Reflecting on peace and foresight
“In eras when pessimism combines with a sense of cosmic helplessness, the quality of human intentionality declines and, with it, the quality of imagery of the not-yet. Societies in that condition live bounded by the present, with no social dynamic for change available to them. What gives me confidence that the imaging process is basically a sound one, is that, despite cultural differences, the same basic image themes appear in the imagined utopias of the ancient past as appear in the imagery of our late-20th century imagers - a clean, green world of abundance, joyfully shared by men and women. This kind of imaging is a special human gift, that no follies have been able to extinguish. And as long as we can imagine a better world with minds adequately equipped for the complexities of the 21st century, we will be able to work for it.”
“scenarios can be creative because the process is "only" about telling stories, not about making commitments. This allows people to discuss almost anything, even taboo subjects.”
“A story about the future has to be able to encompass all aspects of the world: social, political, economic, cultural, ecological, etc. Moreover, the process of telling several stories encourages people to surface and listen to multiple perspectives. In discussing a fundamentally unpredictable future, there is no one truth; this accords respect for the points of view of all of the participants (in a conflict, one or more parties is usually not being heard) and it allows everyone to see more of the world.”
"Futures studies seek to help individuals and organizations better understand the processes of change so that wiser preferred futures can be created.”
"[H]ad various former Yugoslav ethnic, religious and ideological communities as well as politicians, journalists and other professionals gone through a process of envisioning different scenarios and its many intended and unintended consequences, would they still had made the same decisions they did back in the 1980s and 1990s?"
"Both futures studies and the study of peace may be envisaged as on continua in which there is at one end a preoccupation with predicting and managing conflict or with strategic planning, managing, controlling and/or adapting to the future. With a shift along the continua, there is movement towards transformative thinking. There is a much greater emphasis on active participation, cross-cultural communication and dialogue. This is where much of the creative energy is. It's where there are most opportunities to build new or constructive relationships between the two fields"