Future of ‘I’Posted by: DJ Post date: March 19th, 2012
Future of 'I' (self – you – identity)
The Association of Professional Futurists runs a monthly 'future chat' on Twitter. See #futrchat for more information. These chats are open to everyone on Twitter and consist of a one hour mass sharing of thoughts and ideas for a future worth understanding and striving for.
This month of 2012 the chat is held:
3/22 at 4pm NYC
3/22 at 8pm London
3/23 at 7am in Sydney (Oz).
As a co-host and the one who suggested the topic for this event I have prepared a few thought pointers.
Your future 'I' depends on you… and the rest of us; how you carve your way in amongst the rest of us carving our way, what you choose or don't from the menu of tools and directions for change – to make your future better for you and maybe, if we like what you're doing, to take the rest of us with you.
Many of the about 2700 tweets that have flowed 'out of my mind' to this shared mindspace have had something to do with the varying aspects of 'I', you, self or identity.
Some themes have been: who we really are (as species), where do we think we should go, what tools do we have to do that with, what is stopping us, what is making us satisfied with the journey, what is changing around us to make the journey easier or not, and then more challenging and perhaps a little 'black hole like' – what will these changes bring about?
To put some structure around some of those dimensions I have created a little framework for the Future of 'I'.
Our identity is
ONE part who we are now or how we're perceived now,
ONE part who we say we are and how many of 'Is' we project and
ONE part who we're becoming; is it a better version of who we were or a new us in some distinct way.
Life takes turns in these terms. If we find ourselves in a disruptive place (good or bad) in our lives, we shift to a new box, even if only momentarily, only to potentially be right back to where we started from.
Today we are in a strange place. The coalescence of factors that have opened our eyes to our capacity to change and provide us with important tools to change is phenomenal. What is in your toolbox for betterment?
Globally we are now faced with such a huge variety of possibilities of 'who to be', 'how to be', 'why to be' that we do not have be philosophers to possess an idea of the push and pull between what these two authors have said and the meaning of what they say to our potential and limitations:
“More and more, when faced with the world of men, the only reaction is one of individualism. Man alone is an end unto himself. Everything one tries to do for the common good ends in failure.” Albert Camus
“No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.” John Donne
The first tool of difference we face now is the fact that we have understood the potential for change – it is not easy but it is on offer – we can alter our bodies, our minds and our relating.
Like a pendulum we tend to swing with the novel until we find our equilibrium again. Some of us inherit and learn ways of being that are less than useful. Today as a society of sharers and blurters we have put a whole new spin on 'narcissism', not the disorder kind but the 'look at me' kind. When our identity takes many positions online life can turn into a surreal whirl. Then the question is: 'who am I for real?' or "Is my spin helping or hindering?" If we spin out of control with our wishes to be who we're not then we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory with not enough under our belt, for some this 'throwing oneself into the fire' works.
We all travel through many of these boxes and at times we put ourselves into positions of uncertainty or overshooting, even if just a little, and we have to. We cannot emerge at the other side of change without going through it first. Every little step towards the future 'I' is already in the unknown and we need to step into that new before we are fully competent.
Idea of identity
Will identity be what identity was? As a concept identity remains the way in which we make distinctions between people(s). Bar a world where distinctions were pushed to extinction, identity remains. What is different today? It is the speed at which we play with the possibilities. It can be as simple as changing some wording in our profiles or as big a taking on another life online (or offline).
Frameworks do not lend themselves well to the rather past-paced #futrchat, so I have created a list of questions some of which I will introduce during our conversation.
Feel free to introduce anything that you consider pertinent to the topic of the Future of 'I' and we'll see what takes off, what captures people's imagination and brings their experiences and thinking to the shared mindspace.
These questions do not frame the whole matter of the Future of 'I' but rather give us some discussion points of where 'I' (you, self, identity) may be in the Future.
The links are illustrations of what some have said about the thoughts/questions I put forward; you may agree, disagree, expand on what is in those links, just share your views on the questions or just go for the next question that comes along during our chat.
- "As our lives are more transparent to all – will that make us better?"
- "Will we be more (or less) defined by our connections in the future, as we interact on social networks and get enmeshed in the lives of others'."
- "The more we understand about our own neurology, the more we adjust our behaviors OR…"
- "The longer we live the more 'lives we live' and keep re-inventing our lives – does that fragment our identity?"
- "Wisdom about who we are tends to come/change with experience (age – life lived). Does an aging population make the world wiser?"
- "Will our future personal brands be more about who we are than what we do?"
- "Flippantly we say: People do not change. What does what does not ? Why/why not?"
