Future Consciousness
The Center for Future Consciousness
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August 11, 2020

New Essay
"Make America Great Again?"



Beginning with this issue of Future Consciousness Insights we will be publishing frequent short essays highlighting key ideas of the CFC and often connecting these  ideas with contemporary topics and issues. Here's the first essay: 

Make America Great Again?

For a number of reasons, the popular political slogan "Make America Great Again!" (MAGA) is a stupid and unenlightened idea (and not only because it confuses the name of a continent with that of our country). Implied in the slogan is a viewpoint that runs counter to a number of key principles of heightened future consciousness.

First, the slogan implies that, relative to our presumed "great" past, we have devolved into some lower, more abysmal state of affairs. Such a view is not only overly simplistic, but also psychologically depressing and dis-empowering.

Pessimism over the present generates a whole assortment of counter-productive and destructive emotions and behaviors, such as hopelessness and apathy. Of course, it is important to identify and address the problems that confront us today, but if we repeatedly state or insinuate that the world (or our nation) is crumbling into chaos, impotence, anarchy, violence, etc., this produces psychological distress and despair. How can we possess energized and hopeful future consciousness if we feel miserable and disheartened about today? Further, to be examined below, to what degree is it an accurate assessment that things today are worse than they were in the past?

Before turning to the accuracy of this slogan's assessment of current affairs, let's consider, as a second problem with the slogan, what solution is proposed regarding our presumed lousy present? The answer offered is regressive. Instead of forward looking or future oriented, the slogan suggests a retreat into what once was. But can we ever go back to the way things were, or should we even attempt this? The slogan is not an expression of future consciousness, let alone heightened future consciousness; it is an expression of embittered nostalgia for an often embellished and false representation of the past. It is an abandonment of future consciousness.

Now, as a third point, let's address the accuracy of the slogan's assessment of reality, or rather its inaccuracy. MAGA presents both a distorted and dishonest sense of the present and the past.  How great, really, was "America" in the past?

In many ways, "America" has worked toward achieving high human values and ideals and demonstrated progress throughout its history. But the story of America is also filled with major episodes of prejudice, injustice, violence, and discrimination. Was it great that Europeans conquered and very nearly wiped out the original indigenous nations who lived here? Was it great that many of our ancestors had slaves and fought a war to defend the right to withhold from other human beings their own self-determination and freedom? Was it great that women did not have the right to vote until the twentieth century? The good old days were, in many respects, far from great, at least for a significant part of the population.

On the other hand, there has been progress, and there are numerous indicators of human improvement along many dimensions of reality (See Millennium Project State of the Future). In many ways, the present is better than the past, thus contradicting the negative assessment of the present implied in the slogan.

MAGA is an expression of the archaic "Golden Age" (or "Paradise") vision of humanity's past, a downhill theory of time.

In contrast, heightened future consciousness is informed and often inspired by historical consciousness, but an historical understanding that is accurate and comprehensive rather than shallow, selective, and distorted.

Further, heightened future consciousness envisions a creative and transcendent future that builds upon, yet rises above, the past.

Fourth, heightened future consciousness critically involves a sense of human togetherness, concern for others, and global consciousness regarding the future. (See my book Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution.) MAGA, and the mindset and behavior associated with it, provokes a competitive and separatist nationalism. Such a view is egocentric, the reflection of a narrow, self-centered mode of consciousness, rather than an enlightened or expansive consciousness. Such a view simply won't cut it as a vehicle for navigating the future.

Humanity is on the journey into the future together, propelled by diverse cultures and distinctive personalities. Openness and appreciation of diversity can empower all of us. If "America" wishes to be great, then as Americans we should strive to work together with other nations and other people toward our mutual benefit.

Fifth, heightened future consciousness also entails "ecological consciousness," seeing humanity (and of course our country) in the context of nature and our earthly environment (again see Future Consciousness). Just as our future should be conceptualized globally, it should also be viewed ecologically, involving humanity, other forms of life, and the earth as a whole.

Yet what seems to get associated most strongly with the term "great" in the political slogan is economic, industrial, and technological achievement. This is a very narrow vision of greatness or a good future. The flourishing of nature, as essential to overall human quality of life, takes a backseat in the philosophy of "Make America Great Again." The envisioned previous "greatness" of American industrial-economic achievement was generally oblivious to environmental degradation and related issues.

Finally, consider the word "great." I would suggest that a better word to use is "better." Let's make "America" better. "Better" implies progress relative to the past. We aren't attempting to return to a perceived "greatness" of the past (if it was that great), but to improve upon the past. The word "better" is forward looking, proposing that the best is yet to come.

Further, the word "great" suggests an egomaniacal quality and a sense of perfection. The term "great" hinders us from acknowledging what needs improvement, freezing us in an idealized vision. "Better" implies openness and humility, but consequently hope for the future. "Better" points toward evolution, supporting heightened future consciousness. "Better" is not some envisioned pinnacle at which we can arrive, but rather suggestive of ongoing motion forward.

All in all, instead of aspiring toward "Make America Great Again," we should ground our philosophy of life in solid historical understanding. Further, we should embrace a creative and progressive vision of the future, and work toward making all human society (which includes the United States)--as well as our home planet--better than it was in the past.

Slogans can be tweeted. Heightened future consciousness requires more thought.  

Center for Future Consciousness
Fundraising Campaign

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Center for Future Consciousness is poised for a big surge forward. Given the current highly unsettled, challenging, and frustrating state of both national and world affairs, I believe the time is right to broadcast the importance of such critical ideas as "evolving our conscious minds," "living wisdom narratives," and "heightening our future consciousness" in creating a good future for all of us.   
  • This year I completed two more books in my history of science fiction series and have pulled together three previously unpublished books on evolution, time, and the future. I am eager to get all these books published, and there are more books coming. 
  • I also have two new online courses -- one on future consciousness and one on the history of science fiction -- nearing completion to put up on the CFC website. 
  • Further, I will be initiating an intensive new marketing campaign and website redesign. 
  • A whole new regular series of short essay postings (on Future Consciousness Insights) applying CFC ideas to numerous contemporary issues will be starting next week. 
All in all, I am gearing up for a big push forward in publicizing the Center for Future Consciousness and its key ideas, philosophical message, and educational resources.

To empower this new initiative, I have put together a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that is going live on August 6th, 2020. I am requesting your support, either financially, or personally, or ideally both. Financial contributions can be made on my Kickstarter Web Page beginning August 7th.

But also, I would very much appreciate your passing this message on to a friend or colleague who you think would also be interested in supporting this campaign. What can also be of help would be to peruse my published books at Future Consciousness Books and consider purchasing one or more of them. 

Thank You
Tom Lombardo

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The Center for Future Consciousness offers educational experiences that challenge and stimulate the mind, expand conscious awareness, empower creativity and imagination, deepen knowledge and understanding, enhance ethical character, and promote personal and social growth. Our mission is to facilitate the purposeful evolution of humanity through the heightening of future consciousness and wisdom.

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Future Consciousness Insights and Wisdom and the Future are publications of the Center for Future Consciousness. Readers can access previous issues of these journals, as well as the earlier newsletter "Wisdom Page Updates" at the Archived Future Consciousness Insights, Wisdom and the Future, and Wisdom Page Updates
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