Category Archives: Innovacion Social

El papel de la academia frente a la corrupción

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El papel de la academia frente a la corrupción

De la universidad también depende acabar con ese fenómeno y superar la idea de que ‘todo se vale’. En este mundo atravesado por retos complejos, las humanidades no pueden ser excluidas de las aulas ni del debate público.

http://www.eltiempo.com/vida/educacion/el-papel-de-las-universidades-frente-a-la-corrupcion-117180
RODRIGO MUÑOZ GRISALES
Doctor en Filosofía y especialista en filosofía del humanismo, de la Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Profesor de la Universidad Eafit.
06 de agosto 2017 , 10:19 p.m.
Múltiples escándalos y corruptelas en innumerables países evidencian que el mundo se encuentra hoy ante una crisis moral de grandes proporciones y, además, no se insinúan salidas en el horizonte.
En el nivel público, intervenciones electorales soterradas, presidentes y ministros destituidos, macroescándalos en el deporte mundial, cuestionamientos a casi todos los presidentes suramericanos y al estadounidense, para no hablar de países verdaderamente inviables por asaltos personalistas al Estado como Venezuela o Siria.

En el plano privado (que afecta también a lo público), los escándalos de Odebrecht, las exportaciones brasileñas de carne descompuesta, la alteración de los medidores
de gases contaminantes de los vehículos alemanes, los papeles de Panamá, los corruptos tentáculos de la compañía de aguas de la Comunidad de Madrid, entre muchos otros.

¿Qué penas podrían recibir congresistas mencionados en caso Odebrecht?

 Estos escándalos tenían otros nombres en la década anterior: recuérdense WorldCom, Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco y Global Crossing, Parmalat, Vivendi, Chiquita Brands, Xerox y, un poco más recientemente, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns y Merrill Lynch en la tan publicitada crisis estadounidense de las hipotecas ‘subprime’ en 2008, que tantos efectos perversos generó en todo el mundo.


Colombia no se queda atrás en materia de corrupción y exhibe casos como el ya citado Odebrecht, los de Interbolsa, Fondo Premium, Factor Group, Electricaribe, 
Saludcoop, Friogán, Petrotiger, Reficar, Termocandelaria, Bioenergy, Inassa (Triple A y Metroaguas), Elite, Estraval, TYPSA –con los juegos nacionales de Ibagué–. También encontramos los casos de los ‘carruseles’ de contratos de Bogotá, La Guajira, Chocó y Córdoba, y los carteles de precios (cementos, pañales, cuadernos escolares, papel higiénico, azúcar), para mencionar solo los más sonados.

Algo debe andar mal en la cultura para que en gran parte del planeta se presenten tantos comportamientos ilícitos

Algo debe andar mal en la cultura para que en gran parte del planeta se presenten tantos comportamientos ilícitos del mismo corte; algo no debe marchar bien con las ideologías e ideales que mueven a la humanidad.

Alguna vez, en un congreso internacional, escuché decir a un profesor canadiense algo así como que nunca el mundo había tenido tantos profesionales diplomados (sobre todo en especialidades administrativas), pero que nunca antes tampoco había estado tan mal manejado.

¿Será entonces que un cierto sustrato ideológico y moral de nuestra educación actual, en particular la profesional, está, en primer lugar, legitimando una especie de “todo se vale y contra todos”, y, en segundo término, invadiendo profusamente los campos del conocimiento y de la acción humana?

Filosofías que rigen el mundo

Existen dos grandes idearios que hoy comandan el mundo y determinan, en consecuencia, el tipo de investigación que hacemos y la orientación de la educación que impartimos.

Se refieren a grandes cosmovisiones en lo científico y en lo económico a las que se acogen consciente o inconscientemente los educadores y sus instituciones,incluyendo el Ministerio de Educación y otras entidades como Colciencias, donde surgen los grandes lineamentos y orientaciones que los educadores deben adoptar en su labor.

Debemos buscar en la epistemología (o filosofía de la ciencia) y en la filosofía de la educación el primer ideario y ese sustrato del que hablábamos arriba que, quizás por su carácter implícito, no ha sido abiertamente identificado y denunciado.

Los medios masivos regularmente hacen su tarea de comunicar y denunciar los negociados e ilícitos, pero develar lo que se mueve en las correntías subterráneas de la sociedad cuando esos fenómenos se vuelven tan recurrentes no ha sido tradicionalmente su papel.

Muchos filósofos disidentes de la gran euforia por los logros de la ciencia y el progreso han puesto el dedo en la llaga por la forma como el conocimiento, en particular el de las ciencias sociales, se elabora y enseña.

Podría decirse que la constante de sus críticas es que tanto científicos como educadores se han acogido a un modelo de investigación basado en el abstraccionismo científico (o positivismo), una orientación epistemológica que poco se preocupa por la pertinencia del conocimiento de las realidades concretas de cada sociedad, y pretende más bien conformarse con las metodologías matemáticas y de precisión de las ciencias naturales y exactas.

En consecuencia, la producción de conocimiento, lo mismo que su impartición, se ocupa más de cosas como la explicación causal o la relación causa-efecto
 (el cómo se produce un fenómeno) y menos por el sentido que el fenómeno tiene (el qué, el porqué, la razón de ser) dentro de un contexto cultural o en una sociedad.

Edgar Morin diría que ese conocimiento en abstracto deja por fuera sus “conexiones y solidaridades” con otras esferas de lo social y con la totalidad.

Por lo tanto, los profesionales educados casi exclusivamente bajo esa orientación no forman en su mente un vínculo consciente, realista y responsable entre su carrera y el mundo social en el que la ejercen. No construyen elementos que les ayuden a conectar su saber con la sociedad y, por tanto, ignoran la complejidad y diversidad de dimensiones que la integran y que se afectan por la acción de los agentes sociales.

El segundo ideario que nos rige tiene que ver con el discurso económico que promueve casi religiosamente la globalización y que se impone por múltiples vías a la soberanía de los países.

Se trata del discurso del neoliberalismo, basado en su fondo en la desinstitucionalización, es decir, en el imperativo de que haya menos Estado y que este, además, controle y grave mínimamente la circulación de mercancías y servicios entre países.

En función de esto, los servicios esenciales de salud, vivienda, educación, cultura, diversión, infraestructura, servicios públicos, entre otros, deben operar bajo las exigencias de la libre oferta y demanda y generar, además, beneficios privados. En suma, esta ideología persigue la privatización de lo público.

El mensaje que esta arrasadora ideología envía a la formación profesional es que lo único que realmente importa en la educación es el desarrollo de capacidades de transacción para que toda interacción profesional sea ejercida como mercantil.

Todo, en este sentido, deberá apuntar a que cualquier relación humana pueda asimilarse a una relación de compraventa que debe producir beneficios económicos.

Esta concepción de la educación afecta la integridad ética e intelectual del profesional, pues moldea sus valores en torno al individualismo y al éxito personal

Esta concepción de la educación afecta la integridad ética e intelectual del profesional, pues moldea y focaliza sus valores en torno al individualismo y al éxito personal. El entorno social y natural no se constituye en un referente significativo dentro de las finalidades de su acción.

En el centro de este discurso está el mercado como rector indiscutible de las relaciones y transacciones humanas. 
Un mercado autónomo, sin injerencia del Estado, que de manera impersonal ‘decide’ sobre todos los aspectos de la vida social con base solamente en criterios de competitividad, rentabilidad y eficiencia.

Al respecto, Zygmunt Bauman decía: “Somos dolorosamente conscientes de que, sin control alguno, los mercados que se guían únicamente por el criterio de la rentabilidad conducen a catástrofes económicas y sociales”.

De los fines y de los medios

Esa desconexión entre educación y vida social opera en la realidad reduciendo a lo estrictamente económico los fines que se trazan los individuos, las empresas y las instituciones. Como consecuencia, estos actores acomodan o dimensionan los medios, es decir, los conocimientos, los métodos y los procesos, al tenor de esos fines estrechos.

En virtud del afán economicista que se apoderó de la sociedad, las profesiones se centran en metas o fines de orden exclusivamente cuantitativo y económico como la maximización de los ingresos o las utilidades, el posicionamiento en algún ranquin de competitividad, eficiencia o innovación.