- "If our childhood is very difficult – is our identity forever shattered? What can be done to make a difference?"
- "Tools like for example NLP (neuro linguistic programming video) provide us with some means to deal with (alter) our selves and our interactions. What is the impact on the Future of I?"
- "Eyes are the window to our soul" What is that soul? Is it reflective, do we change our souls by changing our eyes – the way we look at things and people?
- "Your body language and facial expressions are read – city cameras are studying you – is acting going to be a key skill for us all?
- "When in love we can conquer the world - we are invincible – how can we use that knowledge better?"
- "Our mind is our connected minds (e.g., Mindsight) – our sensory apparatus is part of the overall 'mind' – what does 'I' mean?
See you there!
A foresight framework and algorithm: Future is…Posted by: DJ Post date: January 5th, 2012
How to think about the future?
A foresight expert uses many tools to help understand what the future holds.
Predicting the exact future is not the point for a foresighteer, except that people want to hear predictions – trend this and that – those are easy to deliver and easy to consume but often very limited in foresight value for various reasons… but that's for another day.
'Predictions' will not be exact unless one 'predicts' (enumerates) the aspects of the future that are 'inevitable' and then – well – what was all the foresight work for?
The reality is that we could not even 'predict' (postdict/revisit) our past (ok some factoids and so on we can revisit). New evidence (new 'facts') comes to light, changing our understanding of the past. Things that were not recorded at the time are not within our reach.
What is useful is to understand the future better, to guide our agency and to provide freedom from perceived hurdles that, in fact, often are not.
This 'Future is…' is a quick framework. The idea is that your foresight thinking algorithm cover these five dimensions:
- What should be
- What will be
- What was
- What can be
- What could be
This algorithm is not scientifically proven (the scientific proof tends to come later in the future – after the experiences and application – sorry could not resist) nor academically referenced (the past/parallel thinking has not caught up with me yet – would not know whom to refer to 'exactly').
This is just meant to be a thinking tool – straight out of my head to yours.
Future is… x% should
When things are not as they should be – something is wrong.
- Relationships are not functional let alone fulfilling
- Profitability has gone south and the market love is gone
- Procrastination (or other similar) has taken its toll on achievements
Future is a 'should' in order to…
- Improve life from what it is now
- Take the world to a better place
- Have a perspective and work it forward
The 'shoulds' tend to annoy the establishment, partly because they sound like righting the wrongs. The push back is why we hold onto industries that are dying and political ideologies whose due date was many years ago. The knowledge was there but nothing happened… Why? Because we humans got in the way.
So we, yet again, locked ourselves out of future success. One way to approach the mindset is to ask questions about the personal goals of those involved: "What will those history books say about you? …That you got on the front page of Time or that you frivolously brought a company to its knees." There are plenty of examples along these lines.
Future is… x% will
All things considered some things are inevitable in a short time frame – like what you can change in a manufactured product once the production line has started. Some eventualities are inevitable in the very long run – like for example depletion of resources if used faster than replenished.
However, a firm 'we will' can take you a long way.
The future will ___________ (insert your view) if…
- You and your forces are determined and organized
- You know what the determination is all about – what is it that you are trying to achieve
- Others sign-in to these views and are geared to make things happen – becoming agents for that future – with its positive and negative consequences (BTW canvass both)
Future is a 'will' in order to…
- Drive an entity's future somewhere meaningful: we will take man to the moon, we will cure cancer
- Communicate that 'goal' to those willing to listen: this is about rallying mood of the nation, organization or group
- Harness the ecosystem to make that future happen: anything bigger than what you can go ahead and do yourself needs this
The stronger your 'will' (pardon pun) the more you have a chance of pulling it off. But seriously it has nothing much to do with your own will except in entrepreneurial circumstances where your will or persistence will at times be all you have to 'will' with, until you get that exciting $1million.
The larger the group willing together the better the chances that the meaningful goal is going to take a good slice of the future %. The more and meaningfully your agenda gives to others, the easier it will be. But, you still need to do lots of leg-work to make it happen. Your competitors will not know what hit them, right, when the force is so powerful and in particular when it is multipronged.
Future is… x% 'was'
Future is not disassociated from the past. Without sufficient recognition for the influence of the past a decision will go only so far. An organization often gives this 'what was' a bit too much credence (the % is too high) – often without realizing – due to a narrative that does not ring true. This is a bit like stating organizational values that the employees do not recognize.
