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The Near Future
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

The World Future Society is an association founded in 1966, for "people who are interested in how social and technological developments are shaping the future. It publishes a bi-monthly magazine, "Futurist," dedicated to "forecasts, trends and ideas about the future."

Each year, the Futurist magazine publishes a summary of the top ten predictions of the future, written by leading scientists, economists and sociologists. Their forecasts sound remarkably similar to the prophecies of redemption found in the Bible and classical Jewish sources.

One such prediction states, "The borders of the world will shrink and we will become one global village. People will be able to cooperate on projects, research and invention even if they are on opposite ends of the world."

International cooperation in business already exists today to a certain extent. Many factories have a truly international flavor. Today, a Japanese car might be assembled in plants in the United States, using materials from Mexico and Malaysia.  This fits the prediction of Maimonides: "In those days there will be no hunger or war; no jealousy or competition, because all good things will be readily available."

Futurist Magazine also foretells that, "Gradually, cultural differences will fade away as the world adopts one unified culture. Eventually, the entire world will speak one global language." This fits the prophecy in Zephania (3:9) that states "For then I will convert the peoples to a pure language that all of them call in the name of the Lord, to worship Him of one accord."

According to Futurist magazine, "In the future, even more emphasis will be placed on skills that cannot be automated. These 'hyper-human' skills include caring, judgment, intuition, ethics, inspiration, friendliness, and imagination." Maimonides holds a similar view: "The entire occupation of the whole world will be only to know G-d" - we will have less manual labor to perform and will spend most of our time deepening our spiritual bond with G-d and developing our sensitivity and creativity.

What purpose does Futurist magazine see in studying these predictions, which may or may not be borne out? The Society explains: "When people can visualize a better future, then they can begin to create it."

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches a similar idea. He announced that the Era of Moshiach is already here, and we only need to open our eyes and see it. He directed us to begin to study the concepts of Moshiach and redemption in Jewish sources, since that is the quickest and most direct route to experiencing the redemption. Our study of these topics helps us internalize the idea of redemption and actually live with its promise and energy.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.

 

 


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