I have always been interested in trying to understand our current context when viewed from a future perspective. Of course this is an impossible task until that is time travel makes it way into our reality! However in the same way we look at the past and ask with a degree of incredulity, ‘what were they thinking?’ – what will future generations say of our era? How will they view our preoccupations and concerns from their vantage point?
I call this ‘flat-earth thinking’. In other words, what are the issues we are dealing with today that, when viewed with the benefit of hindsight, will be seen as flat-earth thinking?
At the time when the flat-earth perspective ruled, those who first suggested an alternative reality were considered deranged and in some quarters, heretics. Being branded a heretic carried with it severe consequences given the role that the church played at the time. The outcome of being condemned a heretic by the church would be to be burnt at the stake. That would be enough to make one think twice before going against the grain!
Calling out contemporary flat-earth thinking still carries with it a stigma and exclusion and may even, in extreme circumstances, still possess a life-threatening menace. Certainly it is likely to have have career inhibiting consequences and as a result, there seem to be few willing to run the risks involved in challenging current ‘wisdom’ and the prevailing worldviews whatever they may be. However, it is a great question to be considering: what constitutes flat-earth thinking in how we are going about seeing and doing things?
If we were to pause more regularly and ask this question, it might have the effect of creating greater innovation, providing clearer insights and allow us to move forward more confidently. It might serve to enhance the debate, even change the debate and free us from getting stuck as we so often do when it comes to contentious issues. I suspect that for the church, current flat-earth thinking can be seen in the current debate swirling around the gender issue. In the same way that the church (for the most part) sided with slavery (and in South Africa with Apartheid), the majority stance and viewpoint on the gender issue will, in the sands of time, be seen for what it is – flat-earth thinking!
But enough about the church, what about big business? What are the prevailing mind-sets that constitute flat-earth thinking?
I think there are many and it seems that most have to do with either technology or global geo-economic shifts that are taking place. Here is a thought: flat-earth thinking flourishes when we are unable (or unwilling) to move away from dogma. What is ‘dogma’? Perceived truth. And therein is the rub. When I (we) think we have a corner on the ‘truth’, what is there to debate?
This notion of flat-earth thinking deserves greater consideration and with a TomorrowToday ezine deadline looming, I think I might just use that outlet to think and write further on the topic.
So what is your flat-earth thinking?