Three doors; one room

“And so if we look at Europe and we say, well, how will Europe be different from the way it is today in the future? I think there’s sort of three pictures of a very different future, and sort of behind door number one is Islamic Sharia law, and if you’re a woman, you’ll be wearing a burka. So that’s a very different picture of the future, it’s very concrete. Behind door number two is the Chinese communist AI, and it’s the big eye of Sauron that will be watching you at all times and all places. That’s door number two for the future. And door number three is the green movement, and you’ll be puttering around in an E scooter and you’ll be separating out your garbage in a recycling can. And then I think the challenge is that there are no other doors. Those are the three options.”Peter Thiel on future scenarios for Europe

As a futurist, I admit, these three doors do represent three plausible scenarios for frail, fearful Europe (particularly the last two).  However, I suspect that all three doors lead to the same room, just by different corridors. All three doors lead to a future that is more centralised, more surveilled, more controlled and less free. The only difference is who is in control and by what narrative they consolidate power: extremism, envy and/or eco-anxiety.

The strange euthanasia of ageing Europe should be a warning to the rest of the world about a creeping culture of submission, where individuals, devoid of hope and vision turn to their states as saviours.

We need more concrete positive visions of the future; not merely choices between frying pan, pot and fire.

Even if it is your idea of utopia, collectivist totalitarianism cannot be the only future to look forward to. The future needs real options, not only different routes to the same end results. There are more doors, let’s open them.

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