The future is manifested

Shared fiction as a statement about the future instead of a statement of today. They’re both fictions in that they can’t be (dis)proved and thus can have the same functions in a group of people (bring together, motivate to action, share values/language, etc.)

Build as if your creations had skyhooks you could hang them off of.

To see things as they really are, you must imagine them for what they might be. — Ruha Benjamin

In part why I really like reading things like The Book of Predictions where people from the 1970s just make predictions about the far future and see how correct they were. A lot of completely wrong predictions but some are eerily accurate (e.g. distributed and accessible compute). Now, you look at todays predictions of the future and it looks the same as the dreams we had 50 years ago about flying cars and space-faring societies.

Where are our futures with no famine and disease? With a clean and healthy planet? Of universal free access to information? Where did the ambition go?

J. Storrs Hall in Where is My Flying Car:

We need hopers and dreamers; we need visionaries who can see a better future worth striving for. We need great, important things to do with the staggeringly huge capabilities that lie within our grasp. Science fiction must get back down into the gutter and start looking back up at the stars.

Social Theory as Science

Source: Possibilities — Social Theory As Science and Utopia by David Graeber

”Where, in earlier generations, science fiction projections seemed to regularly become reality a generation later, now they remain trapped on the screen—even if the screen images look increasingly realistic.” (321)

The Big Here and Long Now

”Humans are capable of a unique trick: creating realities by first imagining them, by experiencing them in their minds. When Martin Luther King said “I have a dream”, he was inviting others to dream it with him. Once a dream becomes shared in that way, current reality gets measured against it and then modified towards it.”

The act of imagining something makes it real. Art as processes or the seeds for processes - things that exist and change in time, things that are never finished.

Fiction as shared visions

Visions matter. Visions give people a direction and inspire people to act, and a group of inspired people is the most powerful force in the world. If you’re a young person setting off to realize a vision, or an old person setting off to fund one, I really want it to be something worthwhile.

Protocol Fiction

But we don’t need just design fictions. We need business model fictions, engineering feasibility study fictions, interop protocol specification fictions, investment return fictions.

Speculative Infrastructure

Shared truth

Creating shared truth through fiction by dreaming the world we want to see come to fruition. I really like this, helps to explain why we need a collective vision. Reminds me of a big reason contests like this exist.

In essence, these are just social contracts (which are just shared truths that we all believe in)

Legal fiction is one that has huge influence today (enforced by the threat of violence which relies on the asymmetric power of a nation state). But it feels like we can create other fictions that we as a society can believe in