Como consecuencia, los conocimientos que se imparten en las aulas se limitan a los medios puramente instrumentales (procedimientos, fórmulas, técnicas, modelos) que mejor sirvan al logro de esas metas cuantitativas.

A propósito de esa reducción de miras, Martha Nussbaum nos recuerda la frase de Tagore: “El hombre moral, el hombre íntegro, está cediendo cada vez más espacio, casi sin saberlo (…) al hombre comercial, al hombre limitado a un solo fin”.

Los profesionales formados con esa pobreza de miras y esa miopía de fines y medios no contarán con los conocimientos ni los criterios para prever, más allá de las metas cuantitativas que se trazaron, los eventuales efectos perversos de sus decisiones y acciones sobre la sociedad y el medioambiente.

Serán, además, sujetos propicios a la corrupción, pues la aprobación y presión sociales con respecto al enriquecimiento, la optimización o la maximización como fines a ultranza legitiman la laxitud moral de los medios para lograrlos.

¿Cómo sería, entonces, una educación profesional éticamente conectada? ¿Existe la posibilidad de que quienes diseñan y dirigen el currículo profesional, que regularmente tienen a su vez una formación marcadamente técnica o funcional (y que hoy dirigen facultades, departamentos académicos, programas, grupos de investigación, revistas, etc.), se abran a una nueva comprensión de su tarea?

En primer término, la universidad debe erigirse en guardiana de los fines de la sociedad y no debe responder acríticamente a las demandas de los actores sociales si tales demandas no corresponden a ideales de integridad e inclusión. La universidad está llamada a problematizar y cambiar esas grandes ideologías que hoy atrapan al mundo y lo empujan a una carrera loca por el economicismo y el éxito individual.

En segundo lugar, la enseñanza de las humanidades constituye la mejor forma de comprensión del hombre y su vínculo social en todos sus espacios de actuación. Es solo que –como lo expresé en este mismo medio en un artículo titulado ‘La nuestra, una educación de saberes desintegrados’– “abogo por unas humanidades pertinentes, problematizadoras y social y ambientalmente comprometidas”.

Obviamente es necesario estudiar las humanidades como disciplinas autónomas, pero sería preferible, para la formación de profesionales, si adicionalmente las humanidades se ponen al servicio de la comprensión de los fenómenos humanos en y desde las organizaciones y las instituciones, no instrumentalizándolas para el logro de la eficiencia, sino sirviéndose de ellas para comprender al hombre y su acción. Es precisa, además, una postura crítica con respecto a las profesiones y disciplinas objeto de la formación.

Las humanidades serían, pues, el vehículo de problematización entre los medios y los fines –en particular sobre la pertinencia y el tenor humanista de estos últimos– y ayudarían a que los profesionales en formación establecieran una conexión consciente y responsable entre su profesión y la sociedad.

A modo de conclusión, podría decirse que formar profesionales éticamente conectados, más que aprender teorías, técnicas e instrumentos (que son también importantes), implica asegurar la apropiación de criterios asociados a la aplicación de tales instrumentos y teorías.

Podríamos entender estos criterios como referentes claros en la interpretación, la decisión y la acción del profesional. Y estos solo se construyen en la resonancia del conocimiento técnico-científico con la realidad social integralmente considerada.

En un mundo atravesado por problemas y retos cada vez más complejos y acuciantes como el calentamiento global, el terrorismo, los desplazamientos masivos, la corrupción, las catástrofes humanitarias, los autoritarismos, el desmoronamiento de las democracias, entre tantos otros, las humanidades no pueden ser excluidas de las aulas ni del debate público.

RODRIGO MUÑOZ GRISALES
Doctor en Filosofía y especialista en filosofía del humanismo, de la Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Profesor de la Universidad Eafit.

El papel de la Visión en el diseño

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The Role of Visioning in Design

from ‘Design for Human and Planetary Health’ D.C. Wahl 2006

Visioning is more than painting an idealistic picture of the future — it is a process of evaluating present conditions, identifying problem areas, and bringing about a community wide consensus on how to overcome existing problems and manage change. By learning about its strengths and weaknesses, a community can decide what it wants to be, and then develop a plan that will guide decisions towards that vision. … Having a shared vision allows a community to focus its diverse energies and avoid conflicts in the present as well as the future. — Sandler, 2000, p.216

The essence of the design process is to envision novel solutions in order to meet certain real or perceived needs and express a certain intention through novel interactions and relationships.While science tends to focus on how the world is and how it came to be — an essentially backward looking activity that may venture to predict the outcome of experiments based on abstract linear extrapolations from past observations — design tends to focus on how the world could be in the future and proposes feasible pathways to create such a future.

Design is essentially forward looking, it envisions possible and desirable futures and offers strategies for their material and immaterial implementation (see also chapter one).[This is an excerpt from my 2006PhD Thesis in ‘Design for Human and Planetary Health: A Holistic/Integral Approach to Complexity and Sustainability’.]

In 2005, the UK Design Council published a report on Sustainability & Design. The report admitted the urgent need to re-contextualise design theory and practice in a more holistic and encompassing way that acknowledges the complexity of challenges associated with creating a sustainable society. It identified a wide range of specific skills that are important for designers in the 21st century. This thesis has addressed almost all the skills mentioned in the report, for example: the need for trans-disciplinarity, multiple perspectives, eco-literacy, dialogue and communication, sensitivity to different scales and the need to reconsider environmental ethics.

After interviewing a wide range of people engaged in mainstream product design as well as a number of sustainable product designers, the authors of the Design Council report offered the following summary of essential design skills (see Box 6.1). The ability to vision is the last but certainly not the least important skill on their list.

Any design strategy is useless if there is no clear vision of where that strategy is supposed to take us. The process of creating a collective and trans-disciplinary vision for a future of human, societal, ecosystem and planetary health will emerge as the central means of catalysing the transformation towards a sustainable human civilization during the 21st century. This process will define the quality of life and meaningful existence of current and future generations.

The process of collective visioning based on an integration of multiple perspectives will be central to the creation of locally adapted sustainable communities that cooperate locally, regionally and globally in order to meet true human needs for everyone and within the biophysical limits of local ecosystems and the global biosphere. It is through this community based process of life-long learning and dynamic adaptation of our guiding visions that design will be able to act as trans-disciplinary and trans-epistemological integrator and facilitator (see also chapter one).

This image is not in the 2006 PhD thesis this excerpt is taken from. It is from a recent Transition Design course with Terry Irwin, Cameron Tonkinwise and Gideon Kossoff (from Carnegie Mellon School of Design and the University of New South Wales). The graphic (source) illustrates well how we can work with preferable, probable, plausible and possible futures. Visioning is about preferable futures and design can make them probable.

“Visioning processes provide a mechanism whereby diverse interests are brought together to develop and reach agreement on a common, preferred vision for the future of an area and/or community” (Baxter & Fraser, 1994). Visioning is therefore centrally important for a community-based approach to designing humanity’s appropriate participation in natural process.

… the transition towards sustainability in its everyday dimension, can be described as follows: in a short period billions of people must redefine their life projects. Although differing greatly, the new directions they can and will want to take have a common vector — one which should take us in all our diversity towards a sustainable future. — Manzini & Jegou, 2003

The intention to increase human and planetary health, as the prerequisite for long-term sustainability, describes the common vector that unites the diversity of locally and regionally adapted human communities and societies behind the common goal of sustaining the continued evolution of life and consciousness through turning the vision of a sustainable human civilization into reality.

While the now increasingly outdated goals that motivated conventional science during the past three hundred years were chasing after the impossible utopia of total prediction and control of nature, the new sciences and the emerging natural design movement are motivated by improving and informing humanity’s appropriate and sustainable participation in natural process. This is an attainable utopia, a vision that we can turn into reality!

