The session at Square 2 began with a mind-expanding challenge from futurist Monica Bielskyte, who powerfully demonstrated to the 500+ leaders in the audience the need to rethink the way we envision the future.
“Those who control the fantasy, control the future,'' Bielskyte said.
Bielskyte called for a new framework for shaping the future: protopia. An approach involving plurality, community narrative, evolution of values, and a celebration of life.
My definition of protopia is: proactive and prototype. A collective endeavour of an involved future vision,” outlined Bielskyte.
Her approach starts with a crucial reality: humans are both highly social and diverse on many dimensions, such as age, gender, culture and physical ability, among others. Solving our current problems means we must solve for the future of a diverse population.
“Protopia involves plurality, community narrative, evolution of values, and a celebration of life.” said Bielskyte. “Our diversity is our wealth!”
Bielskyte went on to explore the social nature of humans, as both an asset and a key reason why inclusivity must be a central element of future solutions. “We must become the hero’s journey”: the “us” will become the journey,” she said. “I am human because I belong, I participate, I share. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so - an evolution of value.”
Collaboratively developing a shared future generates both material and spiritual benefits, noted Bielskyte. “We are not machines, we are social and creative, playful animals! We can all engage in collective learning, cognitive spirituality that allows us to connect.”
Closing out a compelling speech, the futurist emphasised that the way forward was clear: “We don’t have much of an option - if we don’t strive for this, we face mass extinction. All of us will come next. There is no real peace without justice. We must embrace protopia.”