Elise Boulding has been an influential thinker and creative voice in peace and conflict theory. She served as the secretary-general of the International Peace Research Association(IPRA) and president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Boulding is credited with introducing to the field of peacemaking the idea of “imaging the future.”
For Boulding, the idea of imaging the future is placed within the context of “the 200-year present.” Within this framework, we must understand that we live in a social space which reaches into the past that extends, as well, into the future. For Boulding, the “200-year present” contains within it the basis for a world culture of peace and problem solving for the world, but also, the possibility of conflict, chaos and Armageddon.
In my reading of religious persons throughout the history of the world, I believe they understood intuitively what Boulding labels with this term, “the 200-year present.”
We must live with a deep, intimate and close awareness of our history – where we have all too often plucked up and torn down opportunities and resources and communities – while also imagining the possibilities for a new future where we can plant and build something better for future generations.
~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.