> Resources > Futures Quotes

An apposite rhyme... or phrase... is good to find.

Plagiarism, said someone old and famous and probably now dead, is the sincerest form of flattery.

And recognizing humor, elegant turns of phrase, or incisive thought helps us improve those qualities in ourselves. Besides, an awful lot of futures work seems to be evangelizing, teaching, training, empowering -- and a good stock of great quotes helps all of those endeavours.

So, I'm trying to collect all the great futures-focussed -- or planning-focussed, or leadership-focussed, heck, or just people-focussed (see the first quote below) -- quotes that I can. If you have one to suggest, email me at: quotes@infinitefutures.com.

5 February 2003
...human futures are unpredictable and it is futile to think that past trends will forecast coming patterns. The trajectory of technology might offer some opportunity for predicting the future... But even the 'pure' history of science features unanticipated findings, and must also contend with nature's stubborn tendency to frustrate our expectations...
Moreover any forecast about the future must consider the incendiary instability generated by interaction between technological change and the wierd ways of human conduct, both individual and social. Stephen Jay Gould ("Unpredictable Patterns," in Predictions, p.145.)

29 January 2003
...if rationality were the criterion for things being allowed to exist, the world would be one gigantic field of soya beans! Tom Stoppard (Jumpers, p.40)

22 January 2003
...in the act of deciding, the mind attempts the work of the historian: breaking the potential events down into their component parts, enumerating conditions, seeking covering laws that will allow a prediction of what will follow from the variety of possible choices. Alternative futures branch like dendrites away from the present moment, shifting chaotically, pulled this way and that by attractors dimly perceived. Probable outcomes emerge from those less likely. Kim Stanley Robinson ("A Sensitive Dependence," in Vinland the Dream and Other Stories, pp. 150-151.)

Their world that had seemed stable for so long was now changing all too rapidly, and men like Palmer and Perkins only half understood what was happening. They might have recognized in their strange companion what some of today's middle-aged recognize in the young electronics visionaries: that Smith was a man who, though part of their world, still had a view that was somehow larger than theirs, that he had firm sight of a future that he somehow knew was better, as well as being a future that was definably different and, most crucially, utterly unlike the world of the present. Smith knew that he stood on the edge of something; and that knowledge, that certainty, set him apart, and made more ordinary men uneasy. Simon Winchester (The Map That Changed the World, p.100)

15 January 2003
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt

The future is an emergent property of the complex system by which we adapt to the infinite possibilities inherent in the moving present. Wendy Schultz

Every time I walk into a meeting or workshop, I look at the people in the room, remind myself of the depth of experience, the breadth of ideas, and the heights of energy and enthusiasm they represent, and am exhilarated by our joint potential to create. (polished paraphrase of a sentiment expressed by) Joan McPherson, Grove Consultants

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Victor Borge

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15 February 2003. Email IF.
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