The central shift is one from prediction through abstract and linear models based on quantities and dualistic reasoning, to a more comprehensive envisioning of a future of appropriate participation in natural process based on multiple perspectives and epistemologies. By acknowledging the validity of contributions made by various perspectives, the latter approach transcends and includes the former! Jonathan Ball, in his PhD thesis entitled Bioregions and Future State Visioning, provides a very succinct explanation of the difference between prediction and visioning:

There are several ways of looking at the future but two methods predominate. The first is by prediction and the second is ‘visioning’. Prediction is, perforce, based on extrapolation of past trends. Through this process the future can only be viewed as though along a corridor of constraining possibilities. The corridor might widen along its length but the process of prediction is essentially a restrictive one. Visioning, on the other hand, is a process that begins with the desired future state and then looks backwards to the present (building a new corridor between the states). Visioning is a tool that, under various guises, has been developed by the business community to help corporate planning. The present state can be a difficult barrier to what could be — the future state (Stewart, 1993). Therefore, visioning is radically different from conventional futurology which is predictive, prophetic and tends to offer pictures of exaggerated optimism or pessimism. — McRae, 1994, in Ball, 1999, pp.62–63

Victor Margolin believes: “As an art of conception and planning, design occupies a strategic position between the sphere of dispositional ethics and the sphere of social change. This is its power.” He argues: “Design is the activity that generates plans, projects, and products. It produces tangible results that can serve as demonstrations of, or arguments for, how we might live” (Margolin, 2002, p.88). Design is the process of envisioning and creating our collective future.

It is important to understand that in the process of creating a vision of a sustainable community, society, and civilization we should not be restricted by what may be perceived as insurmountable obstacles to achieving that vision. The initial formulation of a vision has to be idealistic, creative, poetic, aesthetic, ethical, intuitive and imaginative. Rational reasoning from a particular perspective should not restrict the integrative and participatory process of creating the initial vision.

First, the best-case scenario, the ‘have our cake and eat it’ option, the win-win-win optimal future state has to be clearly described and en-visioned. This creates a collective goal desirable to everyone and therefore provides the basis for engaging the participation of diverse stakeholders in the long-term process of turning such a vision into reality through appropriate design.

Baxter and Fraser see the value of creating a vision in the way it connects the future and the present. First, a vision helps us to put our current behaviour into context and perspective, and second, it “catalyses new actions and partnerships in order to move the community or organization towards the future it wants” (1994, p.4). They identify six main characteristics of visioning which make it a uniquely useful process. These are summarized in the table below(see Table 6.1).

Only by honouring the entire breadth of diverse intellectual and cultural perspectives and by acknowledging the important, valid and meaningful contributions of complementary — but possibly contradictory — epistemologies can we hope to create a meaningful and inspiring vision that has the power to motivate all of humanity to engage in the transformation towards a sustainable human civilization.

The scientific, materialistic perspective that, through the emerging holistic sciences, is increasingly acknowledging fundamental interconnectedness, interdependence and unpredictability, provides important insights about the dynamics of complex systems like societies, ecosystems and the biosphere. Ecology and complexity theory can help us to participate appropriately in natural process.

However subtler modes of consciousness, that are aware of our participatory and co- creative involvement in both the material and immaterial dimensions of reality, are also important informants of such a vision. Any globally and locally inspiring and meaningful vision, by definition, will have to include contributions from diverse spiritual, ethical, psychological, cultural and aesthetic, as well as scientific points of view.

The globally transformative vision of a sustainable human civilization has to be flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate healthy expressions of an enormous diversity of material and immaterial (internal and external) perspectives. At the same time it has to establish a realistic, socially and ecologically literate consensus about how to proceed in order to implement this collective global vision through the action of empowered and locally adapted communities everywhere.

The vision of a sustainable human civilization must be meaningful enough to be desired by everyone. So much so, that it motivates all global citizens to engage in local, regional, and global cooperation in driving the long-term process of turning this vision into reality.

Jonathan Ball’s doctoral research reviewed a variety of different approaches to creating community based visions and developed a conceptual framework for applying environmental visioning to land-use planning and bioregional design. Ball (1999) identified a number of common characteristics and steps of visioning as a tool for designing meaningful and desired futures intentionally. The Table below (see Table 6.2) shows a summary of three related but differently focussed approaches to the visioning process, as provided by Jonathan Ball.

This multiple and complementary perspective on the appropriate steps that should be applied within a successful visioning exercise provides a more integral understanding of visioning as a potentially powerful tool for sustainable design. The Box below summarizes five common characteristics for the design and realization of successful visions as proposed by Jonathan Ball (see Box 6.2).

The global vision of a sustainable human civilization will motivate and be composed of a wide diversity of regional and local, community-based, visions. Empowered local communities will be the active agents of change that will implement sustainability through appropriate participation in natural process. Such communities will act collectively at the appropriate scale of local adaptation to ecosystems and regional self-reliance and sustainability, and simultaneously cooperate internally and externally in the process of facilitating the realization of this vision locally and globally.

Alan Sandler emphasizes the inherent potential for the visioning process to act as a driver for transformation towards sustainable practices. A community-based, inclusive and participatory approach “in which members share their personal vision and shape them into a shared vision providing energy, coherence and direction for the communities’ diverse programs and services.” Sandler defines vision as “an idea or image of a desirable future which captures the commitment, energy and imagination of key people in working towards its realization” (Sandler, 2000, p.218). The Box below summarizes a set of “tips for vision building” compiled by Alan Sandler (see Box 6.3).

Throughout this thesis, I have repeatedly emphasized the important role of an actively engaged and socially and ecologically literate citizenship in the community based process of creating locally adapted, sustainable communities. Working towards the realization of an inspiring and desirable vision motivates such active engagement.

The process of visioning is, on the one hand, an effective way to engage the whole community and its diverse stakeholders in the process of defining what a desirable and sustainable future would look like. On the other hand, attempting to realize a vision provides the basis for the continuous learning process that informs the community about the appropriateness of the strategies it chooses to implement the collective vision.

An effective vision has to be clear, inclusive, and desirable enough to inspire widespread participation in its implementation and at the same time flexible and adaptable enough to be able to respond appropriately to new insights and environmental or technological change. Adam Kahane emphasizes:

A problem that is generatively complex cannot be solved with a prepackaged solution from the past. A solution has to be worked out as the situation unfolds, through a creative, emergent, generative process. — Kahane, 2004, p.101

There have been a variety of distinct but complementary approaches to working with the visionary aspects of the design and planning process within more or less inclusive communities. Scenario planning, as described by Peter Schwartz in The Art of the Long View (Schwartz, 1991), future workshops (see Jungk & Müllert, 1987), and future search (Weisbord & Janoff, 1995) are worth exploring in this context. Baxter and Fraser (1994) discuss the differences between visioning and forecasting or scenario planning in more detail. The scope of this thesis does not allow me to enter deeper into these issues, which will provide points of departure for future research.

The actual methodologies that can facilitate successful visioning as well as the flexible and adaptive implementation of established visions through widespread and appropriate participation are clearly of central importance in the transformation towards sustainability. Chapter one already emphasized this through the discussion of the role of trans-disciplinary design dialogue and tools like non-violent communication, mediation and consensus decision making. The Spiral Dynamics approach offers one methodology for helping people to cooperate despite differences in their dominant worldview or value system (see chapter one).

In Solving tough problems, Adam Kahane, a founding partner of ‘Generon Consulting’ and the ‘Global Leadership Initiative’ offers a variety of tangible examples of how such trans- disciplinary, inclusive and participatory design processes are already being employed to find appropriate solution (see Kahane, 2004). He emphasizes the importance of personal openness to change, learning and new and transformative insights.

There is a story about a man who wanted to change the world. He tried as hard as he could, but really did not accomplish anything. So he thought that instead he should just try to change his country, but he had no success with that either. Then he tried to change his city and then his neighbourhood, still unsuccessfully. Then he thought he could at least change his family, but failed again. So he decided to change himself. Then a surprising thing happened. As he changed himself, his family changed too. And as his family changed, his neighbourhood changed. As his neighbourhood changed, his city changed. As his city changed, his country changed, and as his country changed, the world changed. — Kahane, 2004, p.131

The anatomy of change is holarchical, with changes on each level affecting changes on all other levels. In order to affect change effectively we have to begin with ourselves. Like Don Beck and Christopher Cowan, who developed Spiral Dynamics (see Beck & Cowan, 1996), Adam Kahane contributed to the peaceful transition from South Africa’s apartheid regime to a democratically elected government through facilitating conciliatory workshops that helped to shape a collective vision for the future.

