Human Futures No. 2 May 2018 - Page 28

To See With Fresh Eyes: Integral Futures and the Global Emergency Brisbane, Foresight International, 2012 Looking back to look forward To See with Fresh Eyes (TSWFE) was and remains the record of a journey. A journey in space from a working-class home in Portsmouth, UK, to Bermuda, back to the UK and then finally to Australia. It’s also been a life journey of experience and developing insight. I’ve never traveled alone. I’ve always been clear that this journey could not have taken place without the inspiration and support of many other people. I pay tribute to some of them in the introduction to this book. Looking back what stands out to me is the compressed power of the three main subjects of the title: fresh eyes, Integral futures, and global emergency. Taking them in reverse, humanity has certainly fallen deeper than ever into what I’ve often referred to as a ‘trap of its own making.’ This is not a popular view, so it is almost universally denied or avoided. But the evidence keeps getting clearer, stronger, all the time. Back in 2010, I’d initially presented the evidence as I saw it in The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History. 1 I returned to the subject later in a 2015 article for Futures that drew on a wide range of reliable sources. 2 So the generic ‘failed future’ remains a dark backdrop to my work. But the effect that it has is not to make me feel depressed but, rather, to provide enduring motivation and purpose. Similarly, with Integral futures, the early days of exploration and excitement steadily gave way to the sober application and wiser, more informed use. The rise of Integral thinking and methods is by no means universal, but over the last decade, it has been widely validated and applied. 3 Thanks to those who understand it and apply it with due care, it now appears in the mental maps and work of many futurists and others around the world. Finally, the notion of seeing with ‘fresh eyes’ is a notion that’s not particularly easy to pin down or define but neither does it become dated or less valuable. It sometimes emerges when you least expect it. The key thing, perhaps, is to be ever on the lookout for new sources of inspiration and insight. They are indeed plentiful once you know where, and how to look. 4 RICHARD A. SLAUGHTER 28 M AY 2 0 1 8 Several years ago I was invited to speak at Womad - a popular bi-annual music festival held in the Adelaide parklands. I was on a small panel with two others and Robyn Williams as chair. The topic of our session was ‘reinventing society.’ It was during this session that Williams asked me if there’d been any new developments in futures methods over the last 20 years. Which was an ideal opportunity to say that, yes, while good foundational work had been carried out 20 or more years ago much of it had been concerned with tracking and understanding external change. Now, with the help of Integral and related perspectives, we were at least as interested in the pervasive influence of the human and cultural interiors. HUMAN FUTURES 29