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Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction Hardcover – March 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
DREAMING THE FUTURE is an entertaining and educational read whether you are actively involved with divination methods, are simply interested to know more about them and how they've been used, or are downright skeptical that such things could have any accuracy whatsoever. Pickover frequently refers to himself as being a skeptic throughout this book, yet he does not fall victim to scientism -- the belief that scientific hypotheses are immutable "laws", rather than ever-changing theories. Pickover requests that people first rule out the ways we can be tricked, to avoid blindly accepting assertions of paranormal or mystical experience.
I particularly enjoyed reading about the wide variety of oracles involving animal behavior, dowsing, candle flames, numerology, automatic writing, cheese shapes, tea leaves, crystals, breathing over a vase of water, sounds and movements of the wind, sand, geomancy, feng shui, fortune cookies, and random remarks overheard in crowds. I finished reading this book feeling inspired to try out new kinds of divination methods that weren't even mentioned, because I regained the sense that we can receive spiritual information from all of our senses in every situation, everywhere, all the time.
In keeping with the author's interest in fractals, he describes Fractomancy, a computer-graphics method of divination. "Fractomancy is based on the generation of fractal geometric patterns and interpreting the structures for divinatory methods." He also tells us that we can derive new inventions by cutting up patents and recombining the paragraphs at random. Are we to believe that this is how he has generated his portfolio of United States patents? No matter. The book is a source of endless fascination.
Finally, in an appendix we find a list of predictions by prophets of dates for the end of the world. I was pleased to see that if we get through 2001, we are safe until 2012.
Dreaming the Future is Pickover's most fascinating and largest work. Among the many topics, he discuses the use of hypnosis to progress people into the future to tell us what they find. He also describes actual technical patents dealing with divination devices and strange mental phenomena. Every conceivable divination method is described in this book as well as every important prophet and new-age channeler. I especially liked Pickover's chapters describing how sheep entrail divination has changed the course of history. He also discusses Hitler and astrology. The chapters on future-life progression will send a shiver down your spine, and, in many ways, you will be transported to a new plane of existence after reading this book. Pickover is certainly right when he writes, "Even with the great scientific strides we will make in this twenty-first century, we will nevertheless continue to swim in a sea of mystery. Humans need to make sense of the world and will surely continue to use divination for that task."