Prioritising the “Grand Challenges”

Just to capture a post by long-time correspondent Lee Beaumont, on “Prioritising the Grand Challenges“.

Leland Beaumont

Whilst my agenda is more meta, more abstract, than most, I have been conscious of many others’ focus on the challenges / crises facing us in the every-day world. Poly-crises, omni-crisis, you name them and have settled recently on the meta-crisis prefix (after Rowson) for obvious reasons. What we call things, the names and terms we use, what we care about, matter far more than any objective definitions.

My abstract / meta interests is therefore deliberate and unashamed – a belief that our whole collective decision-making, individual and social (ie cybernetics or free-democratic governance) operates in an environment dominated by an embedded but misguided worldview. [You just have to look at the fake-furore around our illustrious (UK) PM “rowing back” on environmental commitments (not).]

The US “Fulcrum Platform” on which Lee’s piece is published is not surprisingly also aimed at “repairing our democracy”. [The article is actually Chat-GPT generated from Lee’s Wikiversity materials, but seems to have Lee’s blessing?]

Let me know what you think of Lee’s priorities.


2 thoughts on “Prioritising the “Grand Challenges””

  1. Beaumont argues that certain social, economic,and political challenges deserve priority over other, unnamed challenges. He suggests that we can address them by “working collectively and adopting a global perspective.” To my mind, the real challenge is awakening the consciousness to do this. I think this dovetails with your interest in overcoming “an embedded but misguided worldview.”

    Perhaps his idea is that if we notice and emphasize the challenges he has in mind, the required worldview will develop. I’m not so sure. They can be noticed from within the current worldview, and tackled in its misguided way as essentially technological problems, to be solved by pushing the right economic or political levers. This only perpetuates the underlying cause, which is an alienation from the planet and ourselves, expressed in our attitude to the world as full of “things” we can manipulate. Only when we understand the world as full of beings will we move from an attitude of manipulative fixes, to the kind of participatory engagement needed to truly solve what’s gone wrong.

    So for me, the single challenge to be given priority is changing the embedded worldview. I think this is what Iain McGilchrist has aptly expressed in the title of his latest work, The Matter with Things (not that I’ve read it).

  2. Absolutely AJ – we agree on that more general “meta” priority, to fix the embedded worldview as you put it, to improve decision-making about all the other specific “crises” (and other everyday decisions that create or reinforce future crises).

    (BTW added a note – the article was actually extracted by Chat-GPT from Lee’s existing Wikiversity writings.)

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