Estimated reading time 3 min

Remembering futures

Do you still remember what the future was like? This exercise brings future-oriented thinking to the human level.


We all have memories of the past, but could we also create them about the future? In this exercise on remembering the future, we draw on existing memories and place them in a future where something has changed. The aim is to put the future on a familiar and human level.

Remembering the future helps us prevent the anxiety that nightmare scenarios create. Such scenarios have their place. They tell us that we need to make major changes to our lifestyles and  society right now. But nightmare scenarios do not provide a direction. They only tell us where we should not go.

The future is often described through major changes and broad trends, forgetting the human level and daily life. The view of the future remains remote. That’s why it is important to imagine what it would be like to live in different future situations.

Remembering the future helps us take a critical view on our own statements about the future and those of others. The better we can imagine different futures, the better we can judge what kind of future would be desirable.

Remembering the future helps us choose the future we want and to act towards making it happen. Remembering the future is an exercise that anyone can do. Read the instructions below and find more information in this article by Jane McGonigal.


Start by thinking about what could be different in the future. What if there were no waste? What if everyone had a personal AI assistant?

Pick three familiar things: a person you know, a familiar place and a routine activity, such as eating, exercise or one of your hobbies.

Combine them all into one memory: imagine that you are with the person you picked, in the place you picked, engaging in the activity you picked – but this is taking place in a future in which the thing you selected has changed.

Try to imagine this future scene vividly and in such detail that it is like a memory of the past. Think about what the place looks like, what sounds you hear and what it feels like to be there.

If you like, you can write down your future memory and share it with someone else, and together, you can have interesting discussions about possible futures.

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