The crucial importance of positive images for the future

Cynicism is endemic today. Few people have positive long-term expectations. This lack of hopeful images has important consequences. It is unlikely that we would have encountered today's rising rates of anxiety, melancholy, suicide and violence if people had been more optimistic about the future. And we are faced with the easily proven fact that cynicism too easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If our future is to be fulfilling, we need compelling, practical photos of what that fulfillment would look like and by what means it might be achieved.

In my recent book , Insight: Creative Systems Theory's Radical New Picture of Human Possibility , I describe how most of the constructive images that exist ultimately fail the task. This is certainly the case with utopian statements. Techno-utopian claims promise that new innovations will save us. But we all know only too well that new technologies, as often as they offer benefits, also put us at risk.

Invention can only work in response to the degree that we are able to use inventions to good effect. We also discover utopian photographs of a non-profane nature, often particularly inspiring for certain people. But they end up reproducing more wishful thinking than anything that can represent actual guidance. And they usually suffer from a particular deficiency. You tend to attract individuals who share certain idealized ideological beliefs. We don't need contemporary variations on the traditional "chosen one" narratives of our time.

We also come across more proclamations of “We have the answer” every day, for example in the claims of a country's many political events. But these demands tend to be more short-term, linked to the subsequent political or financial cycle. And there is a particular sign that we are dealing with perspectives of a partial and therefore ultimately restricted nature. I've written extensively about how the fact that conflicting ideological beliefs juxtapose as polar opposites means that such ideas not only will essentially fail to offer solutions of any kind, but can also fail on the broader and extra-systemic issues that eventually need to be addressed.

The “artistic methodological concept of cultural maturity” offers a different picture that effectively takes us beyond these limits. Instead of being utopian, we can see in it a "new common sense". “Cultural maturity” describes a developmentally predicted next chapter in human history, a vital “growing up” as a species. And in the context of the broad picture of the theory of purpose, change and interrelationships in human systems, it looks particularly to the long term. In fact, I have argued that changes in "cultural maturity" might mark not only the beginning of a necessary later cultural chapter, but the turning of the front pages of a new kind of history that should define our human task. ultimate.

The proven simple truth that the idea of "cultural maturity" indicates a way forward helps with hope. But beyond that, the fact that it is a notion of development means that a positive future is not something we have to create from scratch – at least its potential is built into development. into who we are. Creative Methods Theory (CST) describes how "cultural maturity" is a predicted product of a selected type of cognitive reorganization, what it calls the "integrative meta-prospect".

The concept also describes very specific new human capacities that correspond to this cognitive reorganization and those that would be necessary to deal effectively with the great challenges facing humanity, and that we will put into practice. These skills include the flexibility to approach problems of any kind with a new kind of systemic wholeness, a greater ability to tolerate life's very real uncertainties and complexities; an increased ability to recognize real-world limitations and successfully assess risk, and an ability to better understand how human truths have evolved and the importance of context. They also embody the power to use identity and relationships in all kinds of radically new, more comprehensive ways for the whole person/system.

But just because the adaptations of "cultural maturity" are embedded in us as a potential, and the completely new skills that can be acquired with them could be practiced, does not mean that this desired "growing up" in our predictions and our actions is inevitable. We may well fail in what these modifications ask of us. Due to the nature of development processes, it can be difficult to fathom that a whole new chapter could exist from where we are right now. And successfully meeting the demands of this new chapter essentially challenges us. Although all “cultural maturity” changes eventually move us forward, we can find them confusing and disturbing in the short term. Often, right now, we react to their beginnings less than positively, a kind of reaction that the principle of the creative system calls temporary absurdity.

But for the essential task of providing a positive image - compelling and actionable - in the long term, I manage to use the concept of "cultural maturity" in a way that no other way of thinking has succeeded before. In fact, when the notion of "cultural maturity" - or something very, very similar - isn't a priori correct, I find it exhausting to be ultimately optimistic. The concept of “cultural maturity” not only affirms that there is a path to follow, it means that the result could be not only optimistic but profound if we are able to face what this path asks of us, in order to succeed.