We live in a world of conflict and a move away from tribal, traditional , and religious values to the international culture of individualism. As the main focus of millions increasingly becomes the expansion of wealth by building on a specialized field of knowledge and the production of money making commodities, there grows the need for an understanding of the direction of these trends and how they impact our vision of the future. But this new world of globalized commodities and technologies has also made it possible for persons of varied skills experiences and cultures to engage in a dialogue about the future.
In the midst of the dialogue and the exchange of information lies “presence”. Presence is to be found in profound conversation with one’s natural surroundings. Presence is that part of anything which reflects and contributes to the whole being what it is. As we seek better ways of getting to know our world we first have to cleanse ourselves of the thoughts and ideas which prevent us from seeing things as they really are. We have to take deliberate steps to acknowledge our own prejudices and mental models which remain obstacles to visions that create prototypes and futuristic models that can bring about better understanding and more meaningful patterns in the future.
The authors of “Presence”, Peter Senge , C. Otto Schamer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flower, base their most recent research on conversations among themselves and with others of like mind. These conversations relate the experiences of scientists, philosophers and person of various cultures as they seek to overcome their own obstacles to creating a better future. Peter Senge and the other authors hold periodic caucuses and study the information gathered in those caucuses. They rely on past research in systems thinking but they also open the door to traditional and religious ideas and completely new thinking. Indeed although there is an evolutionary thread running through the book, persons of different religious persuasions would be able to relate to some of the experiences recorded by the authors.
New thinking may evolve from any scientific thought observations and experiences. But spiritual experiences are taken into account as they represent part of the reality of improving understanding between people and their aspirations for the future. This mix of knowledge, experience an spiritual encounters, provides the theoretical framework for new models and the creation of a new vision of a better world in the future.
I recommend "Presence" to all leaders, managers, systems thinkers and entrepreneurs as they strive to understand where they fit into the patterns which are evolving and how their ideas can produce a better world.