The future according to mainstream media is bleak . Our menu for future options has us being killed by machines, eaten by zombies, and generally facing the end of humanity as we know it through some other calamity like a new plague. According to them, the future is dystopic and not very pretty.
What’s the impact of this? Well, how we imagine the future has an impact on our actions today. After all, if the only future we imagine is grim, why bother doing anything to change it?
We need solutions for all the issues we are challenged by – climate crisis, social and economic disparities, pollution, waste – the list goes on and on. Where are those solutions going to come from? We at Bold.ly NOW are clear that it comes from the imagination. The needed solutions will not come from small tweaks to the current conditions. While ongoing improvement is needed, radical new ideas are required to overcome the major threats facing us today.
The human capacity of imagination, the divine spark of creativity, is the essential ingredient for all of us to thrive. If you look at any great advance in society or technology, it started with someone imagining a new future. And then others refine that imagination, and others prototype and test until the imagined future has become a reality. All of the stories we have published in the many issues of this e-magazine of PROOF of a Thriving Future are the outcomes that started with someone imagining a new future.
But why is imagination so important?
Our brain will only act on what it can see. And, the brain doesn’t discern between what comes in through our eyes and what we imagine. If we want to take action on generating a new future, the brain has to see it in our imagination. If it can’t see it, it won’t take any action to bring it about. If we’re not imagining new futures, our actions are then limited by what’s come before, from our past including all of the limitation and failings of our past. Only when we imagine a new future, a thriving future, can we take action and make it real.
In that light, imagining a thriving future for humanity and taking action to realizing that future is the essential element creating a world that works for everyone.
In my dream, the angel shrugged and said, if we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination. And then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand
This is where you come in. Your imagined vision of a thriving future for humanity, and a thriving life for yourself, provides significant leverage in bringing about that future.
You may ask: “Why me? Aren’t there people working on all the things that need to be fixed?”
To answer that, let’s imagine something. Imagine that everyone on the planet spends time each day imagining what a thriving future for humanity looks like, and what their life looks like inside that thriving future. Imagine how that would influence and shape how they interact with their families, their work, their communities. Imagine the conversations they would have with the people in their lives, including random strangers who are also imagining a thriving future.
Now, imagine yourself in that future. How would you see the world? What would you be talking about?
You see, you are important and even essential to a thriving future for humanity.
For example, if you imagine a solution for sustainable energy, that imagining provides fertile ground for a sustainable energy future to sprout and blossom, whether or not you are the one that imagines the solution. You taking the time to imagine a thriving future for humanity (and yourself) creates that fertile ground. And if we all do this, then solutions become exponential.
We can do no great things – only small things with great love.
– Mother Theresa
Thankfully, there are people around the world at work on the critical issues facing us. And, it takes all of us. If you and I merely take a few minutes each week imagining what a thriving future looks like, engage others in that imagining, we are contributing to that thriving future becoming a reality. That imagining will begin to shape our actions and the actions of people we speak to.
In this issue of PROOF we highlight people who are using the power of imagination to generate a thriving future and provide resources for how we can all up-level our own imagination.
Join us in imagining (and acting on and making real) a thriving future for humanity.
& The Bold.ly NOW Team
Proof 31 – The Power of Imagination
In the News:
What We’re Watching : The Future of Imagination
Thinking about the far-off future isn’t just an exercise in intellectual curiosity. It’s a practical skill that, as new research reveals, has a direct neurological link to greater creativity, empathy, and optimism. In this session from master game designer and acclaimed futurist Jane McGonigal, you’ll learn three practical habits that will increase the power of your imagination in a way that can shape your actions to bringing about a new future.
What We’re Reading – The World Could Be Otherwise
In frightening times, we wish the world could be otherwise. With a spark of imagination, it can be. Imagination helps us see what’s hidden, and it shape-shifts reality’s roiling, twisting waves. In this inspiring reframe of a classic Buddhist teaching, Zen teacher Norman Fischer writes that the paramitas, or “six perfections”—generosity, ethical conduct, patience, joyful effort, meditation, and understanding—can help us reconfigure the world we live in. Ranging from our everyday concerns about relationships, ethics, and consumption to our artistic inspirations and broadest human yearnings, Fischer depicts imaginative spiritual practice as a necessary resource for our troubled times.
What We’re Listening to – Pure Imagination
Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it!
Yes, Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka takes us into the world of imagination and what we can create. It may be that the freedom provided by imagination is exactly what we need to change the world. Take a listen!
-The Bold.ly Now Team
BOLD.LY NOW is a movement of co-creative up-levelers who have a burning desire to step free of our collapsing world & take the most daring leap forward to a thriving world.
PROOF is a Generative Futures Initiative Project
The Generative Futures Initiative
Generating a Thriving Future for All