An interactive method (comprising a quiz, a spatial map of the future, exchanges among participants, and creative work) to explore the archetypal narratives of the future and become both more imaginative and more critical about the future.
Myths of the future: 6 archetypal stories of the future
Did you know that the futures we imagine can be roughly divided into six archetypal future narratives, or "Myths of the Future"?
Curious to know more? Two possibilities:
Take the quiz (12 questions, 5 min) and find out
which Myths of the Future speak to you the most:
Or read the description of the six myths here (spoiler alert*):
The six myths of the future
The eco-crisis myth describes beliefs that environmental conditions and natural habitats are likely to decline and lead to social unrest.
The social crisis myth describes beliefs that traditional values, social order, and human competence are likely to decline in the future.
The power and economic inequality myth describes beliefs that big business and governments are likely to become more powerful and cause social inequality and economic crisis.
The techno-optimism myth describes beliefs that science and technology are likely to create innovations that improve quality of life.
The social transformation myth describes beliefs that society is likely to become more decentralized, caring, and collectively empowered.
The traditionalist environmentalism myth describes beliefs that biotech and nanotech entail risks for the environment as well as for humanity, which is likely to return to simpler ways of living.
Adapted from: Fabio Boschetti, Jennifer Price & Iain Walker (2016) “Myths of the future and scenario archetypes” Technological Forecasting & Social Change 111: 76–85
* You won't be able to do the quiz in the same way once you've read the myths!
Note: the term "Myth" does not reflect a value judgment (it is not synonymous with "illusion"), but is related to the fact that the original research comes from cultural theory.
The method in two words
This workshop combines experiential discovery - with a quiz and a map of the future on the floor - collective intelligence and creativity. Its duration is according to needs from 1.45 to 4 hours (see 'My offer' below).
Becoming more imaginative and critical about the future
In my practice, I use these six Myths of the Future for their ability to make us both more imaginative and more critical about the future.
Once we have identified and objectified these archetypal narratives of the future, we can indeed recombine these narratives in a different way and produce new ones, both more original, nuanced and desirable.
Last december 2022,
this workshop opened
the deliberations of the
University of Lausanne's Assembly of Transition
for a sustainable future
of the institution by 2050.
Offer a session to your team or your audience with the complete questionnaire (24 to 30 questions) and a time for sharing and exchange (1h45), or the full version with creative time (3-4h).
Perfect as a team-building exercise (1h45-3h), to start envisioning
the future of your organisation (3-4h), or for your audiences on
a theme of their choice (1h45-4h).
A bit of background
The research on Myths of the future stems from findings in social cognition and cultural theory concerning patterns of shared values and beliefs about society and the environment and how they relate to each other (Myths of physical and human nature).
Slide to the “Myths of the future” from my introductory course. The painting is from Le Douanier Rousseau (1891).