Kahane asks the important questions: “How can we solve our tough problems without resorting to force? How can we overcome the apartheid syndrome in our homes, workplaces, communities and countries, and globally? How can we heal our world’s gaping wounds?” (Kahane, 2004, p.129). How can we participate in salutogenesis?

The answer lies in collectively engaging in trans-disciplinary and trans-epistemological dialogue that allows us to see issues from various points of view and therefore allows us to integrate different kinds of knowledge into a more collective, inclusive and integral wisdom that can guide appropriate participation and inform the process of turning the vision of a sustainable human civilization into reality.

Kahane proposes: “We have to shift from down-loading and debating to reflective and generative dialogue. We have to chose an open way over a closed way.” He believes that when we make “this simple, practical shift in how we perform these most basic social actions — talking and listening — we unlock our most complex, stuck problem situations. We create miracles” (Kahane, 2004, p.129).

Such miracles, based on trans-disciplinary and trans-epistemological dialogue, are necessary in order to create the attainable utopia of a sustainable human civilization. The Box below summarizes a number of suggestions made by Kahane about how we can facilitate the dialogue about tough problems (see Box 6.4). In chapter one, I proposed that the creation of a sustainable future for humanity is the ‘wicked problem of design’ in the 21st century. The list below offers advice on how each one of us can participate in the process of offering appropriate solutions to this wickedly complex problem.

The ability to participate in such a way in collective decision making processes and collaborative problem solving should be nurtured and practiced in all formal and informal education. It is a crucially important skill for responsible citizens in the 21st century.

Kahane (2004) describes and contrasts a ‘closed way’ of trying to solve problems from within a limited perspective and resisting any other approach, and an ‘open way’ of creating solutions to tough problems by acknowledging their full complexity and by integrating multiple perspectives. The latter creates and informs the vision of a sustainable human civilization.

Every one of us gets to choose, in every encounter every day, which world we will contribute to bringing into reality. When we chose the closed way, we participate in creating a world filled with force and fear. When we choose on open way, we participate in creating another, better world. — Kahane, 2004, p.32

Many different formulations of what a sustainable human civilization may look like will have to be proposed in order to provide a broad basis for the dialogue by which we can establish a basic consensus about how to proceed at the local, regional, national and global scale.

A scale-linking conceptual framework that allows us to integrate diverse issues and address issues in different ways on different scales will hopefully facilitate and structure trans- disciplinary dialogue. Just as the map of value-systems and worldviews provided by Spiral Dynamics allows us to give validity to a variety of different perspectives, salutogenesis and health describe the most fundamental intentionality and goal of sustainability.

I believe we can accomplish great and profitable things within a new conceptual framework: one that values our legacy, honours diversity, and feeds ecosystems and societies … It is time for designs that are creative, abundant, prosperous, and intelligent from the start.

— William McDonough (in Hargroves & Smith, 2005)

I will use the remainder of this exploration of the role of vision in design to introduce a variety of different formulations of hopeful visions of sustainability and the strategies of appropriate participation they propose. By setting these different visions side by side, just like I have set the different approaches to sustainable and ecological design side by side, I hope to open a space in which underlying patterns become clear and a multi-facetted vision of a sustainable human civilization and the appropriate pathways towards that vision can emerge.

The Australian sociologist Ted Trainer has suggested that we need to shift from a society of consumers to a society of conservers. In his opinion, a sustainable society would distinguish itself through much greater self-sufficiency at the community and regional scale; people would live more simply, but have a higher quality of life; they would cooperate to create more equitable and participatory communities, and they would need to create a new economic system. He also recognizes that for this shift to occur, a fundamental reorientation and change of value system is needed (Trainer, 1995, pp.9–15). To illustrate his vision, Trainer compiled an instructive list of design characteristics that would guide the creation and re-design of settlements in such a conserver society (see Box 6.5).

In the recent 30 year up-date of the seminally influential book Limits to Growth, its authors explain: “Visioning means imagining, at first generally and then with increasing specificity, what you really want … not want someone has taught you to want, and not what you have learned to be willing to settle for.” They propose: “Vision, when widely shared and firmly kept in sight, does bring into being new systems” (Meadows et al., 2005, p.272).

Within the limits of space, time, materials, and energy, visionary human intentions can bring forth not only new information, new feedback loops, new behaviour, new knowledge, and new technology, but also new institutions, new physical structures, and new powers within human beings (Meadows et al., 2005, p.273).

Meadows et al. conclude that “a sustainable world can never be fully realised until it is widely envisioned.” They emphasise: “The vision must be built up by many people before it is complete and compelling” (Meadows et al., 2005, p.273). The Box below summarizes how Meadows et al. suggest we may begin the process of envisioning a sustainable society (see Box 6.6).

Their proposed vision revisits many of the issues discussed in this thesis. My intention has been to provide the reader with a trans-disciplinary synthesis of a wider vision that is already emerging along with the emergence of the natural design movement. Planners, designers, politicians, economists, scientists, philosophers, social activists, educators, and business people everywhere have already begun the long process of defining the vision of a sustainable and therefore equitable future for everyone — a future of human and planetary health.

In putting the different but already existing formulations of such a vision side by side, I have demonstrated that there is a significant amount of overlap between the goals and solutions proposed within the different disciplines. From within each discipline, different pieces of the bigger puzzle are added. Each one of them strengthens the overall vision and the various contributions mutually reinforce each other in the creation of a synergetic and powerful ‘leitmotiv’ for turning the vision of a sustainable human society into reality.

Whether we take responsibility or not, we can’t but participate in the creation of the world around us through our attitudes, actions and designs. Our dreams and aspirations, every interaction we participate in, everything we think, say and do exerts a creative power on the world around us and as the world changes in accordance, so do we.

We are continuously in danger of imprisoning ourselves in the walls of our own mental constructs, our guiding stories and ‘scientific theories.’ We collectively create the living and transforming myth of who we are in relation to each other, the community of life, the planet and the universe and this myth becomes our reality. Such is the power of meta-design!

Design is the expression of intentionality through interaction and relationships. Intentionality forms through our processes of meaning making, our value systems and the worldviews we employ. The basis of sustainability is to become conscious of this and choose appropriate participation in this creative process instead of reinforcing unsustainable patterns through our daily actions, while referring responsibility to somebody else.

True, long-term sustainability is possible only if more and more people become fully conscious of our individual and collective creative powers and assume responsibility for their own participation in the process of sustainability, through cooperation with the community of life. Awareness of our fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence with all of life spawns the realization that we cannot maintain human, community, or societal health without maintaining the health of ecosystems and the planet as a whole.

Thomas Greco Jr. beautifully expressed the enormous potential this insight has for individual and community empowerment. His vision of human potential is reproduced in the Box below (see Box 6.7).

What Greco describes is a realization that more and more people are having everyday. It is in this realization that true sustainability can take root. But the process of transformation can only be sustained if we begin to act in accordance with our insights.

At the international level there have been a number of previous attempts to formulate visions of a sustainable future. In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the adoption of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ (see Bloom 2004, pp.253–260 for a reproduction). In 1986, the World Health Organization published the ‘Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion’ (see Brown et al., 2005, pp.101–105). In June 1992, after a conference in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations published a ‘Declaration on Environment and Development’ (see Brown et al., 2005, pp.112–117 for a reproduction). This was followed by the publication and international adoption of ‘Agenda 21’ as a blueprint for a social, economic,and environmental sustainability [since this thesis was published in 2006 the SDGs and Agenda 2030 were launched in 2015 as a continuation of the UN sustainable development commitment].

The most widely inclusive and comprehensive document of this kind that has been published to date was developed over almost a decade of worldwide consultation and dialogue through the support of the ‘Green Cross’, founded by Michael Gorbachov and the ‘United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’ (UNESCO). The Earth Charter, was published in 2000, and is structured around the following basic principles: respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity; social and economic justice; and democracy, non-violence, and peace (see www.earthcharter.org ).

Since its publication the vision of global sustainability, equity, justice and peace formulated in the Earth Charter has been adopted by an increasing number of national and international organizations. It will hopefully provide a basis for fruitful discussion about the necessary local, regional, national, and international dialogues about how to effectively implement such a vision of a sustainable human civilization.

Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. — The Earth Charter, in Jack-Todd, 2005, p.131

The multi-facetted challenges that humanity is facing at the beginning of the third millennium are sending a clear signal: business as usual is no longer an option. The world will change even more drastically during the 21st century than it has done during the 20th century. If we allow this change to be driven by narrowly conceived economic and national interests and disregard global interconnectedness and interdependences as well as our reliance on the planet’s ecological life- support systems, we will do so at an unprecedented cost in the lives of humans and other species with whom we are co-inhabiting this fragile planet.

In 1991, Ralph Metzner, a psychologist at the California Institute of Integral Studies, published an article entitled ‘The Emerging Ecological Worldview’ in Resurgence. Metzner tried to formulate the major changes in worldview and humanity’s way of participating in natural process that will be associated with the transition towards an ‘ecological age’ and a sustainable human civilization. The Table below summarizes his vision (see Table 6.3).

The ecological worldview formulated by Metzner should not be understood as a dualistic opposite to the dominant worldview of the industrial age, rather as an expression of a necessary and healthy evolution of humanity towards a more holistic or integral consciousness that is able to embrace multiple perspectives. Beyond such an ecological worldview lies the integration of old and new modes of consciousness in what might be called an integral or holistic worldview able to transcend and include what came before (see also chapter one).

In 2000, John Todd was invited by the Schumacher Society UK to give the annual Schumacher lecture in Bristol. The title of his presentation was ‘Ecological Design in the 21st Century.’ He ended his speech with a formulation of a vision that will hopefully inspire all global citizens to engage in the design of our collective future:

I have learned that it is possible to design with Nature. I have also learned that, through ecological design, it is theoretically possible to have a high civilization using only one tenth of the world’s resources that industrial societies use today. We can reduce the negative human footprint by ninety percent and thrive as a culture. We do not have to destroy the Earth. Ecological design allows us to link human life support systems in a symbiotic way to the rest of the biosphere. Nature, or Gaia, can regain her wilderness and the air, water, and lands can be free of our poisons. That is the vision. That is the possibility.

— John Todd, 2000, p.3

[This is an excerpt from my 2006 PhD Thesis in ‘Design for Human and Planetary Health: A Holistic/Integral Approach to Complexity and Sustainability’. This research and 10 years of experience as an educator, consultant, activist, and expert in whole systems design and transformative innovation have led me to publish Designing Regenerative Cultures in May 2016.]

 Go to the profile of Daniel Christian Wahl
  • Daniel Christian Wahl

    Glocal educator, activist and consultant, generalized in whole systems design and transformative innovation for regenenerative culturese

  • La humanidad está a punto de la transición, hacia “evolución por dirección inteligente” 4 fuerzas clave para la evolución y transformación de la humanidad.

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    Reinventing Humanity

    As we close out 2016, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to take a risk and venture into a topic I’m personally compelled to think about, a topic that will seem far-out to most readers.

    Today’s extraordinary rate of exponential growth may do much more than just disrupt industries. It may actually give birth to a new species — reinventing humanity — over the next 30 years.

    The Evolution of Brain-Computer Interfaces [INFOGRAPHIC]
    Click to View Full Infographic

    I believe we’re rapidly heading towards a human-scale transformation, the next evolutionary step into what I call a “meta-intelligence,” a future in which we are all highly connected — brain to brain via the cloud — sharing thoughts, knowledge, and actions.

    In this blog, I’m investigating the driving forces behind such an evolutionary step, the historical pattern we are about to repeat, and the implications thereof. Again, I acknowledge that this topic seems far-out, but the forces at play are huge and the implications are vast.

    Let’s dive in…

    https://futurism.com/humanity-is-about-to-transition-to-evolution-by-intelligent-direction/

     

    A Quick Recap: Evolution of Life on Earth in 4 Steps

    About 4.6 billion years ago, our solar system, the Sun, and the Earth were formed. Four steps followed…

    1. 3.5 billion years ago, the first simple life forms, called “prokaryotes,” came into existence. These prokaryotes were super-simple, microscopic single-celled organisms, basically a bag of cytoplasm with free-floating DNA. They had neither a distinct nucleus nor specialized organelles. Fast-forwarding one billion years…
    2. 2.5 billion years ago, the next step in evolution created what we call “eukaryotes” — life forms that distinguished themselves by incorporating biological “technology” into themselves. This technology allowed them to manipulate energy (via mitochondria) and information (via chromosomes) far more efficiently. Fast forward another billion years for the next step…
    3. 1.5 billion years ago, these early eukaryotes began working collaboratively and formed the first “multi-cellular life,” of which you and I are the ultimate example (a human is a multicellular creature of 10 trillion cells).
    4. The final step I want to highlight happened some 400 million years ago, when lungfish crawled out of the oceans onto the shores, and life evolved from the oceans onto land.

    The Next Stages of Human Evolution in 4 Steps

    Today, at a massively accelerated rate — some 100 million times faster than the steps I outlined above — life is undergoing a similar evolution. In this next stage of evolution, we are going from evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) to evolution by intelligent direction.

    Allow me to draw the analogy for you:

    1. Simple humans today are analogous to prokaryotes. Simple life, each life form independent of the others, competing and sometimes collaborating.
    2. Just as eukaryotes were created by ingesting technology, humans will incorporate technology into our bodies and brains that will allow us to make vastly more efficient use of information (BCI) and energy.
    3. Enabled with BCI and AI, humans will become massively connected with each other and billions of AIs (computers) via the cloud, analogous to the first multicellular lifeforms 1.5 billion years ago. Such a massive interconnection will lead to the emergence of a new global consciousness and a new organism I call the “meta-intelligence.”
    4. Finally, humanity is about to crawl out of the gravity well of Earth to become a multi-planetary species. Our journey to the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and beyond represents the modern-day analogy of journey made by lungfish climbing out of the oceans some 400 million years ago.

    The Four Forces Driving the Evolution and Transformation of Humanity

    Four primary driving forces are leading us towards our transformation of humanity into a meta-intelligence both on and off the Earth:

    1. We’re wiring our planet
    2. Emergence of brain-computer interface
    3. Emergence of AI
    4. Opening of the Space Frontier

    Let’s take a look at each.

    Wiring the Planet

    Today, there are 2.9 billion people connected online. Within the next six to eight years, that number is expected to increase to nearly 8 billion, with each individual on the planet having access to a megabit-per-second connection or better.

    The wiring is taking place through the deployment of 5G on the ground, plus networks being deployed by Facebook, Google, Qualcomm, Samsung, Virgin, SpaceX, and many others.

    Within a decade, every single human on the planet will have access to multimegabit connectivity, the world’s information, and massive computational power on the cloud.

    Brain-Computer Interface

    A multitude of labs and entrepreneurs are working to create lasting, high-bandwidth connections between the digital world and the human neocortex (I wrote about that in detail).

    Ray Kurzweil predicts we’ll see human-cloud connection by the mid-2030s, just 18 years from now.

    In addition, entrepreneurs like Bryan Johnson (and his company Kernel) are committing hundreds of millions of dollars towards this vision.

    The end results of connecting your neocortex with the cloud are twofold: First, you’ll have the ability to increase your memory capacity and/or cognitive function millions of fold; second, via a global mesh network, you’ll have the ability to connect your brain to anyone else’s brain and to emerging AIs, just like our cell phones, servers, watches, cars, and all devices are becoming connected via the Internet of Things (IoT).

    Artificial Intelligence/Human Intelligence

    Next, and perhaps most significantly, we are on the cusp of an AI revolution.

    Artificial intelligence, powered by deep learning and funded by companies such as Google, Facebook, IBM, Samsung, and Alibaba, will continue to rapidly accelerate and drive breakthroughs.

    Cumulative “intelligence” (both artificial and human) is the single greatest predictor of success for both a company or a nation. For this reason, beside the emerging AI “arms race,” we will soon see a race focused on increasing overall human intelligence.

    Whatever challenges we might have in creating a vibrant brain-computer interface (e.g. designing long-term biocompatible sensors or nanobots that interface with your neocortex), those challenges will fall quickly over the next couple of decades as AI power tools give us every increasing problem-solving capability.

