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Selling the FutureThe Perils of Predicting Global Politics$
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Ariel Colonomos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190603649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190603649.001.0001

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The Ultimate Delphic Paradox

The Ultimate Delphic Paradox

The Veil of Finitude

Chapter:
(p.191) The Ultimate Delphic Paradox
Source:
Selling the Future
Author(s):

Ariel Colonomos

, Gregory Elliott
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190603649.003.0010

As the four paradoxes laid out in this book collectively attest to, the social demand for the future is ambivalent. On the one hand, in the context of our knowledge-based societies, we develop sophisticated institutions where theory meets practice and where considerable efforts are made to predict and forecast the future. On the other, ideas produced in those settings have limited informational value and, indeed, the social analysis of collective behavior throughout this book explains why there is great toleration for these limitations. There is another reason at the individual level worth mentioning. Psychologically, individuals are reluctant to envision the future (“end of history illusion”), one of the symptoms of this preference being their unwillingness to know how and when their lives will end.

Keywords:   Future, Ambivalence, Freud, “End of History illusion”

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