Sunday Questions From Dorothea

Dorothea, our collaborator from Bloomington 2036, has sent a video message every day now for the past 3 days. Another showed up this morning. There appears to be a small glitch in the video, but you should be able to make out what she is saying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0UBAccRMbE

She seems to be asking two big questions of us about our proposed plans for nudging the future of Bloomington in a positive direction:

  1. What resources are needed to sustain your plan for 25 years?
  2. How do you match your passion to what others need from you?

A few thoughts…

Resources and Sustaining Plans

As individuals, as groups, cities and even as countries, we humans are pretty good at coming up with ideas, but not always great at carrying those ideas to fruition. In some cases it is due to a lack of planning ahead to allocate financial, time, physical or other types of resources. In other cases it is because we have difficulty foregoing short-term benefits for longer term ones–something studied in the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, which tested children’s abilities to avoid eating one marshmallow for a period of time in order to get a second marshmallow later. ┬áThere are many things that help us to do this better, like creating collective rules and norms to guide behavior, maintaining stronger shared visions for how our actions today affect tomorrow’s future, and creating trust between people who are working toward common goals.

What sort of things do you think we can do in Bloomington today to ensure that our plans for tomorrow are sustained long enough to have the desired effect? Related to this, what can we also do to make sure we don’t sustain efforts that are not having the desired effect?

Matching Passions

Matching our passions and skills to what other people need in a situation is not easy. It requires a great deal of self-knowledge and other-knowledge. First i have to know what I am passionate about or what skills i possess. I then have to know what others really need. There are many ways of knowing. For the last hundred years (at least), we have privileged more scientific ways of knowing, which focus on observable evidence. To scientifically know my passions, i might look to an expert to study my patterns of behavior, administer personality tests, skill assessments. To know other people’s needs, i might look at statistical accounts of current needs in my community. But there are other (and i would suggest equally important) ways of knowing myself and others, like self-reflection, community engagement, artistic expression, etc.

What are some of the different practical ways that we can consistently match people’s passions and skills with the needs of others in Bloomington in the next 25 years?

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About christian briggs

Co-founder of SociaLens and PhD student. Former New Englander and Hoosier wanna-be.
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