2 Comments

  1. Shekhar

    Hi Stephen,
    I liked reading your article. Thank you. Well-researched and well-presented.
    Am a fan of scenario approach and also deeply concerned about sustainability.
    Regards,
    Shekhar

  2. First, thank you for wrestling in this space. It needs far more attention and care than it is routinely receiving.

    Second, you demonstrate that there is still no agreed upon core concepts in our field. This is not an attack; rather an observation. However, this state of affairs makes cumulative progress across w wide community almost impossible. We need some careful work done by persons with a refined sense of the subtleties of conceptual clarity.

    Third, ‘anticipation’ does not ever mean or even imply prediction in any sense linked to a hard date. As a concept we always anticipate in the present about a future event or state of affairs, e.g. having children, having the damn thesis finished and accepted, Christmas morning. Only the latter has a date attached. But no child is focused on the calendar date, other than accidentally, i.e. by our calendar “Christmas” comes on December 25 (unless, of course, we are Orthodox Christians).

    Fourth, as Angela and you suggest we need to move from “seeking to “learn about the future” to “learning with multiple futures” using a non-predictive approach.” I would add that once this step is “firmly” digested into our heads, hearts and guts, we need to move on to learning, even in the midst of the dynamic complexity and ambiguity of our past, present and future, to imagining the most deeply desirable future we can now imagine, and committing to living now, and in all future present states, in ways that will embody that future in our lives, communities and forms of civilization. (Of course, all of this is a dynamic process, at least as long as we are stuck in this universe.) In adding this third step, I take nothing from the need or challenge of taking the second step you and Angels have identified. I only want to declare that IMO there is yet another step that is not yet securely on our radar as serious persons/communities who have come to terms with the reality that, for good and ill, we as persons at every scale of our being from individuals to a species, shape our future and, within limits, that of many of the species with whom we share the planet.

    Finally, you speak of “The complex challenge of taking responsible action in the face of uncertainty.” Yes, and… On order to make sense of this phrase one requires a set of epistemic and ontological assumptions. When heard within the default “realist and reductionist” views of our modern/Industrial mind-sets, this challenge is heard as it is almost always heard today, as a challenge to “reduce uncertainty” by increasing certainty. This response, then, runs counter to the whole point of your reflections. Only if one has developed the capacity to hear your statement as a logical follow up to a constructivist view, can the challenge be responded to with moves that increase one’s capacities — personal, organizational, communal, societal and civilizational — to co-create, lovingly and courageously, in the midst and face of uncertainty. This is the greatest human challenge; a challenge which our filed has yet to embrace.

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