Visions of the Future (2000)

The Engelsberg Seminar 2000

Conference dates 26th – 28th of August 2000 Avesta/Engelsberg

The twentieth century came to an unexpected ending. For a long time during the Cold War, two evenly balance blocks appeared to be confronting each other, but suddenly the communist empires collapsed, at the same time as the capitalist societies introduced a revolution of information technology, the further consequences of which we can, at present, only guess at. Meanwhile the outlines are appearing of a genetic engineering revolution which is probably going to change the world even more than the IT revolution has done already. There have been other periods in history when people have felt themselves faced with steadily accelerated changes, but never, it seems, has that feeling been more justified than today. We have a profound crisis of orientation: everything that used to be solid is evaporating, the old patterns of interpretation are weighed and found wanting. What economic, political and technical opportunities and problems lie ahead of us, and by what values and norms are our actions to be governed? The unexpected ending of the twentieth century reminds us of the unpredictability of future developments, but without asking questions of this kind we will be less prepared than ever for the complex issues with which we are going to be confronted. The world that is now taking shape as we enter the twenty-first century seems different in many ways from the world we have been accustomed to. What kind of society awaits us? What role will be played by the national state and what future lies in store for political democracy? What counterpoises will there be to global capitalism? What will the working life of the future be like? How will science and technology develop? What kind of wars and conflicts will we see in the future? What is the import of being human if we are able to take evolution into our own hands, and what would be the political and cultural implications of such possibilities? What will become of our collective and individual identity in a world so changeable and devoid of frontiers? What will become of imagination and artistic narrative in a culture where opportunities for virtual experience and interactivity are so great and in which reality itself is tending to become more and more virtual?


What is a man?

Harold Bloom
Professor, Yale University and New York University
Lecture: The Invention of the Human

Michael Maccoby
Ph. D., The Maccoby Group
Lecture: The Changing Sense of Self

Robert Jay Lifton
Professor, The City University of New York
Lecture: The Protean Self – A Future of Many Shapes


The Future of Society

Saskia Sassen
Professor, University of Chicago
Lecture: Cities and Globalisation

Johan Rådberg
Professor, University of Lund
Lecture: The Role of Architecture


The Future of Imagination and Narrative

Harold Bloom
Professor, Yale University and New York University
Lecture: How to Read

Harold Bloom
Professor, Yale University and New York University
Lecture: The Western Canon


The Future of War and Conflict

David Kimche
Ph. D., Israel Council for Foreign Relations
Lecture: The Future of War and Conflict

Rolf Ekéus
Ambassador, Chairman of the Governing Board at SIPRI
Lecture: War and Politics

Robert Jay Lifton
Professor, The City University of New York
Lecture: Trickle-down Nuclearism

Martin van Creveld
Professor, Hebrew University
Lecture: The Future of War


The Future of Work

Robert Shapiro
Ph. D. United States Department of Commerce
Lecture: A Global Perspective from America

Allan Larsson
Chairman of the Swedish Television
Lecture: A European Perspective


The Future of Knowledge

Jeffrey Rosen
Assoc. Professor, The George Washington University
Lecture: The Eroded Self: Information and Knowledge in Cyberspace

John Ziman
Professor, University of Bristol
Lecture: The Globalisation of Science