By understanding how humans in the past have framed the future, we can gain a deeper appreciation of the significance of futures thinking. ‘Three thousand years of futures’ explores the history of time consciousness, beginning with prophets in Judaeo-Christian and Persian cultures, the sibyls of ancient Greece, and Plato’s utopian vision. It then considers the Renaissance period, which represented a revolution in thinking and culture that pointed to a radically different future, and the 18th-century European Enlightenment. The dark side of progress—as portrayed by Malthus—is discussed along with Cornucopianism, which emerged in response. Finally, the effects of the two world wars on states’ future planning is considered.