What I learned after spending two days with futurists and positive psychologists

Unfortunately the future isn’t driven by futurologists and positive psychologists. I would hazard a guess that their influence on the direction of events is near zero, because what happens is driven by people who have probably never heard of any of them. I guess age teaches you that every decade has its woo-woo merchants when it comes to creativity, and that while the details change the general outline stays the same. What is needed is a pipeline in which money passes from its possessors to people with interesting ideas, along with a positive but watchful regulator.
I guess that the function of these people is to persuade capitalists to part with money by a bullshit-dazzling process. A lubricant, if you like. But the ultimate decision on what will happen is driven by resource constraints, politics, religion, buy-in by the public, and vested interests.


I for one welcome our grammatically incorrect would-be overlords.


So, after filling a bunch of post-it notes with affirmations of why the people in the conference are better than those who aren’t, the point of the whole exercise was that brainstorming is a thing?

This reminds me of so, so many “development meetings” and “conference workshops” that I’ve been forced to attend, that at the sight of post-it notes I tend to break out in hives and cynicism.

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I attended one of these meetings once, an all day session in a country house in Gloucestershire. At one point we were all asked to close our eyes and spend several minutes imagining where the company would be in a year’s time.
It turned out that the answer was “all the consultants have been sacked”.


I have conquered my stupid self so many times that I wonder if I am not my own universe of stupidity, you?


I remember coming across a delightful little concept called ‘Urgent Evoke’, which was an attempt to exploit our ‘gaming’ mentality in order to do useful things for people.

I don’t think it went too far, but I bet if somebody made it something somebody could do in exchange for food/shelter/housing and all the rest then it wouldn’t be too hard to form groups of extremely effective people who could begin to form the seed for something bigger.

I played Urgent Evoke and it didn’t seem to get much traction. MIT is running contests around climate change issues at their Climate CoLab but it’s a much narrower focus. Appropedia is working on designing all the tools to make “civilization” on a village scale.

Some of the board members of the Buckminster Fuller Institute told me two years ago that they were looking into reviving the World Game.

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Oh, I like the BFI folks. I think we submitted the Co-Opernation concept to them way back, but it really wasn’t ready for prime time yet. (Conceptually it hasn’t changed much, but it’s a super-difficult concept to explain well because of how many bases it covers and how different the meaning is for various types of people). Plus I’m a huge Bucky fan so it’s hard not to appreciate them.

And yeah, I always thought that Urgent Evoke had about 2/3 of the Venn diagram needed to gain critical mass. Same for any of the ‘let’s form a little society away from the world’ groups like The Venus Project or the various planned communities out there… they just have a DIFFERENT 2/3 of it.

I think a more complete approach involves having a subset of your people aggressively engaging with the world as it is now (treating all the laws and regulations as a poorly designed and easily min-maxed RPG) while the majority forms independent, autonomous, and productive small groups (using Dunbar’s Number as a starting point) that are monetized by the ‘engaged’ group so they don’t have to worry about such things. It’s just that sort of approach almost requires the use of the corporation as a core (most powerful legal framework, can provide a person 100% of their needs 24/7) and most of the ‘lets do something new’ sorts are already pretty anti-corporation, so their brains often turn off early in the convo.

Fun chat by the way, thanks!

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