Alvin Toffler's plea

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Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, pp. 418-427 (line of argumentation)


Fore-warned is fore-armed.

We can help individuals adapt better if we simply provide them with the advance information of what lies ahead.

Anticipatory information allows a dramatic change in performance.

Performance improves when the individual knows what to expect next.

Thought is action in rehearsal.

Even more important is the habit of anticipation.

The faster the environment changes, the more the need for fortuneness.

The school is silent about tomorrow. [...] The student is focused backward instead of forward. The future, banned as it were from the classroom, is banned from his consciousness as well. It is as though there were no future.

If our children are to adapt more successfully to rapid change, this distortion of time must be ended. We must sensitize them to the possibilities and probabilities of tomorrow. We must enhance their sense of future.

We have no objects, no friends, no relatives, no works of art, no literature, that originate in future. We have, as it were, no heritage of the future. Despite this, there are ways to send the human mind arching forward as well as backward.

What is needed is a concentrated focus on the social and personal implications of the future, not merely on technological characteristics. If the contemporary individual is going to have to cope with the equivalent of millennia of change within the compressed span of a single lifetime, he must carry within his skull reasonably accurate (even if gross) images of the future.

To soften the impact of future shock, we must begin by making speculation about the future respectable.

We offer our children courses in history; why not also courses in „Future", courses in which the possibilities and probabilities of the future are systematically explored [...]?

We do not have a literature of the future for use in these courses, but we do have literature about the future , consisting not only of the great utopias but also of contemporary science fiction.

If we view it as a kind of sociology of the future, rather than as literature, science fiction has immense value as a mind-stretching force for the creation of the habit of anticipation. [...] Science fiction should be required reading for Future I.

[Futurism] can create [...] a new sensitivity to tomorrow that will prove helpful in coping with the exigencies of the present.

When millions share this passion about the future we shall have a society far better equipped to meet the impact of change. To create such curiosity and awareness is a cardinal task of education.

Education must shift to the future tense.

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