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The Messenger - Immersion #11: Collective Futuring

The Messenger
The Messenger - Immersion #11: Collective Futuring
By Socratus • Issue #55 • View online

The famous science fiction writer William Gibson once said: “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Gibson is a fantastic writer (read Neuromancer in case you haven’t done so already) but Gibson’s snobbish view of the future is troublesome.
It’s as if some people are already living in the future while the rest of us are stuck in the past. Makes Silicon Valley techies feel very proud of themselves. We want to liberate the future from the futurists - the future belongs to everyone!
Socratus’ tagline is ‘the midwife of collective wisdom.’ Our imaginations of the future are one aspect of our wisdom, and if all of us have wisdom hidden within us, then all of us have the future hidden within us too. And a collectively evoked future will stay on as a muscle memory whenever we want to act the future out in the world.
The future is a classic example of a wicked problem, in that every single one of us has a tacit imagination of the future. There are some things we would like to see and other things we would like not to see. We struggle mightily to make the former happen and prevent the latter from happening, and rain blows on others whose imaginations differ from ours, for the future is never an empty field.
Like drawing water from the village well, some people and communities can just go up to the future and drop a bucket into it while others are prevented - to the extent of murder - from having a drink. What we are truly blind to is the presence of alternate futures that are as valuable, if not more so, than the ones that come out of our present conditioning.
Science fiction is one source of futures, but why can’t we tap into the dreams of the collective? Why can’t we offer tools that everyone can use to imagine a better future? We have this romance that our dreams are interconnected and that the futures of the prince and the pauper can be aligned. Those with power can empathise with the futurings of the powerless and those without power can access the futuring tools of the powerful.
Over the next few months, Socratus will be testing out its collective futuring tools. Glimpses of our successes and failures will show up in this newsletter :)
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Illustrating Wicked Problems

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