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Feral Futures: Zen and Aesthetics

Ramírez, Rafael and Ravetz, Jerome (2011) Feral Futures: Zen and Aesthetics. Futures, 43 (4). pp. 478-487.


Studies of ‘futures’ have hitherto focused on those that are predictable and ‘tame’, and on those that are unpredictable and ‘wild’. Here we consider a new class, the ‘feral’; which are expectations that things might be made worse by risk-based actions. The type case is the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, where operatives assumed that what was unfolding was of a sort described in their manual, and discovered too late that responses based on that assumption were making the situation worse. In this paper we review the idea of ‘feral’ and how it applies to futures, and discuss the different modes of engagement (or non-engagement) with feral futures. To make feral futures manageable, we suggest two ideas from other spheres of activity. Zen is a practice and philosophy which enables us to drop our preconceptions and thereby to respond to emerging, unprecedented situations. Aesthetics articulates a particular way to sense and appreciate realities intuitively, again enabling a direct response. The combination of Zen and aesthetics with scenario practice in the tradition of Pierre Wack provides a promising mode of response to emerging feral futures.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Risk taking; Futures; Models; Engagement
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2012 20:40
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:06

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