Future is a field of hopes and fears and never neutral. Most social and political controversies are underpinned by emotional images of the future. As a scientific approach to the future, futures studies attempts in difference to construct and use objective, evidence-based images of the future: scenarios. Researchers usually claim to be objective and neutral. At a closer look, however, emotions play an unavoidable role in the construction, use and analysis of future images. They simply are there, in the background of any research activity, any foresight. They motivate the selection of the topic, they guide bounding and framing of the study. They have influence on methodological decisions and the presentation of research results. Much too often, they transform foresight into “fearsight” (F. Gaub).
“Gefühlte Zukunft. Emotionen als methodische Herausforderung für die Zukunftsforschung“ (Emotional Future. Emotions as a Methodological Challenge to Futures Studies) addresses these and some other topics. The volume is edited by Katharina Schäfer, Karlheinz Steinmüller, and Axel Zweck. It is published by Springer – available here.
“Wild Futures” is my specific contribution to the volume. It is about emotional aspects in the identification, description and practical use of wild cards in foresight projects. As long as one uses wild cards only in a very abstract way as thought experiment, they remain rather emotionally neutral. But as soon as you start to ask for specific, personal implications – for you, your family, your community – they become highly charged with feelings.