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Stepping into, or through, the Mirror: embodying alternative scenario patterns

Explores the role of scenario building to enable coherent action and the challenge of reflexivity.


Stepping into, or through, the Mirror
Remedial capacity indicators
Avoidance processes
Lack of self-reflexivity in the face of speculative flattery
Cognitive glass ceiling
Requisite catalytic effect
Polysensorial pattern-breaking
Virtuality as the ultimate illusion?
Game-playing and facilitation
Seizing the moment
References

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Prepared as a contribution to a symposium commenting on Graham Molitor (Scenarios: Worth the Effort?) and published in an abridged version in Journal of Futures Studies: epistemology, methods, applied and alternative futures, 13, 3, February 2009, pp. 129-138
Urgent relevance
Remedial capacity indicators
Avoidance processes
Lack of self-reflexivity in the face of speculative flattery
Cognitive glass ceiling
Requisite catalytic effect
Polysensorial pattern-breaking
Virtuality as the ultimate illusion?
Game-playing and facilitation
Seizing the moment
References


Urgent relevance

The symposium lead article by Graham Molitor (Scenarios: Worth the Effort? Journal of Futures Studies, 2009) is especially relevant at this time when increasing effort is being made to elicit a coherent response to major strategic challenges for which some use of scenario-building will clearly be made. The challenge is all the more evident in that it is characterized by a period of questionable credibility with respect to those from whom authoritative advice might be expected to be forthcoming, whether it be (inter)governmental authorities, academia, corporate focal groups or civil society (Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "credit crunch" focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset, 2008).

Underlying the challenge is a continuing assumption that somehow a degree of consensus can be achieved amongst "rational" people as to the best way forward. Failing that, it is assumed that those with the power to do so can ensure that a degree of operational agreement can be imposed -- as is evident in the EU response to the democratic Irish "No" vote on the Lisbon Reform Treaty. Such assumptions run the risk of being proved to be extremely naive.

There is a sense in which underlying cognitive and behavioural processes are being ignored, even when simplistically framed as cultural preferences. The urgent question now is what is required to enable coherent action and what part do scenarios play, or fail to play, in this process.


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