“The future will go backwards”

Jon Wozencroft

“The future will go backwards” is a riposte to Althusser’s famous work, “L’Avenir Dure Longtemps” (translated by his American publishers as “The Future Lasts Forever”). The seminar is a partial examination as to why the sense of the future seems to have collapsed in contemporary Western society.

Recent art and music-related initiatives such as Jem Finer’s “Longplayer” and Brian Eno/Stewart Brand’s “Long Now Foundation” suggest that life will be STILL THERE in the year 2525. One of Jenny Holzer’s aphorisms is more succinct – “The future will be stupid”. Of course, this is not the promise of the scientific and pharmaceutical sectors, who suggest ‘smart drugs’ and neural implants will accelerate the intelligence of the general population. So are we, in fact, going through the final process of “dumbing down” before emerging like a phoenix species from the ashes?

One of the more elliptical statements Marshall McLuhan made, “Anything you go deeply enough into, reverses”, warrants closer examination.