Our spectacular failure of imagination (and what to do about it). A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
The current combined crises of climate change, income inequality, racism and poverty are not issues beyond our ability as a species to address them. Indeed, we have the vast resources of expanding technology, information at our fingertips and collective wisdom from around the globe. So why do we appear to be moving backwards instead of forward on these issues? It may have something to do with our ability to envision or to imagine outside of our current set of experiences and information --- we don't imagine solutions outside of what we already know. Here are some examples of this failure of imagination at work. Trends happening in the US are a good place to start:
In the US, leaders have allowed parts of the population to fall into collapse rather than end the structural racism that creates the problem in the first place, even though their is technology that would eliminate the country's need to have the racial caste system in place ...http://fortune.com/2017/09/19/racial-inequality-wealth-gap-america/?utm_campaign=fortunemagazine&utm...
US leaders continue to mismanage spending against the development of society, despite mountains of information that point to better spending possibilities...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC0hzK3TMQg
Australia and other Western countries knew what we were doing with our energy structure would eventually lead to the climate change crisis. Even though we've had alternative energy opportunities, we ignored both the data and the alternatives....http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p303951/html/Chapt05.xhtml?referer=226&page=10
What can be done to change our vulnerability to this kind of influence? From my perspective, there are four things that are within our grasp that are trending...
1. Embrace failure. Our ability to see failure as a stepping stone helps us develop new tools for the next try at the effort.
2. Create flat management structures. Hierarchy structures have a tendency to isolate the right hand from the left. Flat structures help information and insight flow more readily.
3. Collaborate. Climate change is going to require us to work together. Now is the time to develop collaborative infrastructure.
4. Listen. Listening changes everything. It forces you to put your ideas in the back ground while receiving new ideas from someone else. It also provides an opportunity to expand your capacity.
What could come from developing our imagination?
Many possibilities are right at our doorstep....http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/
Economies could change with a little bit of courage...http://www.businessinsider.com/basic-income-would-grow-gdp-by-trillions-study-finds-2017-8
Countries that are not tied to tradition, ideas and customs have a greater capacity for imagination. They could possibly save the rest of us.....https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/is-africa-leading-the-innovation-revolution/
Our failure of imagination is culturally supported through intimidation, mass media, social media echo chambers and simply bad leadership that doesn't have the capacity to see beyond it's own selfish goals. That means, instead of leaders....we must now think about leadership. Leadership is when a consensus of the future is built by people....everyday people who are simply looking to take care of the families as well as live in a world of peace, opportunities and abundance.
A Futurist's view of another end of the world prediction - September 23rd, 2017. Briefing From Futurist Chet W. Sisk
A really good Futurist is a person who combines the skills of a Trend Analyst with the inquisitive mind of a Journalist. As a Futurist, my job is to look at trends, ask where they are taking us collectively, then ask questions about the who, what, when, where and why of those trends. As part of this task, I personally read a little bit of everything I can get my hands on --- including those tabloid-like articles and videos that sensationalize end of the world scenarios. While they are mostly "fake news", there is always a grain of truth you can glean from their work.
The prophets of panic are back at it again. They are now saying September 23rd is the new date for the end of humanity. This time, however, there are plenty of geological, social and political events giving these predictions traction. Here are just a few of them....
And all of this over the past 60 days. I could go on, but you get my point. I am going over historic records to see if there is precedent for this time, but nothing found so far.
Now, before you run off to a cave with a backpack of Spam and a shotgun, allow me to provide more nuanced points of what's happening from a Futurist's perspective.
This is what rapid climate change looks like. Some of you may want to punch the climate change deniers in the neck, but may I suggest you refrain from violence. That energy would best be used in creating climate change adaptation models of living. Besides, if there were people to be angry with, it would be the captains of industry decades ago who had the data that said these things would happen if we didn't change our ways. They chose, instead, to bury that data for the sake of profit. That's what's called leadership malfeasance. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-climate-change-causing-hurricanes-to-be-more-severe_us_59b47b...
Advanced technology combined with climate change are creating unstable societies. When people don't know what's going on and respond in fear, they turn to anyone with a large microphone who says they can solve their problems. This, in turn, creates a cycle of disappointment and frustration when the person with the large microphone can't actually solve the problems. In fact, they exacerbate the crisis by delaying people from taking meaningful action that could make a difference. There are two distinct things happening in our world at the same time:
a. New technology is challenging the concept of job, so humans will have to rethink what to do with their lives.
b. Climate change is challenging our current way of existence. It, in fact, is creating an extinction level event unless, as Darwin put it, we learn to adapt.
At the very time humanity needs bold and visionary leadership that can lay out a path going forward, we tend to produce people who address our small needs in fear, This is the great test for our time. If we don't pass, there will be a skyrocketing number of unstable governments. https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/climate-changes-global-food-supply-will-become-increasingly-un...
Change is opportunity in disguise. The model of civilization that has been used around the world for the past few centuries is simply not sustainable or morally tenable. A regenerative model may be the only way forward. This model allows us to recover some of the things that worked from the old way, but not become beholden to them. It introduces technology, vision, spirituality, connectedness, diversity and creativity as equal partners in re-defining civilization. The current crises all provide us with an opportunity to dismantle racism, income inequality, food insecurity, environmental violence and exploitation all at the same time and replace it with something else. http://wiki.commonstransition.org/wiki/Toward_Regenerative_Society:_Plan_for_Rapid_Transition
So, the bottom line question is --- will we see the end of the world on September 23rd? I would submit, we've already seen the end of the world as we know it. We are now in that delicate transition period seeking to figure out who we will be going forward as we emerge from the womb.
As a Futurist, I have to challenge conventional wisdom when it doesn't translate well in a new environment. The world is in the middle of a gigantic shift, but there are those who want to hold onto ideas that are not only regressive, but have been at the center of a host of socioeconomic crises that have plagued societies for eons. No matter what your political ideology, the evidence is mounting that current systems at work on our planet are unwilling or unable to translate in a world that is simply begging for a different application of the efficiencies of the new technology, a world that requires us to leave racism and caste systems behind in order to create more abundance and sharing, a world that screams for a new kind of belief system other than the destructive "every man for himself" ideology and a world that needs us to become more visionary in how humans will live in a climate changed environment. Our collective failure of imagination is creating the current cognitive dissonance showing up in governments around the world. This article from Fast Company explains this challenge in more detail. https://www.fastcompany.com/40439316/are-you-ready-to-consider-that-capitalism-is-the-real-problem
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org