Newsletter Spring 2023

April 2023 Newsletters

What. A. World.

These last few weeks we have been showered by an incredible mix of the futuristic and atavistic: the eruption of generative AI, continued asylum crisis in Brussels, no more Crédit Suisse, untold numbers of soldiers perished in and around Bakhmut, IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report saying the window for +1.5°C is almost closed ...  
The word that has been tossed around in our recent conversations: Naiveté. The dictionary (how quaint!) offers a large number of synonyms: childlikeness, trustfulness, naturalness. Which can tilt into gullibility, greenness, blindness. Is naiveté a defensible posture vis-à-vis the polycrisis or permacrisis that we are currently experiencing? Is it possible from this attitude to bring something meaningful into the world? There is no final answer to this question. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) shows us two sides of the coin. In his visionary writings he foregrounds the capacity to not-knowing, and the desire to approach a thing or a human being without prejudice, as prerequisites for any initiation into truth. In the run-up to World War II, however, his own political naiveté led him to put himself at the service of the Nazi regime. Seeking truth and justice through innocence may lead us astray.
What helps, perhaps, is being part of a congenial and supportive learning community of individuals who model active engagement with these risks and dilemmas in their own daily behaviour. At shiftN we - in relationship with our companions, families, colleagues, clients and professional partners - try to offer such a learning environment. Facing the tensions of transition with naiveté, enfolded, somewhere, in that crumpled space between courage, curiosity and compassion.

News from the shiftN Lab

  • A round-up of recent work in the health care area.
  • International Certified Future Strategist Edition 2023 is running well. Dates for 2024 will be released soon.
  • Relevant skill building opportunities, offered by partners: IFF's Competence in Complexity program, School of Systems Change's Basecamp Health and Constellating Change programs.
  • A new series of Alive in the Anthropocene talks and conversations is in the making. First appointments: a panel discussion on 'working against the grain, for the greater and smaller good' (19 May) and a talk by Boaventura de Sousa Santos on his new book 'From the Pandemic to Utopia' (9 June).
  • From 27-29 September we will be in Tangier (Morocco) for an immersion in the world of Tamkeen. Systemic change emerging from a structural coupling between 'garden and gardener'. We will invite a small group of guests to join us. Feel free to let us know if you are interested.
  • For the systemic change work we want to do we need new partnership models with clients, away from the transactional 'supplier-client' template. Who wants to join to experiment with this?
  • We'll be teaming up with futures lab SER in the southwest of France to create a place-based regenerative island, a garden for the 21st century.

Image: Untitled (2022), gouache, ink, bleach on canvas, by Witold Vandenbroeck