FUTURE ARTICULATION

Principles

Tonight marks a transition from DEEP ALIGNMENT to FUTURE ARTICULATION. We will have a dinner based on the talltalk format. Join between 17:45 and 18:00 CET with something to eat ready. The door closes at 18:00 sharp! https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtduyqpj4oG92k9h6lt47mvvyRTgCmwBWH

Next week we will take the first step in articulating a good future. Pre-register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIldO-hrj4qE9ARy-bpWtbgi1ENsd1R31KD

Thinking about music is different from playing it. In 2001 the leading futurist of Germany - Matthias Horx - predicted that the Internet is not going to be around for long, saying it was a temporary phenomenon. 20 years later Horx is still busy trying to predict the future while others are busy building one.

Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherf****r who plays it is 80 percent. In order to play, you need to know your instrument. In life, you are your instrument. This is why we explored You first.

In order to have an attitude, you must know the rules - so you can break them, properly. Some rules are too tight as Jaron Lanier painfully discovered when creating the MIDI format and thereby imprisoning popular music into a corset of deafening boredom. Music without any rules is noise. There is noise that can be beautiful or heart wrenching - depending on the context - like rain or the sound of fire. Like laughter carries sounds of sadness.

Like a good song, a good future is made up of elements. For music these are scales - as a selection of notes to play sequentially to create melodies, chords - as a selection of notes to play synchronously in order to create a mood and progressions of chords to tell a story.

The musicology of the future consists of similar elements:

(1) Abstract is the new concrete.

The world can be seen as a system of systems. We live in a time in which multiple of the relevant systems for humanity are nearing the release phase of the adaptive cycle used to describe system behaviour over time.

We notice this as our tools for sense-making and problem-solving begin to fail as the underlying structures give way. This induces a sense of falling and we are frantically looking for something to hold on to, something concrete to do.

In order to know what these concrete things are, the most concrete thing we can do is to be more abstract. You cannot see the floor of the sea from the shore - you have to look from above. As we rise beyond the complexity of the moment, we can begin to see patterns and shapes - and through them we begin to see leverage points for concrete action.

(2) The adjacent possible is the shadow of the future.

We cannot combine things that don't exist. But if something exists, we can combine it with something else to create something new that then can be combined with something else ... and so on. This is how we expand what exists and what is possible. This is how we build the infrastructure that makes up the future.

Sometimes the result of such a combinatorial process is a new Lego block - but sometimes it is a stepping stone into an entirely different way to see the world, to solve a large problem or to create one.

Being aware of the possible potential of the adjacent possible is a crucial element in future creation. Nothing materialises out of thin air, everything has a root and a building block in the here-now as well as somewhere in the past. Our job is to combine things in novel, useful and life-serving ways.

(3) The horizon informs the compass.

A low point in Captain Jack Sparrows life is when his compass fails him - the compass that shows him where to find fulfilment for ones deepest wish does not work without a clear deep wish.

What is that wish for the future? What does a future worth building look like? Only when we can begin to answer this question, we get a sense of direction - only then can we begin to move, to build.

But we need to keep in mind that the horizon is evasive - we will never reach it. Even worse, it changes shape as we move towards it.

The coming seven multilogues will explore the horizon of a good future in fifty years from now. Each multilogue will be focusing on one very specific question. Together they span all 360 degrees of the horizon of humanness on our Blue Dot.

We will begin with this one:

How do we regeneratively and sustainably source, refine and distribute the supply required to provide the necessary conditions for every member of the human species to live a dignified life? This includes dealing with limitations, managing buffers and preparing for future generations and situations.

Photo by Cody King from Pexels