Articles of interest
21st January 2021
Book in Focus
A Transformation Journey to Creative and Alternative Planetary Futures
By Victor V. Motti
From the 8th to the 12th of December 2020, the UNESCO High-Level Futures Literacy Summit provided testimonials from around the world that being ‘futures literate’ changes what people see and do. From high-ranking leaders in the public and private sector to activists, artists, students and professors, the Summit showed how people can become futures literate and the impact this can have on all aspects of life. At this very important summit, the book A Transformation Journey to Creative and Alternative Planetary Futures was featured. You can watch the video of the presentation here, while the Kindle Edition was released on November 29, 2020. In addition, the Journal of Futures Studies published a review of the book in its December 2020 issue.
In the book, I employ what I term the ‘Integral Futures Framework’, which is based on the science of complex systems. As a starting point, its key contribution is to highlight an emerging binary opposite: the planetary versus the global. Its mission is to convince people all around the world to abandon outdated, sometimes harmful sources of identity, and embrace planetary identity as an alternative. This requires a fundamental change in the mindset of individuals. It could pave the way for a vision of a beautiful, peaceful, and wise consciousness on the planet to emerge, preparing us for the next level of complexity, through meritocracy, in the course of cosmic evolution. Unfortunately, the driving force behind the global agenda and, in particular, globalization, is aiming at a much lower goal, and is confined within the boundaries of the standard economic growth imperative and largely profit driven.
The book uses the terms ‘integral’, ‘integrated’, and ‘integrative’ interchangeably. It offers a deep and broad approach to the future that includes and integrates everything about it, and adds up each and every domain of reality, layer of analysis and world of deconstruction and reconstruction into a whole. The book also introduces two very well-known integral futures methodologies and frameworks: that of Richard Slaughter and Ken Wilber and the Causal Layered Analysis of Sohail Inayatullah. All such integral frameworks will provide the necessary and sufficient pathways toward the emergence of a good future.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are an admirable and necessary step towards increasing our collective awareness about planetary conditions. The setting of goals and targets and the monitoring of indicators are all very much necessary. Mostly informed by a positivist, objective analysis of the external world, similar initiatives such as the State of the Future Index (SOFI) of the Millennium Project, often downplay the importance of measuring and monitoring the inner world transformations, shifting of worldviews, and evolution of modern mythologies. Political spaces can benefit a great deal if we cast doubt on the agenda of profit- and power-driven globalization and put in its place the idea of ‘planetization’, a planetary identity, and the associated goals and targets which are necessary to make a radical change in the inner world of individuals, meaning that no one will be forgotten or left behind.
The SDGs will be achieved by humans who cannot follow heartless algorithms or cold and dry instructions. The framework outlined in this book wisely integrates analytical thinking with motivational feelings. It serves to transform the inner world of individuals, as well as the world out there, by helping them to question and update their mythologies, theologies, and the underlying worldviews and values.
There is still a widely believed myth in our collective consciousness which says that humans are the pinnacle of the creation. However, the coronavirus of 2020 proved otherwise. This was a humble awakening for humanity as a whole which, in the meantime, galvanized the digital transformation in addition to the restructuring of health and welfare systems. In the Alternative Planetary Future that the book envisions, we will have specific goals and targets that can be measured much like the SDGs, but which have a balancing effect in the inner world as opposed to the external world. We need to adopt a worldview highly compatible with the scientific worldview, such as pantheism, and then go through seven stages for planetary transformation, namely: 1) recognition of our minimal knowledge when compared with all the transdisciplinary knowledge out there to be learned; 2) having increasingly more people with hybrid, zero-center identities; 3) having no reliance on fossil fuels; 4) refraining from weapons and wars, and refusing to glorify so-called justifiable violence; 5) investing in reliable communication with all forms of life; 6) removing hard and indecent labor for humans through the use of sophisticated AI and robotic technologies; and 7) not using lower level symbolic systems that make the world appear more complicated than it really is. This is about enriching our mentality by progressively learning and using more complex symbols that will transform the key messages or narratives of our world into much simpler terms ready for communication and propagation.
Victor V. Motti is Director of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF), the foremost independent body for futures studies scholarship. Based in the Middle East, he is conversant in English, Arabic, Persian, and Italian and is an international writer, speaker, and foresight consultant. His article “Sources of Futures Studies from Foresight to Anticipation” appears in the Handbook of Anticipation (2017). In 2016 and 2017, he joined a select international panel of futurists from developed and developing countries in North Africa to explore key transitions at global and regional levels for the 2030 and 2050 horizons. In 2016, he lectured in Europe on futures studies in the Middle East and North Africa, based on a paper he had written for the World Future Review.
Mr Motti will guest edit two collections of essays to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing:
- Building New Civilizations: From Theory to Practice. Abstract: Civilization is defined as a community which removes borders by referring to shared core values and memory of historical events. It has significant economic and political power too. Adopting an evolving model of history with increasing levels of complexity, we need new studies on innovation, obstacles, and measures of progress for building new civilizations.
- Multidisciplinary Studies: Towards New Education and Research. Abstract: In response to the accelerating growth of knowledge there are increasingly calls for multidisciplinary mode of education and research not only for the purpose of innovation but also for the expansion of the mind. This trend combined with new learning platforms promises a shift in the education systems. We need new theories and practices to make multidisciplinary studies more attractive and more effective.
A Transformation Journey to Creative and Alternative Planetary Futures is available now in Hardback from the Cambridge Scholars website. Enter the code PROMO25 at the checkout for a 25% discount. Also available as an Ebook through Google Play, and via Amazon Kindle.