On Tue, 17 Oct 1995 DwBuff@aol.com wrote:
> I am presuming the word forecasting means to take today's situation,
> numbers, picture and extrapolate it into the future. All of the thoughts
> below are with the understanding that the groups I am referencing are not
> forecasting in this sense, but are indeed setting targets for future
> excellence, creation, change, etc.
> Quite a few years ago, I had heard that a number of Japanese companies
> imagine the future, mentally go to it, and then plan backwards from the
> future to the present. I find it this easier to do myself. Once the
> picture of what is going to be created is finished, it is a matter of
> deconstructing it back to the present. The strategic planning models I
> have seen, all appear to plan from the present towards the future. Is
> there a reason why?
> Second, when I/we plan a family trip, we usually talk backwards from some
> end point (farthest geographically, point we will settle into for a few
> days, etc) of the trip. I was not aware there was a better (different way)
> to plan until strategic planning hit the US in a big way a few years ago.
> I find moving from the present towards the future sort of difficult. It
> seems to cause me to be more concerned about changing the here and now
> instead of creating the future picture.
> I also do not presume I am the only one like this in the western world.
I think you have a lot of company. More every year. I think that this
discovery of 'backcasting' relates to a very general paradigm shift. It
may take a few paragraphs to characterize this, so bear with me for a
It was commonplace, earlier in this century, for philosophies of science
to hold that Science had no place for "Final Causes". That had been
Aristotle's term for what we would call "goal-directed" activity. In a
fully deterministic Newtonian universe, there can only be
cause-and-effect, past-to-future explanations of anything, even people.
This denial, systematically applied in soft areas such as psychology,
leads to some remarkable absurdities: for example, B.F.Skinner insisting
that human goals are "effects" of stimulating "causes".
I gave up philosophy a long time ago, in the belief that the proper
corrective for bad metaphysics is not some alternative metaphysics, but
enlightenment. I think that people backcasted 2500 years ago, and 1500
years ago, and continue (like you and me and the rest of us here) to do so
today. That is the wood we chop and the water we carry. One doesn't hear
so much anymore about cause-and-effect. For human planning, it's a
A simple concept such as this "backcasting" can sweep away centuries of
conceptual muck. Thanks for a lucid and provocative post.
-- Regards Jim Michmerhuizen firstname.lastname@example.org web residence at http://world.std.com/~jamzen/ ........................................................................... . . . . There are far *fewer* things in heaven and earth, Horatio, . . . . . . . . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy... . . | _ .