It seems like a contradiction that futurism deals with history, but our future is determined by the past. It is also important to acknowledge that as there is not a fixed, pre-set future also our history is fluid and open to change and re-interpretation.
Interpretation of history as a key to the present
Each new political movement began with basically three things: proposing new or modified values for humans, pressure for change of the current conditions of human society and re-interpreting the known history of humankind. This is valid for Liberalism, various Nationalist movements, Socialism, Feminism, Transhumanism, various religious movements and so on and so on. Often the interpretation of history was and is used to justify policy and values that were used to change the present.
But what about us? Futurism is not a clear political movement now (and neither was it during the early 1900reds when it first developed), it is probably more a cultural-philosophical attitude that can be interpreted by various political ideologies. However, the question which pops into our minds is: “Will the big changes that our society will see in this century develop a new political movement and ideology which is closely affiliated with Futurism?” My guess is yes; I think it will revolve around the issues of a planetary civilization, automation of the economy and replacement of human labor and maybe the strive for immortality.
Futurists take on history
But what exactly does this have to do with history? We need to think about what our children should be thought in school, which historic values we uphold and how we should interpret human-history. Our take on this would go mostly like this. The problem with our current historical understanding is that it enforces regional or nationalist understanding which is not adequate for the 21st century. Our giant metropoles no matter if it is Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, Delhi, Cairo, London or Buenos Aires become more and more diverse and multi-national, this trend can be witnessed since the development of cities itself. It is important to see the history of humankind not as summary of isolated regions “doing their own stuff”, but as a vibrant network of a developing species that was constantly influencing each other. There have always been centers of development but the current notion that this was happening only in the obscure city-states of ancient Greece, the Imperium Romanum and the British Empire is absurd. Important developments and contributions to humankind’s development can be found all around the globe. We should understand human history more as the accumulation of various achievements and focus on these important things and they positive and negative aspects like the development of agriculture, the state, writing, trade, money, religions, industry, etc.
Mixing the traditions
The same is true for ideologies, philosophies, religions and human value systems. History should be seen as the key to the development of our
understanding not mainly as citizens of this or that state, but as humans that or part of one human race. It should present the best aspects of various cultures from the Eastern philosophies like Taoism and Shintoism, the Veda teachings, to the religion of the Incas, various animist teachings, the best values of western enlightenment, Sufi mysticism as well as relatively modern developments like socialism and ecology. All this must be seen through the lens of unifying humankind and creating an enlightened and “grown up” species.
Creation of economic value
An important issue is to understand that in the soon future economic value will be mostly created by machines and the percentage of human labor will massively decrease. We need to establish the understanding that all of humankind has equally contributed to this development of rapid technological advance. The technological basis of today was inherited by all humans by the deeds and the sweat of billions that came before us, we did not lift a finger to develop the wheel, steam-engines or the computer. Therefore, not individual humans should mainly harvest the fruits of machine labor, but all humans equally. The “futurist” history should therefor also explain how economic inequality of our current society was established and point to a way in which it can be overcome.
Becoming one world
In the early days of humanity, the world-view of the individual human in the literal meaning of the word was that the world was mostly his surroundings, the forests and plains that he walked his tribe and the ones that neighbored him. Therefor humankind did perceive the world not as one but as many different ones. With the progress of human cultural evolution this worldview changed more and more to the view of one world, inhabited by one human race (although it is still geographically separated by various nation-states). One big aspect of humankind’s history is – despite several separatist tendencies of today’s unjust world – the tendency to unify humans, both on an economic, cultural as well as on political basis (read an article about how we lose our cultural differences here).
We must make sure, that this will happen in a just and egalitarian way, not in the way of domination by one, two or three great powers. This is crucial, because domination by superpowers is not a sustainable way to unify, it is the guarantor of undermining unity.