Human thinking about the future, or futures thinking, is probably the most complex process in the universe. But, very much like the phenomenon of time in which we are also comprehensively embedded in our existence, it is both extremely close to us, and extremely difficult to grasp. In spite of this fact, a progressive understanding about futures thinking may be achieved within its philosophical, psychological, and neurological aspects. Consciously focusing on these aspects helps revise our past thoughts and assumptions and prepares us for what lies ahead. Is there any theoretical basis for our new focus in futurists’ works in recent years? Can they be considered foundations of our new understanding in this regard?
This article attempts to analyze an individual’s knowledge about his or her futures thinking processes, self-awareness, self-regulation and control, and beliefs about all of these matters. Futures metacognition addresses why, when, and how an individual uses his or her knowledge consciously in thinking about the future. It then offers a new paradigm for futures thought: namely, that conscious application of futures knowledge is shaped within a philosophical, psychological, and neurological framework, and therefore a futurist must be capable of differentiating these aspects from each other in the context of his/her work and research. Monitoring the process of metacognition is key to a better understanding of the future along with knowing why, when, and how we apply our futures knowledge.