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What?s Your Identity?

Futurist

Jean Houston, 61, codirector of the Foundation for Mind Research, a nonprofit research group based in Ashland, Oregon, and author of 17 books, including “Jump Time: Shaping Your Future in a World of Radical Change” (Tarcher-Putnam, June 2000).

Scenario

“The Internet is reorganizing social interaction and changing our public and private behavior. People can now assume virtual identities that are often much different from their real identities, giving them extended power that eventually feeds back into their regular lives. We are becoming ‘polyphrenic,’ and, with the help of the Internet, we are changing the way that we think about ourselves.”

So What?

“New relationships are forming between individuals who otherwise might never utter two words to each other. Cyberspace has given us so many opportunities to teach and learn, to share information and exchange ideas. We are no longer reliant upon one city or one community for our daily interactions, and companies must reeducate themselves to understand this new culture. Gone are the days when businesses could target homogeneous sectors of the population.”

Futurology Decoder Key

“We are the people of the parenthesis — at the end of one era but not quite at the beginning of the next one. Maps no longer fit the new territories. In order to make sense of it all, we must cultivate a vision. No old formulas or stopgap solutions will work: Re-creating and reeducating ourselves is our best preparation for the future.”

Contact Jean Houston by email (jeanh@aol.com), or visit her on the Web (www.jeanhouston.org).FCS