I have just come out of teaching the first two intensive days of a Foresight and Social Change course as part of a Graduate Certificate with the University of Adelaide. Teaching this course is a challenge and a revelation; it requires me to be fully aware of my own biases and perspectives. Feedback from students is that the course also changes the way they perceive the world. (And the way they are in the world – several have reported relationship break-ups! No pressure.)
So given my head has been in this foresight space, I have also been reflecting how the idea of compassion fits into an effective futures practice.
This article crossed my social media stream as I was writing this post. Artists Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman use the GPS meta data in Twitter posts to track the location of tweets. They then revisit those locations and take photographs that evoke the emotional content of the original tweet, including by Geolocation and hashtag eg #HowtoKeepaRelationshipWithMe. The photographs are a visual effort to see the world from that different perspective, both locational, and emotional.
Part of the Foresight and Social Change course examines scenario thinking – how to put yourself into worlds created by different drivers of change. How do you then go about creating a business, a life when things change? At first it’s hard to make sense of the world, then it’s hard not to overemphasise the negatives – the things that are worse. But with practice, a good scenario thinker can transplant themselves into any created world and imagine what it is like to live there. Without judgement.
These photographs bu Larson and Shindelman provide a window on empathy – a way for us to perceive the world through someone else’s brief perspective. Can we move ourselves outside our own perspective, and into worlds inhabited by others, so that we truly see their perspectives without judgement, yet with understanding?
[Day 8, 9, 10: Reflection, Sense-making]
* my last Twitter update, photographed in same location later.