Current trends indicate there are grand global futures challenges that will create major problems for the futures of humanity if not reversed. These complex, interconnected and apparently intractible challenges are synthesized into twelve clusters across three domains: environmental, geo-political, and socio-cultural (See Figure 1). More importantly, in each of the three domains numerous counter-trends, twists, and surprises have the potential to mitigate, disrupt, or even reverse the dominant trends (See Figure 2). By exploring alternative futures the chapter will inspire people to imagine, design, and create worlds beyond the disturbing trends being forecast, as we enter humanity’s great creativity reset.
For millennia, humans have struggled to predict, control, and understand the future. Our forebears sought advice from oracles; read the stars through astrology; debated concepts of time and future philosophically; wrote utopias and dystopias; and, in the modern scientific era, tried to predict the future by accumulating and interpreting patterns from the past to extrapolate models of the future.
What we now know is that the single, predictable future that trend modellers propose does not actually exist. Instead, what is out there is a multitude of quantum possible futures. At the heart of this changed perception is the evolution of consciousness. This realisation gives us the power to imagine, design, and create the futures we choose, notwithstanding that some individuals and societies are more constrained than others by social, political, and economic structures. Historically, social and cultural systems were built around our belief that life generally happens as expected. However, in the 21st century we are witnessing the unravelling of many of our socio-cultural, geo-political, and ecological systems. Today’s world is complex and uncertain. Tomorrow is expected to be even more so.
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