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The Future Tamed

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Chapter Summary

All knowledge, we need to appreciate, is tied to action, hence our use of the concept ‘knowledge practice’. However, if ‘how we know’ is to be found on the knowledge end of the spectrum of knowledge practices associated with the future, ‘know-how’ occupies the practice end. It concerns practical knowledge which tends not to be reflected upon and theorised about. This chapter investigates the less familiar terrain of know-how as expressed in response to some existential conditions of uncertainty created by change, mortality, human freedom and economic exchange. The first attempts to tame the future are recorded in myth and ritual, in sacred and profane activities. The chapter identifies some of these practices, considers their underlying assumptions and makes comparisons in order to better understand contemporary dilemmas that arise with an immensely increased capacity to create futures that is not matched by an equal ability to know outcomes.

Keywords: action; future; knowledge practice; profane activity; sacred activity

10.1163/ej.9789004161771.i-218.20
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