Future is guided by 'what was'
- Planet Earth is a mighty force but limited
- Humanity has evolved over millions of years and our modern life is a minuscule drop in that ocean
- Cultures, ideologies and deeply held beliefs provide a human being the backbone for their lives – describes who they are – beyond the 'given by nature'
- Education systems (schools, home and the village) twenty years ago give us workers today – we will not quickly close that gap
- Technology introductions have created a legacy of how the world works
- Organizations have a culture, an approach to things, strongly held beliefs and a determination of an ox to drive that strategy forward – into a future that perhaps no longer exists.
Future is a 'what was' to…
- Build stability to human life – a massively fluctuating set of agendas where all individual wants and impositions are to be accepted by others would create a world of stagnation and fear (more than we already have)
- Create a sense of achievement and build on what was – at times it does feel like progress is just empty words in terms of improving our everyday lives but that is a too easy a blow. We need to recognize that to organize a world of seven billion people is very different to the pre-industrial era
- Give our imagination a double check on what might work in the future and why it might work – not exactly the same but a novel twist on what was
- Act as a reminder of the foolishness humanity has engaged in and the consequences of that foolishness – good to remember that as our lives on Earth are puny little specs of dust, it is the 'history' books (for as along as they exist) that will reflect the better educated judgment on what was done (as those facts emerge from the files that were kept secret). You do know that your tweets will go the US Library of Congress, don't you? So behave.
'What was' provides some situations a major % of the future. A war ravaged country can expect to take years to recover a sense of normalcy. The longer it takes to stop the war the longer it takes to recover from it as generations grow expecting the revenge and danger.
Future is… x% 'can be'
Future is part sweat (putting some effort into something) and part potential. Future is limited by our abilities, capabilities and our 'command' in the world.
Future is guided by 'can be'
- Realizing that the bigger the influence footprint the greater the 'can be' impact on the future. Dreaming big is not outside of anyone's reach.
- Embracing the 'can be' attitude and persistence of the people who have the gusto to work hard and often risk a lot in their lives to make a difference.
- Giving up on some of the 'what was' love to things that no longer have validity – the world changes around us. Holding onto that past can just waste a lot of brain power and potential.
- Understanding that things can be different, can be done differently…
- Recognizing the potential in our capability to make things happen – in contexts large and small – and having the wisdom to be patient.
Future is a 'can be' to…
- Have hope that things can be different. That we are not bound by the frustrations in our lives.
- Welcome models that work from elsewhere, adapting them to suit. Sometimes a model cannot be applied directly due to major contextual differences. However, it is the recognition that things can be done differently that matters then even more.
- Keep going. When the going gets tough the tough remember 'can be'.
Future is… x% 'could be'
Future is part magic (creativity, ideas, innovation, left field surprises).
Future is guided by 'could be'
Future is shaped by dreamers and agency. Without 'could be' future would look like more of the same – not much wonder and ingenuity. If you accepted all advice you have been given, would you ever have achieved the difference you've made in the world. Of course not. It is one of those by definition issues.
Future is a 'could be' to…
- Go beyond the obvious next steps
- Ignore advice (I say this with tongue in cheek in all earnestness…)
- Let the current entrenched executives talk to your hand (so to speak).
- Acknowledge that it 'could be' different. Those worn-out ideologies have created a lot of homeless people looking for new friends and family.
- Play a little with all the toys – not just the ones handed to you directly.
Future is a dynamic algorithm of all this.
Now you just need to know how much to put into each bucket to solve the future conundrum that you face right now. What matters and how much? How big is the risk if the percentages are skewed the wrong way?
A Hunome wish – heart warming Christmas & a New Year of delight and beautyPosted by: DJ Post date: December 22nd, 2011
Very Zen – a walk in the Sydney bushPosted by: DJ Post date: July 18th, 2011
Sydney Bush – 27km Training 17 July 2011 – photo by Roddy Kerr
The trail we trained on yesterday is a particularly beautiful one. The walk was very zen. A little detail: to earn this view we needed to go up and down many hills and rocks.
TEDxTalk – Humanity is hiding in plain sightPosted by: DJ Post date: June 20th, 2011
In May I gave a talk titled 'Humanity is hiding in plain sight' at TEDxTraverseCity.
The talk expresses some fundamental aspects of Hunome.
The essence is that we (humanity) have now a possibility to build an understanding of 'how humanity works' differently to what has been the norm, e.g., supposed 'answers'.
This domain of understanding is particularly slippery as individual, cultural and other such hard-to-pin-down aspects of who we are are, are based on our perspectives.
Currently this knowledge is scattered and hidden from us, hence, humanity is hiding in plain sight. *We welcome expressions of interest to join the Hunome community