The 8th Sense
This project attempts to portray an inconvenient truth regarding the State of the Art of the field of Futures Studies, as representation of our collective futures. Although voices of concern and voices of protest are clearly expressing their interpretations of situations, the field as a whole attempts to silence and censor those critical voices, rather than to embrace them as a possibility to improve. It was already Zygmunt Bauman in one of his sociological masterpieces, namely, ‘Modernity and the Holocaust’, who pointed out that the social construction of radical exclusion, which systemizes a fabrication and prosecution of non-affiliated members, is particularly an invention of modern times. In postnormal times, however, we have to be thoughtfully aware, particularly, of the implications and the meaning of those power imbalances. The psychological impact of a propagated neoliberal politics of austerity, and politics of disaffiliation, manifests and worsens ailments like humiliation and shame, fear and distrust, instability and insecurity, isolation and loneliness, being/feeling trapped and powerless. This has devastating consequences on our future, and the future of Futures Studies. Unfortunately, Futures Studies incorporates in its current form characteristics of a cult, and is itself not a tool of empowerment. It is in its current form essentially in support of Neofeudalism and Neoabsolutism, rather than being a safe space in education, including democratic accountability. It has apparently been assimilated by a political power game that seeks to present the lie as truth, the lie as a favor to those who are lied to. Some Futurists are more equal than other Futurists. Some act as gatekeepers of a suicidal status quo. Those power imbalances are a serious problem and don’t come without various forms of violence. Witnesses have here a crucial responsibility. If those various forms of violence in structures of power imbalances are ignored or legitimized, or if in some cases perpetrators even receive acknowledgement for their utilization of psychological violence, then exacerbation and malignancy is certain. This development apparently correlates with an ongoing ecocide, whose relationship is obviously not accidental, because it implies a vicious generational conflict, of those who are consuming the future, from those who are fighting and rebelling to be able to have a future. Only open and transparent discussions as well as consistent rejection of exclusion, discrimination, mobbing, and various psychological forms of violence can lead to the disappearance of such forms.
We thus suggest that the future of Futures Studies relies on interoception. Interoceptive Futures Studies is a more nuanced form of sense-making that begins with the sensory system, which helps us to assess internal feelings. Interpretation of emotions is crucial for comprehending the complexity in group dynamics as well as individual ingenuity, creativity, and originality of exponential sense-making. More broadly, it relates to all physiological tissues that relay a signal to the central nervous system about the current state of the body. We need the sensory acknowledgment to alert us for what needs attention, to keep us aware of our multiple selfs and the feedback loops between us and the social space we are enmeshed. We have been treating the complexity in emotionality like an enemy to our mandatory positivity.
If we consider the four layers of human beings, identity and meaning (4), conceptual and linguistic (3), emotional (2), and the body (1), we are basically starting at the core of our body sensations and eventually work our way towards the outer layers to connect the dots and re-arrange unfavorable misalignments. Understanding the signals from the perspective of our body is the most futuristic Futures Consciousness one can possibly learn to tap into, and to learn to harness. By doing that, we are essentially practicing Exponential Super Sensitivity (ESS) und Emotional Enhanced Vividness (EEV) through the interrogations, observations, and multi-dimensional interpretations established by Interoceptive Futures Studies. Whether it might enable us to end the archaic form of a theater of unintended consequences, or emotional and intellectual paralysis, depends on the potential to scale those practices, as well as depending on the capacity to listen more carefully to the signals. However, it should be clear that everything else might otherwise entrench us further into hyper cognition and disembodiment, leaving us vulnerable to abuse and manipulation, instead of setting us free. Nothing less than the emancipatory ambition of Futures Studies is at stake.