    It is an exponential atop an exponential. More intelligence gives us the tools to solve connectivity and mesh problems and in turn create greater intelligence.

    Opening the Space Frontier

    Finally, it’s important to note that the human race is on the verge of becoming a multiplanetary species.

    Thousands of years from now, whatever we’ve evolved into, we will look back at these next few decades as the moment in time that the human race moved off Earth irreversibly.

    Today, billions of dollars are being invested privately into the commercial space industry. Efforts led by SpaceX are targeting humans on Mars, while efforts by Blue Origin are looking at taking humanity back to the Moon and plans by my own company, Planetary Resources, strive to unlock near-infinite resources from the asteroids.

    In Conclusion

    The rate of human evolution is accelerating as we transition from the slow and random process of “Darwinian natural selection” to a hyper-accelerated and precisely directed period of “evolution by intelligent direction.”

    In this blog, I chose not to discuss the power being unleashed by such gene-editing techniques as CRISPR-Cas9. Consider this yet another tool able to accelerate evolution by our own hand.

    The bottom line is that change is coming, faster than ever considered possible. All of us leaders, entrepreneurs, and parents have a huge responsibility to inspire and guide the transformation of humanity on and off the Earth.

    What we do over the next 30 years — the bridges we build to abundance — will impact the future of the human race for millennia to come. We truly live during the most exciting time ever in human history.

    Disclaimer: Futurism only supports products that we trust and use. This post is in partnership with Abundance 360, and Futurism may get a small percentage of sales. Want to take a class with Peter Diamandis? Click here to learn more!

    Bebe del futuro (experimental futures)

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    Could this be the future of parenting?

    NurturePod installation and photos by Stuart Candy

    This experiential scenario from a not too distant future, my first “solo” art museum installation (really, all this work is highly collaborative), is now live at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium.

    Futurist/journalist Andrew Curry and I recently had a chance to chat about the project for an upcoming issue of the Association of Professional Futurists quarterly, Compass. Many thanks to Andrew and APF for sharing the transcript below (edited for clarity and length).

    https://futuryst.blogspot.com.co/2017/07/nurturepod.html

    ***

    Andrew Curry: What we have here is a very small baby –– not a real baby –– in a little pod surrounded by all sorts of digital stimulus looking after her or his needs. This is a “programmable para-parenting pod”, which basically removes the need for parents to get involved, as far as I can tell. It’s a bargain at €789, obviously. What was the brief, Stuart?

    Stuart Candy: The brief for A Temporary Futures Institute was to create some kind of a design contribution corresponding to Dator’s generic images of the future; grow, collapse, discipline or transform, and I was assigned “transform”. I had this quite large space and could basically do anything that fit the budget and time. To get from those broad parameters to the final installation really started from the name. There was a prior project (which appeared in Compass) called NaturePod, a hypothetical product from a handful of years away, addressed to stressed-out office workers who may need to reduce their cortisol levels and increase productivity by spending time in nature, without leaving their cubicles. That was a provocative take on what happens when you marry supposedly biophilic interior design trends to virtual reality.

    AC: So this is a kind of companion piece?

    SC: Right. It came about in a conversation with my longtime collaborator, Jake Dunagan –– a lot of our work is based on wordplay and being silly –– and he said, “well, when you’re done with NaturePod, you should do NurturePod, ha ha ha”. He was joking, but I thought it was a brilliant idea. Then this opportunity came along, and I realised that, while this might not be my idea of a transformation, it does actually correspond to a popular notion about what immersion in virtual environments means.

    AC: It comes with all this very nice packaging and sales material. Clearly something about the commercialisation of it engaged you.

    SC: A lot of the experiential futures work I’ve done is about bringing encounters with futures into an everyday context. Hence guerrilla futures projects like NaturePod; we launched it at an architecture and design trade show, so the people who came across it thought it was real. The organisers of the trade show knew what we were up to, but the thousands of others attending didn’t. I was interested in trying to import the lessons and techniques from creating encounters “in the wild” into the cube of a contemporary art museum. That’s why this piece is not sitting on a white box; it’s sitting on the kind of table you might find in an Apple Store.

    AC: The NurturePod box has all the kind of labelling detail you would expect to see in a package. Is that part of the experience as well?

    SC: I think the attention to detail that makes a hypothetical resemble the real is an important part of this practice. It is intended to invite, not a suspension of disbelief exactly, but more an investment of belief, a kind of willing desire on the part of the viewer to say okay, suppose that I did come across this in a few years’ time. What do I think about that? What do I feel about that? I think the details provide added dimensions of engagement so they can dive deeper, if they want to. Most people are probably going to engage with the main image; a glanceable, instagrammable baby in a pod wearing a headset. But for those who take the time, there is more detail to enjoy, or be dismayed by, according to your taste.

    AC: There’s a little tag, “control baby’s experience with the NurturePod App”, and a kind of WiFi, Bluetooth-type logo suggesting I can download it. I haven’t actually tried to do that; I’m guessing that bit might not be real?

    SC: That’s right, it does break at a certain point because it isn’t real, but it’s supposed to feel like it is. All of these messaging elements are scaffolded in detail on existing products, and existing idioms that we recognise subconsciously, being citizens of the early 21st century. We’re literate in ways we don’t even realise about the semiotics of marketing, and electronics in particular. This is using that language to get something across about a seemingly imminent possibility.

    AC: One more thing that strikes me about this, about the languaging, is it’s not just about marketing. There are a whole lot of cues about the idea of the new, the idea of the modern, and the classic ways in which technology companies make us feel inadequate and then sell us reassurance.

    SC: I suppose using those tropes could be said to invite reflection on how embedded in the tropes we are, because we know this particular thing doesn’t exist. But that’s a bit of an intellectual angle. I find people’s emotional responses interesting, from watching them interact with it and from what they’ve shared in conversation.

    AC: What sort of things have they said?

    SC: “I’m really drawn to this, and also repulsed by it.” There’s this sense of being torn, and that is quite satisfying to hear, because I think creating or inviting a complex emotional response is something that we should strive for in futures work. This is why design and film and performance and games are important –– the whole repertoire of approaches to experiential futures; like the proverbial toothbrush that reaches places regular ones can’t. Hopefully we are on our way to a better futures toothbrush.


    ***
    The NurturePod installation is just one part of A Temporary Futures Institute (ATFI), a boldly experimental M HKA exhibition which opened in April, curated by Anders Kreuger and Maya Van Leemput.

    (M HKA was also the main venue for Design Develop Transform, where Kelly Kornet and I recently presented the Ethnographic Experiential Futures framework.)

    There are some stellar artists featured in ATFI (including Michel Auder, Miriam Bäckström, Alexander Lee and Darius Žiūra), and the other futurists involved in the exhibition are Agence Future (Maya Van Leemput and Bram Goots, Belgium), The Centre for Postnormal Policy & Futures Studies (Ziauddin Sardar and John Sweeney, UK/US), and Mei Mei Song (Taiwan).

    Show runs until 17 September –– so if you’re within range of Antwerp, check it out!

    Acknowledgements:
    – Seth Keller and Kazuki Guzmán, Fabrication consultants
    – Tarik El-Khateeb, Graphics consultant
    – Special thanks: Maya Van Leemput and Anders Kreuger (for curating ATFI); Bram Goots (for crucial logistical help), Ceda Verbakel (for copywriting assistance); Giulia Bellinetti, Georges Uittenhout, and the rest of the team at M HKA (for essential technical support); Jake Dunagan (for inspiration); Jessica Charlesworth, Ilona Gaynor, the Toronto Uterati (for helpful conversations)

    See also:
    – Article from Harpers Bazaar on what to see at A Temporary Futures Institute

    – Video from ARTtube about ATFI (5 1/2 mins)
    – ATFI exhibition brochure (pdf)

    – Show summary from Belgian newspaper De Morgen (in Dutch)

    – Two contemporary artists I greatly admire whose work has influenced this piece one way or another: Patricia Piccinini and Ron Mueck

    Related:

    Reescribir el futuro

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    Reescribir el futuro

    03 de junio 2017 , 12:00 a.m. (El TIEMPO http://m.eltiempo.com/opinion/columnistas/adriana-la-rotta/reescribir-el-futuro-imaginar-el-futuro-94966)
    El pasado no lo vamos a cambiar, pero sí podemos torcerle el brazo al pesimismo.

