Dreaming utopias 

 19 January 2021

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I'm a Trekkie. Always have been. Kirk was ok, but from Picard on I was all in. Together with my mother I spent days in front of the TV and followed Janeway, Sisko & Co. I watched almost everything there was and even today the Star Trek series are my argument for Prime and Netflix.

Utopias and dystopias

I was fascinated by two things.

  1. The ever philosophical examination of the questions: What is "right"? What do values mean? Ethical weighing of life, freedom, self-determination, influence. The solution was often not simple, but required a new perspective on the subject.
  2. I was excited by the distant future that was drawn. A confederation of cultures that had largely overcome money and drew motivation and meaning from advancing themselves, humanity, and others, supported by technology en masse. Of course, all was not fine in these narratives either - hierarchies, egalitarianism, and despite "unknown life forms and new civilizations" there was little individuality or diversity. But the utopia Gene Roddenberry created fired my mind and made me curious. Much more so than dystopias, be they zombie apocalypses, pandemics 😬 or alien invasions.

Technological: ✔️Humanity: in Progress...

As we move into the future, things are happening at a rapid pace in terms of technology. Tablets are as normal in our everyday lives as Jean Luc Picard, we can (more or less) talk to computers and communicate with the whole world at the "push of a button". And a lot has happened under the hood as well: great advances in battery technology thanks to the e-car boom and quantum computers with immense potential. With Vantablack, we currently have the blackest black that absorbs 99.965% of incident light. The California Life Company (Calico - a Google sister) is researching how we can live longer. Boston Dynamics, with specimens like Atlas and Spot, is showing what amazingly organic motion coordination is now part of the robot repertoire. iPhones and iPads now have a lidar system on board, in addition to top-of-the-line cameras, to scan the 3D environment. Autonomous driving continues to get more robust and safer ... One might be tempted to say, "Works for us."

Technological development has long since left us humans behind in terms of speed. We are just not that fast. Evolution has its own laws of development and time. We continue to seek food, shelter, belonging and more recently meaning. Change needs a crisis or time with us...there is still room for improvement. However, a look at how we live together - be it in families, businesses, communities or Facebook comment columns - shows that we have very different issues these days than "evolving ourselves and humanity and exploring new worlds".

But the pressure is great! We are constantly rebuked or blame ourselves: "Get out of your comfort zone! Change yourself! Go with the times! Be more agile! Do this! Do that!" - But all this takes time, which we don't give ourselves. A guilty conscience is inevitable.

Federation air in everyday kerfuffle

Of course, we don't have to do anything at first. Not be agile. Not vegan. Not thinking. Let's leave it as it is. System preservation. In all the daily fuss, we now far too rarely think outside the box. Instead we focus on the hair in our pea soup and complain that there is too little salt in it ... or too much.

Lifting the gaze and dreaming a utopia for the future not only prevents a stiff neck and mind. Bringing the focus to infinite expanses changes the thinking and the moment.

We should think much more often about how we actually want to live. What utopia do we want for ourselves? And it doesn't even have to be about a federation of planets. Let's clean up on a small scale. With us, in our context and our companies. What do we want the future to look like? How do we want to work? How should the relationships in the team be? How do we deal with our products and services? And concretely. Just scratch the yellowed corporate vision off the foyer wall and: dream. Expand the mind.

And poof...before you know it, the first step towards the future is already taken.

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