The future is the time subjectively seen the present follows. The word comes from the verb come back and had in Middle High German nor a religious dimension in the sense of an impending " coming down of God", which is also at the identical word formation of the Latin ad - ventus "To the future, the future " (see Advent ) shows. The science of the future is the futurology.


Classical Physics

In classical mechanics, time is one dimension, ie a size for the parameterization of an event. Here, no distinction is made between present, past and future. Only the second law of thermodynamics is the time a fixed direction. Thereafter, the entropy, which indicates the number of possible states of a closed system in the future is always higher (or at least no less ) than in the past. This defines the thermodynamics an arrow of time from the past to the future. The future relative to a time (the present) is thus that portion of the time scale, in which a closed system has a higher entropy than in the present.

Relativity theory

In connection with the change in the conception of the notion of time since the introduction of special relativity by Albert Einstein, the terms past, present and future have undergone a reinterpretation. Since there are two events that occur simultaneously for one observer, no longer take place at the same time for a movable relative to the observer, the concept of replacing " Raumartigkeit " the " simultaneity ".

The current physical definition of the future results from the general theory of relativity. Here, the future of an event is seen as the space-time area that is achieved on the basis of the event by causal world lines. An observer can thus experience every event in his future when he embarks on the corresponding world line.

Psychology and Sociology

Closely related to the future is the human need for forecasting, planning and forecasting.

Robert Jungk, future thinkers and inventors of future workshops, wrote in 1952: " The morning is already present in today, but it still masquerades as a harmless, it disguises and reveals itself behind the familiar. The future is not cleanly detached from the respective presence Utopia: The future has already begun. But nor can it be if detected in time, changed. "

Social Aspects

Any statement about the future is carried out necessary from the current point of view, so that, in principle, result in two ways: In the case of "present future" is taken a pragmatic perspective, the future development is predicted to experience scientific basis of the available data or extrapolated ( planning). It turns out that one can predict certain events very closely, such as the trajectories of celestial bodies, swinging pendulums and the discharging of a battery, while other areas show a chaotic behavior, such as the weather and stock quotes.

A completely different picture emerges when the imagination "future presences ". Here not valid at that time standards of rationality for the construction of a 'realistic', present customized vision of the future be applied straight. Instead, it deliberately apart in order to arrive at a utopian counter-proposal to the prevailing reality. Within methods of participation such as the workshop of the future, this is realized by a special fantasy and utopia phase. Thus, by means of imagination and creativity skills further " futures" (ie, multiple design alternatives of the future ) anticipated theoretically.

From a social philosophical point of view there is in addition a close relationship with the notion of (practical ) expectation, among the general anticipation of a future state is understood. Two styles can be distinguished: Expecting the person acting normative, it is based on conventions and rules ( law). Is she expecting the other hand, cognitive, as is the active search for policy options and possible combinations in the foreground (science).

Fiction and utopia

The future is the subject of many important literary and cinematic works. The tradition of modern utopian literature dates back to Thomas More's Utopia.

While a part of the genre of science fiction works such as Star Trek, Space Patrol, Back to the future but also the time machine and Utopia is concerned rather with technical utopias, other authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin or Aldous Huxley in the context of the genre represented social utopias (or dystopias ).


  • All Future bites the past in the tail. Friedrich Nietzsche