Our Beliefs and Values

We Believe:

  • Foresight begins with our visions for today. We must strive for Quality of Vision, beginning with our next few seconds, minutes, and hours (“Today’s Foresight”) to live a high-quality life. The better we can each foresee our Probable, Possible, Preferred, and Preventable (“Four P’s”) futures, today, tomorrow, and over the long-term, the better our lives, teams, and organizations will become. 
  • Accelerating change is real. Humanity is now gaining scientific and technological superpowers, most obviously in AI. We must learn how to regulate and use them better, to distribute technology-created wealth and power more equitably, and to continually improve the three pillars of democratic society, self-actualized Citizens, the Market, and the State.

  • Adaptive foresight requires good values (“normative foresight”).  Empathy and Ethics (“E&E”) are our highest-priority goals and values. They are at the center of all adaptive human networksEmpathy (connectedness) allows us to understand, respect, love, and be kind to others, in all our astonishing diversity of minds. Ethics (interdependence) allow us to find and express feelings, thoughts, habits, norms, and rules that create more goodness (progress, general adaptiveness) in ourselves, our relationships, and the world.

  • Our most adaptive visions balance strategic optimism (finding shared Preferred futures) with defensive pessimism (diagnosing and avoiding Preventable futures). There is always good and bad change happening around us at the same time. We must not only imagine protopias (shared visions of measurably better “future places”), but recognize and fight against dystopias (states of maladaptiveness, in comparison to our ideals).

  • Good foresight begins with good hindsight and insight. We must strive to know the relevant past and present (insight), in order to better foresee the adaptive future. Our past and future thinking should also be kept in service to the present. The only benefit of both hindsight and foresight is that each can improve our current insights and actions.

  • Good leadership starts with self-leadership, and unconditional self-acceptance and self-compassion for our strengths and faults as we know them. Good leaders strive to improve their visions and actions in humble, honest, and mindful ways.

  • To be human is to use three great giftsForesightTechnology, and Empathy and Ethics (“Head, Hand, and Heart”) to become something more than our merely biological self. Technology has always been a key element of the human story, even before H. habilis emerged in Africa 2M years ago. As the futurist Buckminster Fuller said, human beings are verbs, not nouns. In this 21st century, we can and will use science, technology, empathy, ethics, and foresight to improve the well-being of all life, even as those improvements necessarily change some aspects of the nature of life. 

  • We owe an incalculable debt to our natural world, to the evolutionary and developmental (“evo-devo”) processes that created it, and to all the generations of life and humanity that have come before us. Each has had beings striving to do the best they can, with what they had, failing, and making sacrifices, to create the complex world we live in today. 

  • Humanity’s progress has been incredible over the last 6,000 years of civilization. We think humanity as a whole has improved its adaptive abilities in at least six foundational ways: Innovation, Intelligence, Empathy, Ethics, Strength, and Sustainability. In our Guide, we call these special six the “IES Goals”.  Advancing all of these six abilities, across our entire human network, and managing their conflicts, is our best definition for how we increase general adaptiveness. 

  • It is Networks (of genes, metabolism, cells, biosystems, neurons, ecosystems), never any specific Individual or Group, at every systems level, that have always been the most generally adaptive in any selection environment. When viewed as a single network, life has been immortal, and continually growing its IES capabilities, for 3.5 billion years. Astonishingly, even the five major extinction events that life has experienced to date have been hormetic (a stress that strengthens) for life’s networks. Each catastrophe actually accelerated the growth of life’s network complexity and IES abilities. The natural world has many lessons to teach us about the design, management and future of good human networks

  • Our world is slowly waking up to its exponential promise. We are learning to value intelligent optimismempathyethics, individual empowermentevidence-based thinking, and free expression. We are learning to use ever-smarter machines, platforms, and crowds (“collective intelligence”) to improve our foresight, innovation, and strategy.

  • We are presently in a scientific and technological Renaissance, but we haven’t yet had a political, economic, or cultural Renaissance. There is a growing gap between our power and our wisdom. Yet we may soon know how common life is in our universe, and we may even gain a scientific understanding of our place and purpose in the cosmos, and why and how empathy and ethics are so important to human thriving.

  • Much good work remains to be done to make conditions better for all life on Earth. Many problems and challenges must be addressed. The great majority of these have been created by our own poorly foresighted and maladaptive past and present actions. Yet right here, right now is a very special and truly amazing time to be alive. We can remember to be grateful for our lives, and for the adaptive foresight we can develop together, day-by-precious-day. Thanks for reading, and please email us if you have any suggestions for improvement of these beliefs.