    Un texto reciente de Martin Seligman, un investigador de la Universidad de Pennsylvania a quien se lo conoce como el padre de la psicología positiva, me ha parecido muy revelador. Es un ensayo corto –basado en décadas de estudios– según el cual entre las cosas que separan a los humanos de los animales está algo que la comunidad científica no ha estudiado lo suficiente: nuestra capacidad de contemplar el futuro. De acuerdo con Seligman y otros de sus colegas, existe la percepción de que los individuos gastamos enormes cantidades de tiempo pensando y lidiando con el pasado. Pero lo que la ciencia está descubriendo es que en realidad pasamos mucho tiempo pensando en el futuro y, específicamente, imaginándonos el futuro.

    La parte que me pareció más intrigante de la propuesta de Seligman, que está dirigida a otros psicólogos pero también a gobiernos y a diseñadores de políticas públicas, es que hay que mirar menos el pasado de las personas y enfocarse más en la visión distorsionada que algunas, o muchas de ellas, tienen de su propio futuro.

    Quienes han sufrido traumas, escribe Seligman, tienen una perspectiva desalentadora del futuro, y esa perspectiva es la causa de sus problemas, no los traumas que sufrieron. En otras palabras, quienes se imaginan un futuro con muchos riesgos y pocos escenarios positivos son propensos a la ansiedad, y no al contrario, como normalmente se piensa. Lo genial de esta teoría es que significa que uno puede intervenir en el futuro, en lugar de seguir atribuyéndoles al pasado y al presente, sobre los cuales uno no tiene ningún control, un poder desmesurado.

    Lo que la ciencia está descubriendo es que en realidad pasamos mucho tiempo pensando en el futuro y, específicamente, imaginándonos el futuro.

    Aquí me voy a permitir una nota personal que explica seguramente por qué la teoría de Martin Seligman me parece válida e importante a nivel individual y especialmente a nivel colectivo. Yo perdí a mi madre cuando era niña, y no puedo decir que ese episodio haya determinado mi futuro, por más traumático que haya sido. Lo que sí me creó fue un reflejo involuntario, un sesgo pesimista y a menudo risible que hace que cuando contemplo el futuro no vea el horizonte soleado y prometedor, sino los negros nubarrones que amenazan convertirse en terrible tormenta. Una gran amiga lo define como la capacidad infalible de encontrar el punto negro en la sábana blanca. El problema no es el pasado. El problema es la incapacidad de imaginarse un futuro mejor.

    Ahora bien, ¿es posible que ese fenómeno que aqueja a individuos que han pasado por experiencias dolorosas se extienda a toda una sociedad o a todo un país? Francamente, no veo por qué no sería así.

    Más de cinco décadas de trauma han dejado en Colombia no apenas cicatrices, sino heridas que siguen abiertas. Recuperar la memoria, procesar lo ocurrido, encontrar justicia y reparación son todos aspectos importantes para avanzar. Pero ¿acaso esa idea de futuro catastrófico que se percibe en el ánimo colectivo y que amenaza con arreciar a medida que se calienta la campaña presidencial no es justamente eso: una idea producto de nuestra incapacidad de imaginarnos un futuro mejor?

    El pasado no lo vamos a cambiar, pero sí podemos torcerle el brazo al pesimismo, admitiendo que existe un sesgo que casi con seguridad distorsiona lo que vemos por delante. Se trata de reescribir el futuro, haciendo que nuestra imaginación colectiva que hoy está poblada de peligros también les abra espacio a los escenarios positivos.
    Como a cualquier investigador, a Martin Seligman le han salido contradictores que ponen en duda sus hallazgos y los tildan de autoayuda. Aunque así fuera, en todo caso me parece que es el tipo de ayuda que estamos necesitando.

    ADRIANA LA ROTTA

    Tomado de http://m.eltiempo.com/opinion/columnistas/adriana-la-rotta/reescribir-el-futuro-imaginar-el-futuro-94966

    El agua, máxima prioridad para el futuro de Latinoamérica

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    Latinoamérica tiene grandes desafíos y enormes potencialidades, pero todo depende del agua.

    La expansión urbana, la demanda de producción agrícola, la necesidad de evolución en la gestión política y el cambio climático configuran un momento clave en el avance de los países latinoamericanos que dependen como nunca del agua. Lo explicó Sergio Bitar, ingeniero y ex ministro chileno, en el ciclo de conferencias “Agua y metrópolis” organizado por la Fundación We Are Water y Casa Amèrica Catalunya.

    “Latinoamérica tiene grandes desafíos y enormes potencialidades, pero todo depende del agua. Ésta es la máxima prioridad para afrontar el futuro”, así comenzó la charla “La acción política en la crisis del agua en Latinoamérica” impartida por Sergio Bitar dentro del ciclo de conferencias Agua y metrópolis, organizado por la Fundación We Are Water y Casa Amèrica Catalunya que se celebró el pasado 4 de mayo en el Roca Barcelona Gallery. El ingeniero y político chileno, ex ministro de Minería y Educación respectivamente bajo los gobiernos de Salvador Allende y Michelle Bachelet, es el director del programa Tendencias Globales y el Futuro de América Latina del Inter-American Dialogue, y presidente de la Fundación por la Democracia.

    Bitar es uno de principales promotores latinoamericanos de estrategias compartidas entre el sector público y privado para garantizar el derecho al agua y su uso eficiente. Mostró la situación actual de Latinoamérica ante las grandes tendencias socioeconómicas, como son el advenimiento de nuevas tecnologías y el poder incuestionable de los recursos naturales como generadores de riqueza. Estos factores coexisten con el enorme y desigual crecimiento demográfico en el mundo, la evolución imparable de las grandes ciudades, la amenaza del cambio climático y el inevitable empoderamiento ciudadano, que es un factor clave para el éxito de cualquier estrategia sostenible.

    Latinoamérica depende como nunca del agua

    El ex ministro chileno expuso con claridad cuáles son los desafíos de gobernabilidad, gestión y financiación a los que se enfrentan los países latinoamericanos, y la importancia de lograr la participación ciudadana, especialmente la de los pequeños agricultores que son claves respecto al agua.

    El primero es el alto nivel de urbanización que alcanza el 80%, el más alto del mundo, y genera problemas de gestión del agua en las grandes ciudades: “México, Sao Paulo, Río y Lima han tenido recientemente graves problemas de escasez, siendo ciudades que se sitúan en países de un enorme potencial hídrico, como por ejemplo la zona amazónica de Perú y Brasil. En Chile, por ejemplo, tenemos las zonas del sur que tienen 1.000 veces más agua por habitante que las del norte. El agua está muy mal distribuida en Latinoamérica”.

    En segundo lugar, Bitar señaló la especial situación de Latinoamérica en un mercado mundial de alimentos que bascula hacia el Pacífico a causa del constante incremento de la demanda de China, India y el resto de economías con clases medias emergentes. “Los productos agrícolas son grandes consumidores de agua – comentó -, pero si no hay mejora de la productividad, ¿de dónde sacaremos el agua si la demanda aumenta como está previsto? Latinoamérica tiene que hacer un esfuerzo enorme en la gestión y gobernabilidad del agua, en el uso eficiente de las tierras de cultivo y en biotecnología para afrontar este nuevo mercado”.

    Ante el cambio climático

    Bitar, que el pasado año recibió el premio “Ingeniero 2016” otorgado por el Colegio de Ingenieros de Chile, entró de lleno en la problemática de su país, que se enfrenta, como el resto de Latinoamérica, a la gran amenaza del cambio climático. El calentamiento se manifiesta de una forma especialmente notable en la cordillera andina: “Estamos experimentando una subida de las temperaturas que ha provocado que la isoterma 0º haya ascendido hasta los 3.000 metros de altura, por lo que ha desaparecido la reserva de nieve que abastecía a las ciudades de forma gradual con el deshielo; y el agua, que antes descendía en días, ahora lo hace en horas cuando llueve, provocando avenidas muy violentas que nos obligan a rediseñar los puentes y las canalizaciones”.

