Interview with Guy Dauncey
Welcome to the first edition of my new newsletter, linked to my book Journey to the Future.
Why did you write Journey to the Future?
Because I saw the past and the present, and I knew that they were not good enough…
Because I have been involved in the environmental movement for the past twenty-five years and there has been far too much negativity and despair…
And because I am in love with beauty, and with all the incredible possibilities that exist in this amazing life.
And because the book came to me, and asked to be written.
Did you consciously develop the characters, or did they come to you too?
It was a bit of both, but mostly the latter. I have never enjoyed writing a book so much as this one, even though it took me twenty drafts, when my other books never needed more than four. This way of writing, using characters from the future, is so liberating, and it allows them to express so many thoughts that I might not have had myself.
There is quite a bit of darkness in the book. Was that deliberate, or did that just happen?
That was very deliberate—because darkness, pain, suffering and grief are very real, both in the past and the present. I set out to create a positive vision, but if in so doing we deny the darkness, we do everyone a huge disservice. When Patrick has his dream in Dezzie’s garden, however, at the end of Chapter Six, where he senses a dark hole—“more a fetid swamp, oozing something dangerous”—that took me completely by surprise. It took me several drafts to understand what that was about.
That would be telling. I’d rather people read the book and find out for themselves.
There is an enormous variety of material in your book, from economics and finance to global climate solutions, from healthcare and education to neighbourhood development and green business. How did you find the time to do all the research?
About half I had done before I started, so it was knowledge I had accumulated through my previous books and my practical engagements in the world. The other half I did during the process of writing, through an enormous amount of new reading and discovery. I kept on wanting to add new insights, but at some point I had to draw the line and stop, in order to get it published. But there are so many themes in the book, and there is so much progress happening, so I am launching a monthly newsletter titled A Better World is Possible to keep readers up-to-date with all the great developments—or the lack of them.
What do you think it will take for people to turn your vision into a reality?
They already are! That’s what’s so great. If it was not for all the people who are working away to make a better world very little of the future that Patrick discovers would be possible. That’s why the Endnotes are so extensive, to show the reader that this is all for real, and not some invented sci-fi fantasy.
Yes, tell me about the Endnotes —there are almost 1,000 of them!
Yes, there’s a lot, but they are the book’s grounding. When Patrick discovers that there’s this region of Italy, for instance, where they have been doing amazing things to build a cooperative economy, I’m not just inventing that. It’s for real—and the Endnotes provide the evidence. It’s the same with things like public banking, and street organizing. They are not just nice ideas—they’re already happening in many parts of the world.
Which are your favorite parts of the book?
Oh, I have so many. But some of the most rewarding to write were the ones where I was creating completely new material, such as redesigning Hastings Street with all the sculptures, Naomi finding a pathway to peace in Israel and Palestine, and Ryan telling Patrick about the Second American Revolution. That was a blast. I also enjoyed creating the farm with its ecovillage —and meeting Brad on the train, describing how he had emerged from the darkness of tax evasion and drug resistant gonorrhea to help close down the world’s tax havens. When Patrick was sad to leave the future after spending four very eventful days there, I shared his sadness.
Tell me about this new idea called syntropy, which weaves its way through the whole book and then completely dominates the final chapter?
Well, that’s a very big topic—it may be the deepest current of change of all, since it goes right back to the beginning of the Universe, and yet it expresses itself every day, through every one of us. I think I’d rather encourage readers to discover it for themselves. I didn’t create the idea of syntropy—I’m just one of several modern interpreters.
So what’s next for you now that it’s complete?
I don’t know. I have two or three new writing projects that are whispering words of encouragement to me. But I also want to spend time promoting the book, giving talks, inspiring people with the faith that we can do this. Why wear the dreary drapes of despair and defeat, when we can wear the bright colours of an amazing new world? I want to inspire people to change the story they tell themselves about the world, and to embrace a new ‘Ultimate Story’, as Soluna describes it in the final chapter. I need to surrender to my own muse, to see what she has in store for me.
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I am publishing a free monthly newsletter, charting progress on the book’s major themes, with encouragement for everyone who wants to build a better world. To receive it, subscribe here:
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