About the Plurality University
Although past centuries have demonstrated the ability of human societies to transform, today we seem unable to confront the nature and magnitude of the challenges ahead. Climate change urges us to reconsider our role as « masters and possessors » of nature; technological advances challenge our ability to command our own creations. We have neither the tools nor the collective mechanisms to deal with the anthropological aspects of such transitions – let alone resolve the contradictions which oppose them.
Our hypothesis is that humanity will only find its ability to take control its own future by explicitly building on the power of imaginaries. However, we should not hope to find a single grand narrative for the future, any more than we can allow ourselves to passively adopt the “singularity” narrative currently arising from Silicon Valley. We need a multiplicity of stories and other imaginary productions from every cardinal point in our multipolar world. And we need these imaginaries to equip us and enable us to
- Imagine the worlds that come next: mobilize the power of myths and imagination to represent prospective transitions; explore different, out of the box futures; and expand the scope of alternatives.
- Act in situations of radical uncertainty: Produce and provide tools that help people, organizations and society at large discuss possible futures; embrace controversy as a means of exploration and a way to challenge our assumptions; make choices, experiment and take action in an uncertain and diverse world.
This intuition is shared by a number of researchers, innovators, artists, sci-fi writers, utopians, futures thinkers, speculative designers. Throughout the world, their practices and productions equip us with fertile soil … provided they are known and exploited.
The Plurality University (U+) will therefore go on a mission to detect, connect, and federate people and organizations that mobilize the resources of the imaginary to explore alternative futures. With two main objectives:
- To make these practices and outputs more accessible and useable for decision-makers, professionals, the media and students;
- To build upon the richness and diversity of imaginaries of the future in order to shift public debate, expectations and aspirations – thereby widening the scope of alternatives available to business, public actors and society at large.
No single organization can carry out such a mission: U+ should therefore see itself as a network, an archipelago, an inclusive, open and collective endeavor.
2018 is the Plurality University’s “Year Zero”. We will spend it experimenting, creating the network and, along with its initial members, collectively building its foundations.