdom and the Future, and Professor Emeritus and Retired Faculty Chair of Psychology, Philosophy, and the Future at Rio Salado College. He is a Fellow and Executive Board member of the World Futures Studies Federation and member and contributing editor of numerous futurist organizations and publications. He has published eight books and over fifty articles and given an equal number of professional presentations on many futurist topics, including the future of education; the future of consciousness and the human mind; dystopian and utopian thought; theories of the future; and science fiction. His newest books include Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution, winner of the Network Book Award 2017, and Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future, hailed as “a brilliant piece of work” and “a ‘must-read’ in the study both of science fiction and the future.” He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and University of Minnesota and a graduate fellow of Cornell University.

 

Interview With Tom Lombardo- “Heightening Future Consciousness for Creating A Flourishing Future”

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