The Role of Visioning

This is an excerpt from the Worldview dimension of Gaia Education’s Design for Sustainability curriculum.

Visions are like powerful lighthouses of a desirable future, guiding us on our way across uncharted seas. We hardly ever travel to the lighthouse directly but sail towards it only to pass by it on our way to other places. The point is not to create a fixed vision and spend decades working towards manifesting exactly that vision. As we are approaching what we have envisioned, the vision may have changed and evolved into something else. Nevertheless, visions can help us to make sure we are going in the right direction.

It is important to understand that in the process of creating a vision for a sustainable community, society, culture and civilisation we should not be restricted by what may be perceived right now as insurmountable obstacles to achieving that vision. The initial formulation of a vision has to be idealistic, creative, poetic, aesthetic, ethical, intuitive and imaginative. Rational reasoning from a particular perspective should not restrict the integrative and participatory process of creating the initial vision.

The value of creating a vision lies in the way it connects the future and the present. First, a vision helps us to put our current behaviour into context and perspective, and second, it “catalyses new actions and partnerships in order to move the community or organisation towards the future it wants” (Baxter & Fraser, 1994, p.4). Seaton Baxter and Bruce Fraser identify main characteristics of visioning which make it a uniquely useful process. These are summarised in the below:

Characteristics of the Visioning Process
(Adapted after Baxter & Fraser, 1994, pp.4–5)

  • Visioning operates on a long time scale. Thinking longer term than about 5–10 years is often a difficult exercise — even strategic planning is often not long-term but reactive and short-term. Visioning, however, generally aims to focus 25 years plus from the present.

Visions can inspire us, as we are positively moving towards a thriving, healthy and sustainable future.

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This is an excerpt from the Worldview dimension of Gaia Education’s online course Design for Sustainability. If you would like to learn more about how to envision a future that actually works for you, then you should join our Worldview online course. If you do not have a vision to inspire you yet, we will show you how to start creating your own vision for you to thrive, not just survive.

In the Worldview course, you will also learn more about building up a more holistic worldview, developing a healthier lifestyle (food, body, care, friends, etc.), creating a deep connection with nature through personal experience, and much more!

Read more about the upcoming Worldview dimension starting 1 June 2020 here!

If you register by 18 May 2020, you are able to get a 10% Discount.

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