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Futurism was a social movement that started in the beginning of the last century in Italy and spread around the West in the first decades of the century. The futurists were not content with improvements to everyday life. They imagine a new world brought about the rapid advance of technology. The material advances of the industrial revolution would not just improve our daily lives. They believed the entirety of human society would be reimagined along technological lines.
The Futurists were not entirely wrong. The industrial revolution did usher in a mass reorganization of human society. Trains were not just faster than horses. They changed how we thought about moving people and goods. Wired and wireless communication added an immediacy to society. People were no longer finding out what happened after the fact but following what was happening as it happened. The old culture collapsed and a new culture arose in the 20th century.
A simple mental exercise makes this clear. A man living in 1750 America would have had no trouble navigating 1850 America. Sure, trains would be new to him and industry would be advanced. Otherwise, people lived pretty much the same. Now, take 1850 man and transport him to 1950. He would find himself in a world that was not just materially different, but culturally and spiritually alien. He was not in an improved version of his country. He was in a different world.
The futurists believed that technological progress would lead to human progress and by that they meant freedom from the human condition. The future would be slick, fast and exiting, as humanity explored its potential. One result of this was a rejection of the past, especially tradition. The futurists saw the past as a set of hands grasping at humanity from the grave. Another result is they believed violence was entirely appropriate to break the grip of the past in order to usher in the future.
The futurists were not entirely wrong. The two great industrial wars of the 20th century obliterated the old world. Into the void flowed what came to be known as the post industrial world. The West was not capitalist or socialist in the Marxist sense, but something of a fusion of the two. On the other hand, the human condition was not consigned to the dustbin of history. All of the old problems remained. The West simply had better stuff than in the prior ages.
Fast forward to this age and we have a new round of futurism. You can probably start the clock with Alvin Toffler, a futurist who got famous at the beginning of the microprocessor revolution. His books sold millions of copies and focused on society after de-industrialization. His books were popular in America at a time when the economy was shedding industrial jobs. His vision of the future promised something better than the old grimy industrial lifestyle.
Even though his books sold millions of copies, futurism did not catch on with the beautiful people until the late 1990’s. When technology became accessible to the technologically challenged, the future suddenly opened up to them. Apple products were sold to taste makers as a symbol of the progressive vision. Big tech began to market itself as a lifestyle, rather than as technological advance. Elon Musk went from bald PayPal investor to a futurist with a firm hairline.
The reason operations like the World Economic Forum have become popular with the beautiful people is these organizations are catering to the people who have tied their sense of self with their vision of the future. WEF has been around for a long time, but it was mostly a dull economic conference until they hit on futurism. You see it in this old presentation from a person named Thomas Birr. This is a timeshare pitch tailored for a crowd that believes they are world historic figures.
It should be noted that Mr. Birr promotes himself as a futurist. He labels himself the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at a company named E. On. Before that he was Senior Vice President Innovation & Business Transformation at a company with an equally ridiculous name. Mr. Birr is a visionary and we know that because he is paid to have visions, like a shaman. Before he was a visionary, he was an industrial sales rep who worked in the energy business.
One of the appeals of futurism is that it allows the futurist to look away from the present and focus on a blank page onto which he can draw his new world. It is a form of escapism, which suggests futurism is the product of crisis. The futurists of the last century did not see the two great industrial wars coming. In retrospect, the obliteration of the old war was a necessary step toward the new world. Interestingly, the Italian futurists all wound up supporting fascism.
There is a bit of irony. The futurist of this day invests a lot of time looking for potential fascists out among the Dirt People. Yet, it can be argued that fascism would not have been possible without the futurism movement. Once the focus shifted from the present to the future, the debate shifted from how to best to manage the present to who will run the society of the future. The great ideological conflicts of the 20th century were all about who will impose their vision of their future.
We see the same debates in this age. Immigration is about the demographics of future Western society. The antiwhites explicitly state that they wish to overthrow current society, which they call white supremacy, in favor of some new society organized around serving nonwhites. The legacy populations of the West are told by the people at the World Economic Forum that they are on the wrong side of history. Our debates about the future are all about who, not what.
All of this suggests that the futurist is a grim reaper. His arrival precedes some horrible conflagration that obliterates the present. A century ago, the futurists gave us two great industrial wars that reduce the West to ruins. The futurists of this age seem to be obsessed with war and famine. On the one hand they are instigating wars between the great powers. On the other hand, they are attacking the food supply. We will be lucky to live to see whatever futures results from all of this.
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