A Historical Survey of Future Societies
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First published in 1968, Yesterday’s Tomorrows elucidates on the favourite occupation of man: forecasting the future. By man’s predictions, he mirrors his own wish-fulfilments, displacements, projections, denials, evasions and withdrawals. These predications can take the form of countries of the imagination, ‘mirror worlds’ like Rabelais’ Ever-Ever lands or the Erewhon of Butler. Alternatively, they may spring from panic, reflecting fear rather than hope, often manifesting themselves, in our technological age, as reports of ‘flying saucers’ or invasions from another planet. In either form, they provide philosophers, scientists, doctors and sociologists with material for evaluating man’s future needs, offering both criticism of our present society, plans for our future, and release from tension and disequilibrium.
Professor Armytage shows in this book how such ‘visions’ can, and do, refresh minds for renewed grappling with the present by arming them with ideas for man’s future needs. He indicates that, out of an apparent welter of futuristic fantasies, a constructive debate about tomorrow is emerging, providing us with operational models of what tomorrow could be. This book will hold special interest for students of philosophy and of English literature.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Mantic Heritage 2. Extravagance to Extrapolation 3. The Debate Begins: from Noble Savage to Last Man 4. The Gothic Imagination 5. The Other Side 6. Bellamy and the Mechanical Millenarians 7. Superman and the System 8. The Disenchanted Mechanophobes 9. Virgils of the Dynamo 10. Sectarian Scientism 11. Surmising Forums 12. Operational Eschatologies Notes Index
W. H. G. Armytage