Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
University of Earth

December 1992 | Draft

Summary of Futures Concerns

- / -


Prepared at the Union of International Associations
See overview of other biographical documents


Concern with the future needs to be anchored in recognition of the full cross-cultural spread of views on both the incommensurable problems to which different groups are sensitive, and the many value systems and approaches to human development through which sensitivity to such problems is engendered. It is the contrasting understandings of human development which "generate" apparently competing futures.

Since the early 1970s Judge has unsuccessfully lobbied for the computer generation of comprehensible relationship maps of the networks of problems and organizations he is responsible for documenting. He sees this as offering the missing complement to conventional approaches to global modelling which have failed to deal with the cognitive problems of comprehension of complex systems. For lack of appropriate computer resources, he has become increasingly interested in the complementarity between such (left-brain) "subway map" style presentations and the (right-brain) images and metaphors that may be used as a guide to formulation of more appropriate personal and group strategies. He has recently proposed the development of "structural outliners" to provide a non-linear complement to the text outliners basic to the creative process of conceptual and organizational articulation on computer.

In the light of worsening world conditions, and the continuing failure of institutions and disciplines to respond to the challenge of the times, Judge sees most hope in the catalytic cognitive role of metaphor in reframing problems, strategies and understanding of human development. Much of his recent writing on futures-related themes has focused on the relevance of metaphor to more appropriate forms of governance and organization design. He is currently researching the relevance of insights from poetry and rhythm for cyclically sensitive styles of management appropriate to non-western cultures.

In his view, governance in the future should become a process of ensuring the emergence and movement of richer guiding metaphors through the information system of society and their embodiment in organizational form when appropriate. The merit of this view of governance is that it does not call for an improbably radical transformation of institutions. Rather it calls for a change in the way of thinking about what is circulated through society's information systems as the conceptual catalyst for viable action. No single metaphor is however adequate, each has its basic flaws which need to be compensated by insights through an ecology of complementary metaphors.

He has repeatedly argued for more innovative conferences, especially on futures themes, and has implemented messaging techniques in international conferences to that end. He views conferences as metaphors of the social context, both as representations of the dramatic failures to innovate and as laboratories for innovative social experiments.

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