Futurist Lawrence H. Taub on the Unexpected 21st Century

In the next 30 years or so, the rivalry between China and India will reshape the world as we know it. This is one of the take-away points from Lawrence H. Taub's book The Spiritual Imperative: Age, Sex, and the Last Caste.


From the beginning of the Christian era up to the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, China and India were the world's two largest economies. Soon they will be the world's two economic and cultural superpowers again, and they will impact the global agenda.


Taub explains the economic, cultural, and spiritual dynamics of this coming rivalry, which he depicts as a clash between two conflicting world views - China's here-and-now Confucianism, and India's spiritualized, transcendental Hinduism.


The Spiritual Imperative helps us to make sense of the world. Taub, the first futurist to argue that women will play a key role in shaping the future, embraced a transcultural view of humanity and shows us a world with many differences, but also a world with a shared destination.


Keywords: lawrence taub, spiritual imperative, caste theory, feminism, china, india, fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence, sadhguru, spirituality, digital money, confucianism, hinduism, consciousness, sarkar, fundamentalism, end of work, voluntary simplicity, industry 4.0



How the West embraced East-Asian Aesthetics

A Chinese projection system known as axonometry (ak-so-NO-me-tree) played a crucial but elusive role in the Modernist Revolution in art and architecture between the 1850s and 1920s. Axonometry is the Chinese equivalent of European linear perspective. The Western embrace of the Chinese projection system played a significant but elusive role in the Modernist Revolution.


Since the 1930s, axonometry has been an indispensable tool for architects and designers throughout the world. In the 1960s, it helped in the development of Computer-Aided Design and other digital visualization techniques. Few people are aware of its Chinese pedigree, but axonometry plays a key role in shaping the modern world. It is used to design every from homes and hospitals to entire cities.


Japan unwittingly mediated this much-underrated exchange between China and the West. Japanese art and architecture inspired two of the towering figures in the Modernist Revolution—the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh and the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Their stories touch upon the intangible, human dimension in the Western embrace of East Asian aesthetics.


keywords: axonometry, linear perspective, projection systems, chinese architecture, chinese painting, luo Shu, Lu Ban, Ming Tang, Ukio-e, japanese woodblock print, modern art, vincent van gogh, frank lloyd wright, theo van doesburg, de stijl, modular systems, prefabrication, standardization



Lessons Learned from China

The Chinese did not develop a natural science, or so the argument goes, because they did not take the empirical method far enough. The missing ingredient in China’s “proto-science” was the concept of proof.


Proof is essential to the scientific method, and there can be no science without it. But the Chinese conceptually anticipated key concepts of modern science, including the binary system, quantum physics, and Relativity.  


Binary code inventor Gottfried Leibniz argued that the Chinese were the first to invent a form of binary code. The Chinese used different symbols – broken and unbroken lines instead of 0 and 1 – but the underlying principle was the same.


Einstein’s relativity theory argues that time and space both have to be taken into account when looking at cosmic phenomena like the speed of light. The Chinese had integrated time and space aesthetically about a thousand years earlier.


Quantum physicist Niels Bohr developed one of the first atomic models, and he and was struck by the similarity of how subatomic particles like proton and neutrons behave and the way the Chinese discussed nature in terms of yin and yang.


How these seemingly disparate technologies are related sheds light on the Chinese worldview. It helps us to anticipate how China may deal with 21st-century technology including AI, perhaps the last  “hard” science humanity will ever need.


“This book contains fascinating stories largely unknown, a history of Western scientific ideas, an insightful interpretation of ancient Chinese culture, and mind-expanding connections between East and West, art and technology, past and future. A unique play of creative ideas!”

Bill Kelly, Lecturer in Intercultural Communication, UCLA (ret.)