Posts Tagged 'futurists'

Multitextured Future: Introduction to Causal Layered Analysis (CLA)

In my MSF program, we review all sorts of different theories of society & societal. These theories have direct implication on our theories and visions of the future. There are many different approaches in the futurist discipline; there are basic/gestalt theories, systems thinking theories, and more semiotic approaches. My favorite approach by far combines the strength of each of the aforementioned theories into a meta-theory/framework model called Causal Layered Analysis, or CLA. Developed by Sohail Inayatullah, CLA looks at the future from four interdependent layers. Quoth Wikipedia:

Causal layered analysis consists of four levels: the litany, social causes, discourse/world-view and myth/metaphor.

  1. The first level is the litany – the official unquestioned view of reality.
  2. The second level is the social causation level, the systemic perspective. The data of the litany is explained and questioned at this level.
  3. The third level is the worldview/discourse. Deeper, unconsciously held ideological, worldview and discursive assumptions are unpacked at this level. The way in which different stakeholders construct the litany and system are also explored.
  4. The fourth level is the myth-metaphor, the unconscious emotive dimensions of the issue. The challenge is to conduct research that moves up and down these layers of analysis and thus is inclusive of different ways of knowing. Doing so allows for the creation of authentic alternative futures and integrated transformation. CLA begins and ends by questioning the future.

Fun stuff, eh? Most American futures studies programs focus exclusively on the Litany and – at most – systemic levels. The schools of foresight developed out of Hawaii, Australia, Europe and Japan focus more on epistemes and intuitive inner/spiritual futures – almost like a wisdom school. (In fact, that’s exactly what Prout College is – and I mean that as a high compliment.) The Regent MSF program – and KedgeForward Consulting – combine the best of Southern Hemisphere-meets-west, empirical and intuitive, into what we hope is an AQAL approach to truly integral futures. Taking all quadrants of human and nonhuman experience into account – inner and external worlds, personal and social. Kedge On!

Ahem. Back to CLA. You can get lost for hours on Dr. Inayatullah’s insightful website Metafuture. In fact, I highly recommend doing so.

How Does Social Change Occur?

Recently for my LMSF 602 Survey of Futures Studies course I was asked to reflect on my own ‘theory of social change’–that is, how does change occur? Some base their guiding narratives on power, others on progress, still others on ideas. As a friend and follower of Jesus, as well as a futurist-in-training, I offer some rough thoughts:

 


Being thoroughly postmodern and suspicious of neat meta-narratives, I don’t have much confidence in the Story of Progress as was propounded through the Enlightenment era. On the other hand, looking at the broad sweep of history, I cannot come to the nihilistic conclusions that some of my secular and religious friends have come to, that the universe is essentially meaningless or that we’ve all going to hell in a handbasket. There has been real change over the past several thousand years, and it is generally (sometimes very generally) positive. But there is no invisible hand guiding us to some inexorable destiny. I suppose I believe in a realized eschatological world, where emergent nested creativity (which I see as a Triune God with real personality and kosmic-and-personal dreams) abounds, ready for humanity and creation to tap into. I am a realist. History has, in many cases, been guided by self-interest of a powerful few, hell-bent on maintaining and expanding their privilege. But in the midst of this, we’ve maintained humble, celebratory wisdom traditions that give dignity to individuals and communities—thus the spirit of innovation and adaptability continues.

I think social change happens when individuals and communities generate and tap into powerful new ideas rooted in the old. Taking from our store-houses treasures old and new, we can become truly conservative and progressive, preserving the best of the past while reimagining life together into the future. This will happen through humility, foresight, and imagination. It is a good time to be alive.

Intelligent Paper

So the other night I had a dream that there was a new commodity on the market called Intelligent Paper, an invention that did for books what Director’s Cut DVDs do for film. It was for all intents and purposes regular paper, except when you tapped a sentence–any sentence–twice with your finger, all kinds of little multicolored errata would pop up, like those old VH1 Pop-Up Videos, or the Comments feature in Microsoft Word. What would these “extras” say? Definitions of words, author’s commentary, you name it.

Upon waking, I was at first stunned at what a revolutionary invention Intelligent Paper would be. But then I realized that the new crop of electronic paper eBooks, and indeed the Web page probably trump Intelligent Paper in terms of functionality–it’s as fruitless as a visionary dream of 8 Tracks 2.0

In my dream I was passing a newsstand at an airport, and there were several paperbacks and comic books, available in two editions–regular, and Intelligent Paper! Was that a nerdy dream or what?


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Abolish Slavery – Join the Movement Today!

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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
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    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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