The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 23, 1972, Page PAGE 5, Image 5

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The signs were subtle five years ago. They
went unnoticed for the most part. But in
1972 Americans show every indication of
having latched onto one more nationwide
craze. It has the novelty of the skateboard,
the intrigue of the ESP card trick, and the
mind-dazzling effect of a psychedelic light
What is it? Futurism. Practiced by
growing numbers of futurists, popularized .
by mass media, lecture tours and
well-meaning conversationalists everywhere.
Futurism is the applied science of
predicting the future, usually by projecting
current statistical trends. It's most popular
exponents are probably Alvin Toffler, who
wrote; Future Shock, and Marshall
McLuhan, author of Understanding Media.
The future perspective has given impetus to
ecological and population control efforts.
Futurism began as a serious effort by the
American Academy of the Arts and Sciences
in creating the Commission of the Year
2000. Similar organizations began work in
France and England.
As early as 1 967, Daniel Bell, commission
chairman, pointed out the popular appeal of
the year 2000. He cited feature spreads in
Time magazine, the New York Post, the New
York Times, a running column in the Wall
Street Jounal, and a CBS television show.
Even the beauty industry, Bell wrote, had
jumped' on the bandwagon. A New York
Times women's page headline read: "In the
Year 2000: Push Button Beauty." The
article began: "The chic woman of the year
2000 may have live butterflies around her
hairdo attracted by a specially scented
The undesirable result of this popularized
futurism is that it distracts attention from
the original intent of statistical prediction:
to outline trends and alternatives as a basis
for intelligent and aggressive
Instead, predicitons are often presented
as entertainment, belying a trivial or
gimmicky subject. Popular books and
articles are often written to pleasantly
overwhelm the reader with his powerlessness
to change the surge of technolgical progress.
The sensation of powerlessness has become
oppressive, however, and preditions of
technological domination have debilitated
the citizen as a participant in his own future.
The widespread sense of being unable to
effect change in the environoment is
mirrored in the social sciences. A
deterministic world view has increasingly
pervaded the liberal arts, culminating in B.
F. Skinner's book, Beyond Freedom and
Dignity. Man is seen exclusively as a product
of his environment. There are no alternative
modes of action.
Awareness of environmental influence on
personality was at first a humanistic trend. It
provided a broader foundation for
understanding among people. Carried to the
present degree, however, the attitude is
dehumanizing. It deprives people of their
sense of control over their lives.
The trend toward a submissive and docile
acceptance of one's fate is the opposite of
what is necessary. . Alvin Toffler points
out that the rapid rate of life change in the
future will demand that citizens budget for
the physiological and psychological shock
they are capable of absorbing each year.
Physiological and psychological
afflictions insomnia, .heart palpitations,
tremors, unexplained fatigue, confusion,
unusual irritability, gastrointestinal
disorders, ulcers-may be direct results of
too much change in the environment.
Toffler suggests controlling the shock of
change in personal life through statistical
Whether people perceive themselves as
pawns of powerful deterministic forces or as
active participants in their destiny is of
crucial importance. The future is designed
by present expectations. The future is
designed by present expectations. If people
internalize a deterministic would view from
popular futuristic writings, they will face the
challenge of the technological society
disarmed and debilitated, rather than
prepared and educated. The prohpecy of
man's subjugation to technology will fulfill
by Bruce Beecher
Bruce Beecher is manager of the ASUN Student Record Store
and Art Shop, and is co-chairman of the ASUN Student
Services Committee.
As co-chairman of ASUN Student Services Committee and
with my involvement as manager of the ASUN Record and Art
Store, I have found than an expansion of student services is
both feasible and necessary. I feel that the most promising way
of accomplishing this is through the establishment of a
student cooperative system. In this article, I would like to
outline some specific suggestions for implementation.
The basis of a cooperative system lies in the sale of a co-op
card to students and faculty. This card would provide discount
prices on such items as records, art works, gas and liquor. The
discount on records and art is understandable because of the
Record and Art Store already in operation.
How about gas and liquor? An owner of a liquor store or
gas station close to campus would more than likely be glad to
offer reduced prices in return for the patronage of a large
percentage of students on this campus. At the outset there
would be four uses for the cooperative card. ' The card
would also have the student's picture, I.D. number and birth
date, so that it could be used for cashing, checks and
purchasing liquor.
The most appealing aspect of the co-op is that the money
received from the card sales would then be
used to open new stores and services. If a mere 25 per cent of
the student body at UNL purchased a co-op card at, say, five
dollars a semester, this would provide a working capital of
$50,000 for the first year. This would be more than enough
money to expand services to include other services such as a
book store, weekend films, grocery store and a coffee shop.
The following year, more tickets would be sold because of
their increased value, and the money taken in would then open
other stores. I think that the spirai-effect of the cooperative
system is obvious. In effect, by purchasing a co-op card,
students would not only be saving themselves money
immediately, but would also be investing in future savings.
In view of the recent controversy concerning student fee
monies and fee continuation, I feel this is a workable and
practical alternative. Also, this would remove the threat of
withdrawal of student fees from student organizations by the
Board of Reeents and the Nehracka I miclttum
y y
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