You may be familiar with the story. Harry Truman and Tom Dewey faced off in the 1948 US presidential elections. Dewey went to bed convinced, by early election results, that he was the next president of the United States. But when he awoke, he learned that Harry Truman had won. What may not be as well known is that Dewey said to his wife on election day, "Dear, tonight you'll be sleeping with the President of the United States." When they learned that Harry Truman actually won, Mrs. Dewey said to her husband, "Tom, will I be going to Washington or is Mr. Truman coming here?"
It is difficult to predict the future. But one group that has had some success with gazing at the "crystal ball" is the World Future Society. In 1987 the society met in Cambridge, Massachusetts and predicted that the 21st century will include:
- A transition from an industrial to an information and service society.
- A terrific increase in the rate of change.
- Globalizations in every area of business and life.
- Re-spiritualization of society (reversing the secularization trend of recent centuries), tying knowledge to vision and direction.
Early in the 21st century we have already seen these trends evolving. I find all four fascinating, but the last one particularly intrigues me. A reader sent me this quote from anthropologist Jane Goodall. Goodall, a scientist, says this about spirituality:
"Thinking back over my life, it seems to me that there are different ways of looking out and trying to understand the world around us. There's a very clear scientific window. And it does enable us to understand an awful lot about what's out there. There's another window; it's the window through which the wise men, the holy men, the masters of the different and great religions look as they try to understand the meaning in the world. My own preference is the window of the mystic."That is a remarkable statement coming from a scientist, but both windows are necessary if we are to understand the world.
Some of us more naturally gravitate toward reason and logic. It is an important window on the world. Raised by a scientist, I understand that and appreciate it. Others more easily understand the world through spiritual eyes. I married one of these people and deeply appreciate her view of reality. The eyes of the soul, looking through a spiritual window, can often see things the mind misses. We shouldn’t discount one method of arriving at truth because we are not as familiar with using it.
I don’t want to under-appreciate the window of science, nor do I want to neglect the window of the mystic. If I spend time gazing out both windows, I’ll see with my mind as well as with my heart. I expect to be amazed.
-- Steve Goodier
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