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Future Matrix, Updated

Yesterday's post What's Your Future has gotten a bit of attention, and much of the commentary (especially the discussion following the post itself) has been quite useful and interesting.

Upon reflection, I think the use of "Realist" to denote the top of the vertical axis is somewhat confusing. I use the term to mean a position/ideology that welcomes compromise and embraces ambiguity; unfortunately, I noticed that a few people seemed to take it to mean "realistic" (or, better yet, "reality-based"). Given what that suggests about the opposite end of that spectrum, people who might feel some sympathy for the (e.g.) Optimist-Idealist box would reject that position.

I'd like to replace the term Realist with Pragmatist.

To further clarify, by Pragmatist I mean "open to multiple methodologies," and by Idealist I mean "strong preference for a particular methodology." In both cases, "methodologies" is intentionally broad.

So, as a revised matrix:



Ah, that makes things a {momentary cynicism}We could play a game with this; 'Pin the World Leaders on the Matrix'! I predict overcrowding in the lower-right quadrant.{/momentary cynicism}

So, how can we entice people (and at times, ourselves) across the zero-lines and into the realms of sanity and foresight? The old business model of free-gift knick-knacks is obviously out...

Tony Fisk: thanks for the comment yesterday. It helps to hear a few supporting words; I know so few people in meatspace who even discuss these sorts of issues that I sometimes feel like I'm operating in a vacuum. So thanks for a bit of perspective! :D

Whoa; the interwebs lost a big chunk of my original comment, it looks like. It had to do with pragmatist being a better word, and its use making it more like the David Brin model. Saved you reading a few lines of ranting, though, eh? That's serendipity for you. Selah!

Something about the use of the labels "Optimist" and "Pessimist" for the horizontal axis is bothering me. They don't seem exactly descriptive of what you are trying to say. I'm not sure what I would replace them with though. "Utopian/Dystopian" aren't right either, really. It seems to me that on that axis you are trying to represent those that consider change to be possible, and those that are dubious that change can occur, which to me is somewhat different than pure optimism and pessimism.

Hmm. Maybe "Adapter" and "Cynic"?

I think you need a third axis - small or large boat (oligarchy or democracy might be a better way of putting it). Do you think that only a small clique will (or should) do well, or should everyone? The failure is otherwise too many categories (in no way do the Marxists and the Dispensationalists belong together).

(ah, so here have you gone!)

What if this Matrix-approach is flawed? What if you could classify people instead as simplex, complex or multiplex? To simplex-ers - for want of a better word - there is A Single Most Important Objective, which overrides everything else. You know the type. But the majority is capable of complexity, of a sort - seeing an item from more than one viewpoint. Multiplexity, the ability to see all viewpoints (possibly at the same time) seemt to me to be rare.

Good point there, Jamisia.

I suppose someone has already told you that the afore-mentioned David Brin has responded to this model here?

Contrarian that he (self-confessedly) is, he has a few holes to pick, and raises some interesting points.

Dammit, posted the last one before checking your feed. Ignore previous comment.


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