By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, October 7, 2022: Origin of the term future comes from the Latin word Futuro meaning ” about to be”. Looking to the future based on the facts of the past ,the trends of the present and visualising how events would unfold and what turn they would take is a discipline by itself.

Alexander could use horses in his march to India. No mechanized movement was possible then. First, except chariots no other wheel movement was known then. The tanks came only during the First World War. Hitler used Panzer mechanized division. It was a novelty.

After taking long arduous journey and his disastrous retreat could Alexander think of the future war and how to cover long distance by far more efficient means. When he came to India elephants confronted him. Could he imagine a creature like elephant in a battlefield ? Hannibal came much after him when he used the African elephants crossing Gibraltar to attack Rome.

Did any one think of use of balloons in war until Napoleon envisaged an attack on Britain, an invincible sea power who could be invaded only through air. Battle of Britain showed how Hitler actually launched it from air.

After less than fifty years of Napoléon use of balloon was made to watch troop movements and situation in Paris during the Franco-Prussian war by the Prussians . Doing fast forward to the period of the First World War and then to the World War II , there was no visualization of troops position through satellite transmission or communication of messages through internet. Could someone think of that during the war?

To see the future has been the human endeavour. In all cultures there have been soothsayers. “Be aware of Ides of March” warned soothsayer to Julius Caesar. Oracle of Delphi was source of knowledge of future even at the time of Plato. Palmistry and astrology have developed both in the Orient and Occident. Nostradamus is even now quoted.

Futures are important as we as human beings will tread on them unless we are wiped out by cataclysmic disaster. Of course, when we talk of future, we are talking a foreseeable future- next five years or ten years, twenty years, forty years and fifty or sixty ,seventy ,eighty ,ninety and hundred years or one hundred fifty years or five hundred years , even thousand years. Scientists also talk of future of universe just as they talk of its origin. It covers millions and billions of years.

At the level of nations, regions, and the world how events in politics, economics, sociology, science, and culture would take place and how it would shape future can be a discipline of study. It is possible with accurate data collection, scientific data analysis by use of information technology also using the artificial intelligence etc. What is futurology? It is study of present trends to make future forecasts . Can it be considered as a discipline of study ? Is it a discipline by itself ?In this article intention is not to go into that domain.

Caption starts with the doctrine. What is a doctrine ? It is a set of belief, principles used in international relations like Munroe doctrine and Truman doctrine etc. It is also relevant for other disciplines. Doctrine of Future has religious connotation having reference to the Christian Bible; therefore, it is not intended to use that expression in this piece. Doctrine of Futuro would be what is going to be based on past ,present and trends.

When George Friedman, geopolitical expert wrote the famous book “Next One Hundred Years,” it was a foreseeing of the next ten decades. He made some forecasts of Europe particularly of France, Germany and Poland, Turkey, and Russia , and then of Mexico, China ,India and finally USA. It was more like a doctrine .

I would use the expression Doctrine of Futuro, and not future. Idea behind this kind of stargazing is to generate analysis, imagine possibilities, what could happen and what is likely to happen. There may not be certainty but there are possibilities.

If asteroid would not have exterminated the dinosaurs , would human beings have evolved. If so, what would have been the relationship between men and dinosaurs? If human evolution would not have taken place could there have been development of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics ?What would have been the world today devoid of STEM? Could there have been any other possibilities?

When American continent was not discovered by Columbus, the continent was in existence with its civilization. People there did not know about existence of the Europeans. Even the Indians did not know about the Indigenous Americans. Could they think of existence of such geographic mass and its people? Did anyone imagine how they would interact with such people.

Now we see Star Trek and our imagination takes us to distant stars and planets and what kind of life could be in existence in such remote places.
When we read Chariot of Gods we had no actual knowledge of existence of exoplanet , even planet beyond our galaxies ,possibly having environment similar to habitable earth.

How people imagined and thought five hundred years ago was quite different from how people think today. It would be fascinating to imagine how a television set showing live pictures or radio broadcast at any place in America on July 4 in 1492 would have created an impression among people. Some would have thought it be a ghost, spirit, or something supernatural.
I have seen at least unfolding of events for more than seventy-five years. I must say people of my age group is extremely fortunate to have witnessed transition which no previous generation had witnessed during their lifetime. From lantern to twenty four hour electricity, from the well-water to the running tap water, from pigeon service , magneto telephone to conversation on mobile and WhatsApp, from Yatra to live television ,from kite to aeroplanes to drones ,from bullock cart ride to electric cars ,from Sputnik to landing of man on moon and from space-station to watching robot from Mars and finally images from James Webb telescope from distant outer space.

What a traumatic transition ! Now, one can imagine possible human settlement in Moon and Mars. May be in fifty years people may see life supporting exoplanet. In hundred years from now unmanned mission may take place to the nearest exoplanet.

In politics , forecast of the future is a feature in all climes and in all times ,from the time of Cicero to the time of Mussolini. In political sector , promises will be made by people seeking power whether they are politicians, political parties, military generals having ambition to grab authority, and also other ecclesiastical and religious champions creating dreams of future . When in power, authorities will continue to publicise achievements and justify their promises.

Inequality continues to be the subject of study of economist, political scientists, and sociologists from the time of Plato to Marx to Atkinson. Their philosophies will inspire people in power and their subalterns to frame policies, programmes, plans , projects and paint the picture of the future whether it was Lenin or Mao or Ho chi Minh or Fidel Castro
Newer institutions will grow. From banks to central banks, from stock broking to stock exchanges to security exchange regulatory commissions , insurance companies to insurance regulators. Interestingly nations will give place to international institutions UN, WHO, UNESCO, ILO WTO,ICAO,IMO, now regional bodies EU, OAS, OAU and new groups like QUAD, AUKUS, BRICS, SCO etc.

Have people and their leaders in the last ten millennia of the organized human civilizations from the time of early Egyptians, Assyrians , Hittites , and to the Indus-valley inhabitants made any lasting or permanent change to institutions, or are they all incremental in nature ? To what extent the Magna Carta, Civil war, glorious revolution, the French Revolution, the Paris Communes, and the Bolshevik revolution produced any fundamental, basic, organic, and structural change to the human society ? Mao , when asked by Kissinger in 1972 what impact the French Revolution had on the world history his cryptic reply was “ it is too early say ”.

Global political leaders may say that nationalism will be overtaken by internationalism. They give us a dream of future and El Dorado . We may in reality experience nightmare when it would graduate to become hyper nationalism and jingoism starting with patriotism ending with wars and even internecine wars . The Western thinkers may hail fall of Gaddafi and Mubarak as beginning of the Arab spring which in no time would become Desert winter. Globalization , privatization , and liberalisation may have been seen as the “ end of history ” after the collapse of the Soviet Union , but “ last man ” was not there when global fiscal crisis overtook humankind in 2008.

Is nationalism the foundation of internationalism or is it its antithesis ? These questions continue to be raised .

Leaders will take some action which will affect the future relationship among nations . Some action if it had been taken at a suitable time it would have been more acceptable but taken at different time would not be congruent with the contemporary conditions .

Those in power will always give a rosy future and try to convince the people that their programs and policies are working and if there are negative trends , they would ascribe them to external factors.

No regime can afford to allow pessimism to continue. Fear of destabilization would obsess the leaders of the ruling elite,no matter it is democratic or totalitarian or military regimes.

Will this century be the Asian century as Deng told Rajiv Gandhi? Will India be the thirty trillion-dollar economy in 2047 as Adani spoke to Forbes?

Can doctrine of Futuro answer this?

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