User Tools

Site Tools


Looking forward is an ancient practice

Way back when, say 3.3 million years ago, in what is now called the Early Stone Age of Africa, a group of young male lions is on the prowl. The group of Lomekwians1) studying tracks only a few kilometers away are too far to smell or see, and do not exist for the lions.

The Lomekwians, by studying tracks, are not only aware of the existence of the group of lions nearby, but also of a wounded animal, and that could mean a near future with food for the group.

For the Lomekwians, items not currently within sensory perception can exist. Being able to imagine makes all the difference. One has to be able to read patterns of the past to be able to see possible futures and make them come true.

And with imagination, also comes “fear”. One can easily imagine the most horrible scenarios. It may be a good idea to regularly look around while studying tracks. A predator may have circled around and taken a flanking position, a storm may be brewing … “Looking forward”, aka “scenario planning”, can be used to face our fears, protect what we can, and move on with making other futures possible.

Assuming the neo-liberal mindset is a basic expression of incongruent self-interest (“self”, but no genuine “other” or “contextual” awareness), and such self-interest leads to quite predictable behaviour, we can use looking forward, supported by some game theory and systems thinking, to predict the most likely futures and finding deviations from such “official” futures.

Finding futures that do more good than harm to self, life and others isn't easy, but perhaps with some gaming the system


3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya, Sonia Harmand, Nature 521, 310–315, 21 May 2015, doi:10.1038/nature14464
en/facilitation/lookingforward/lomekwians.txt · Last modified: 2020/07/04 10:51 by Digital Dot