    El cambio climático, amenaza directamente a Chile con sequías e inundaciones, y es uno de los factores que mayor incertidumbre provoca para lograr los objetivos económicos al comprometer el uso del agua e incrementar los fenómenos violentos. “Hemos constituido un equipo de investigación sobre desastres naturales – comenta Bitar -. Chile es un país muy avanzado en cuanto a desastres sísmicos, pero los aluviones son nuevos para nosotros, así como los incendios forestales: tuvimos el pasado febrero uno de los mayores incendios del planeta, que calcinó 600.000 ha de bosques. Tenemos que avanzar mucho más en prevención”.

    Cambios constitucionales e institucionales imprescindibles

    Para que Chile pueda seguir avanzando, Bitar considera como acciones prioritarias un cambio constitucional e institucional, una mejora en la productividad respecto al agua, y la inversión en obras e investigación. Citó algunos proyectos como el de un trasvase del agua sobrante de los ríos del sur a las zonas áridas del norte, y otros de desalinización por energía solar. También señaló la importancia de los proyectos de reciclaje del agua que serán determinantes en toda Centroamérica y Sudamérica.

    El país latinoamericano se encuentra, según Bitar, en un momento clave respecto al agua, después del proceso de privatización realizado durante la pasada dictadura: “El agua es un derecho humano que el Estado y la sociedad tienen que garantizar. Ahora, en Chile, nos preocupamos por este problema que antes nadie consideraba: el Estado entrega este derecho como una concesión renovable y el debate que tenemos es complejo: ¿Qué condiciones deben ponerse para las concesiones; y qué atribuciones tiene el Estado para priorizar el consumo humano en caso de crisis? Estamos trabajando en ello y no es fácil, pues muchas veces los derechos que se entregan superan el agua disponible”.

    El experto chileno señaló que, como en España, existe una gran dispersión institucional en el tema del agua en Chile: “El país tiene 101 cuencas y necesidades que provienen de diferentes sectores: la minería, la industria, la agricultura… ¿Quién decide? ¿Quién coordina? Es preciso un cambio institucional para coordinar las múltiples voces que intervienen en la determinación de las necesidades del agua”.

    Bitar finalizó señalando la importancia de la concienciación ciudadana en todos los procesos del agua: “Es imprescindible que los ciudadanos sepan que el agua es un derecho humano, sepan de la importancia del agua para su casa para la agricultura y para el desarrollo de la sociedad en la que viven. Sólo así podremos seguir investigando y encontrando nuevas soluciones”.

    Para saber más sobre el trabajo de Sergio Bitar, puedes acceder a su estudio Las tendencias mundiales y el futuro de América Latina.

    Reto portador de futuro

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    Por Qué Nos Conviene una Mayor Integración Latinoamericana

    Aug 4 2016 | www.thedialogue.org/resources/por-que-nos-conviene-una-mayor-integracion-latinoamericana/

    Sergio Bitar

    El mundo que viene será más complejo e incierto. Conviene fortalecer las agrupaciones regio-nales para reducir vulnerabilidad ante fenómenos externos, ampliar intercambios de personas, tecnologías, inversiones, productos y servicios, y disponer de mayor poder  negociador de  las normas que regularán las relaciones económicas internacionales.
    ¿Cómo acrecentar la integración latinoamericana para  amortiguar los impactos exógenos  y fortalecer nuestro desarrollo nacional?
    Avizoremos  primero  los  procesos globales en curso. Debemos  anticiparnos al desplazamiento del poder económico hacia el  Asia Pacífico,  la aceleración de los cambios tecnológicos, el cambio climático, los desafíos a la gobernabilidad global, y las nuevas amenazas a la seguridad.
    La respuesta no es aislarse ni pensar que el mercado lo arregla solo. Ante la incertidumbre, algunos dirigentes políticos y sociales propician el nacionalismo,  y pretenden sentirse seguros aislándose. Así acontece hoy, lamentablemente, entre algunos sectores sociales y políticos de  Europa y EEUU. Las migraciones han provocado rechazo  y favorecido posturas defensivas en numerosos países, el más notable ha sido el retiro de Inglaterra de la Unión Europea. A mediano plazo Inglaterra resentirá efectos adversos, disminuirá  su preeminencia como centro financiero, dispondrá  de menos  recursos para su desarrollo tecnológico, inferior incidencia en la conducción de los intereses estratégicos  de Europa y Occidente, e incluso encarará el riesgo que Escocia pida, y esta vez gane, un plebiscito para adquirir su independencia del Reino Unido y volver a la Unión Europea.
    Estos  hechos nos deben hacer reflexionar  a los latinoamericanos sobre la conveniencia de seguir esa corriente en vez de  avanzar en sentido contrario, integrando más a nuestras nacio-nes, y haciéndolo  de manera flexible.
    La caída de los precios de los recursos naturales  reveló una vez más  nuestra vulnerabilidad ante las oscilaciones de la economía china, igual como aconteció  antes con  la crisis financiera de EE.UU. en 2008.  La alta dependencia de recursos naturales con bajo valor agregado y  es-casa diversificación productiva e innovación tecnológica nos torna más dependientes.  En este nuevo contexto, los países latinoamericanos  estamos obligados a desplegar estrategias de especialización,  buscar nuevas formas de financiamiento y de inserción en la economía mun-dial.
    ¿Qué acciones emprender para mejorar el posicionamiento latinoamericano?
    1.- La transformación del MERCOSUR para superar su agotamiento. Creado a comienzos de los años 90,  se concibió como un espacio protegido para estimular la industrialización y acelerar el crecimiento. Consiguió algunos logros, aunque transcurrido  un cuarto de siglo los cuatro países están insatisfechos  y exploran  otros acuerdos internacionales. La presión por flexibilizar y autorizar negociaciones individuales ha aumentado y un objetivo  común es arribar a un acuerdo de libre comercio con la Unión Europea. Si culminara favorablemente esa negociación casi todos los países de la región poseerían acuerdos con la Unión Europea (lo tienen los países de la Alianza del Pacifico y Centro América).
    2.-  Negociar que esas normas refrendadas en los acuerdos con la UE se  otorguen recí-procamente entre todos los países latinoamericanos, lo cual podría significar un salto sus-tancial  en la integración regional.
    3.- La Alianza del Pacífico es un tercer impulsor de la integración. Está en sus inicios y repre-senta una innovación. Trasciende al comercio de bienes, que es una proporción baja (4%) del comercio total de sus miembros y ya el  92% de ese comercio está desgravado. La clave en-tonces es abrir nuevas esferas de coordinación, entre ellas se ha acordado la facilitación de comercio, estandarización de reglas fitosanitarias, digitalización, ventanillas únicas,  normas de origen, movilidad de las personas, becas, investigaciones conjuntas,  acuerdos financieros, coordinación de bolsas de comercio, administración de fondos de pensiones.
    4.- La aproximación entre la Alianza del Pacífico y el Mercosur. En  América del Sur ese entendimiento alentaría la realización de proyectos de infraestructura, corredores bioceánicos, integración eléctrica, integración de infraestructura  digital y  normas comunes para dotar de una gran capacidad de conectividad a toda la región. También surgen acciones conjuntas como la  instalación de oficinas de  comercialización conjuntas en Asia y África, comercialización de alimentos  y otras áreas,   e investigaciones conjuntas para  incorporar más tecnología a las em-presas.
    5.- La articulación de cadenas de valor en torno a sectores de tecnología avanzada. Para lograrlo es indispensable promover la creación de empresas multilatinas, de propiedad latinoa-mericana e instaladas en distintos países de la región y que puedan crear redes regionales de valor.

    Estos factores positivos  deben ser un objetivo político compartido,  que sin desconocer  las dificultades, anteponga metas ambiciosas y actúe con procedimientos expeditos y flexibles. En este sentido la iniciativa chilena de una “convergencia en la diversidad” entre la Alianza y el Mercosur es una línea estratégica que  debemos  proseguir con entusiasmo. Cuando el mundo se torna más incierto y el cambio tecnológico más acelerado ganamos todos coordinando es-fuerzos en América Latina.

    Sergio Bitar
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