Exploring Alternative Futures
I am keen to explore different modalities of expression to help us break out of the linear and anaytic trap of academic language. In the spirit of working in this way and along the lines of my paper delivered in Perth last November I have put together an extend piece that draws on poetry to peer beneanth the civilised surface of intellectual work.
In this piece I am exploring what my friend Ananta Giri has been calling spiritual pragmatics. This is an important concept and grows directly out of my own understanding of the nature of futures and foresight work: namely that futurists work between systems and people and this placement is essentially prgmatic in nature. The spiritual as an untapped domain of human potentiality is a powerful tool for enabling resilience and adaptive capacity within contexts. When it is framed in contexts of grounded social action spirituality brings life to human action and sustains hope and purpose when it is so easy to succumb to dark images of the future. Here is the paper in its current form: Spiritual Pragmatics
This has been a busy year and looks to remain interesting all the way through. In February I was in Bangalore in India with my friends at Fireflies Ecospirituality ashram and then on to Philippines and Singapore. To celebrate here is a little piece on the Poetics of Possibility
Well I am back from Singapore where I did a fair bit of thinking about security - national and otherwise. As usual such thinking is worth while because it seems that security is the rage at present and always garners attention and dollars. Here are two thought pieces I wrote while working on this - they are as much for me as those I shared them with. The Sense Making was particularly important as a bridge for ASEAN naval officers at a workshop I spoke at - it excited a few.
Just received access to this innovative little futures news letter - do check it out
The coming months will be exciting as I am traveling with my wife Alison and son Dante to India and then spending three months as Visiting Fellow in the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. This is a graduate school within Nanyang Technological University. While there I will teach a course for masters students entitled Theoretical and Practical Approaches to the Future. We return to Australia in early June.
Before this time in Singapore we will travel around India often in the company of my dear friend Dr Ananta Kumar Giri. We meet up with him in his home town of Chennai and while there will visit Didi Purnima who is a nun running the Ananda Marga Nursery and Primary School in Chennai. We will then travel to Bangalore to attend the World Spiritual Transformation Forum where we will explore Spiritual Pragmatics. This will be immediately followed by the annual FEBRUARY DIALOGUES held at the Fireflies ashram.
While at this gathering we will be joined by Dr Dada Shambhushivananda who runs the Ananda Marga Gurukula movement. He has responsibility for over a thousand schools world wide and is currently establishing a universoty college for Ananda Marga in Purulia, India. He will join us at Fireflies and then meet us again in Bhubaneswar, Orissa where we will take part in a conference on Futures Education at Utkal University. This will be an exciting meeting with much discussion focussed on the nature and shape of the Ananda Marga University College (see: http://gurukul.edu/).
From here we will travel with another friend, Professor Asha Mukherjee to her home in Shantiniketan, West Benagal. This will be special as this was where Ranbindranath Tagore established his university Visva-Bharati_University. The focus of this institution is on building resilient culture and reinforcing the value of the inner world in its graduates.
Lots to do in the coming months!
Other news is that I have a new chapter appearing in the book edited by David Cole called Surviving Economic Crises through Education.
Also, there is the article I lead with colleagues involved in the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Initiative - this is a solid coverage of how we approached the question of adaptive capacity within a project using historical case studies as the basis for historical scenarios. You can find it at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2011.12.002