This piece was written by a core contributor Caitlin Keeley; RADAR’s weekly worldbuilding lead.
I’ve always thought a denial of fate was awful and pessimistic. Totally sad and unromantic. Now I see that it’s a hopepunk sentiment. It gives us agency and power for change. And those are the vibes we need to build better futures.
At RADAR, we believe that the future belongs to those who think about it. And so, if we want to co-belong to better futures, if building better futures is what we’re all all about, how might we make that a habit or a ritual?
Weekly Worldbuilding is a ritual put together by me (Caitlin), Keely, Matt and Fancy to create a rhythm that hones key skills and activates superpowers in our community, while also opening the door to more folks.
SIGNALS: I have described RADAR as drinking straight from the tap of inspiration. 300+ interesting and interested people curiously looking at the world around them and intuitively noting signals – innovation, cultural shifts, trends, anomalies – and sharing them, making connections, having conversations. It’s invigorating and most definitely superhuman.
IMAGINATION: Combine that multiplayer superpower for signals with collective imagination. Or, put another way: find relics of the future in our midst, pick them up, look at them, and think about what kind of future they came from. Crucial to this process is to have fun because that unleashes creativity in an important way. And we have to do it together because building better futures is a superhuman task, more than a single human could do. The more people, the more perspectives, the more skills, the better. Collectively better futures.
We activate collective imagination with what ifs. That’s a signal speculated a little farther with creativity. If you’re having a hard time picturing collective imagination, here’s a rendering of RADAR co-imagining hover cars, drawn by Jarvis (age 7).
Or, here’s an example from our Discord this week on the theme of Technospirituality.
SIGNAL: Techified Spiritual Practices – exploring the intersection of technology and spirituality starting with signals around 'tech-scaffolded spiritual practices'. Zoom church. Crypto witches. Religious chatbots.
WHAT IF: the engineers of the future are witches? Riffing on this week's theme of technology x spirituality, we're dreaming of a future where tech is an aid to spirituality, a conduit to magic even...
FUTURES: So, we do that type of pattern a couple times a week and on Fridays we imagine a world 10 years from now where our theme of the week has manifested in some way. We do this by making Worldboards together. Worldboards are a collection of images, ideas and imagined ‘headlines from the future’ that give texture to speculative futures.
Here are some examples of Worldboards we’ve made together for the year 2033 on themes of co-owned neighborhoods, playful death culture, repair lifestyle, and habitual healing play. (You’ll notice we were exploring ‘play’ as an important influence while our community was developing the Play-Full Future Report.) We are in the process of imagining a technospirituality future, so if you want to see that one, there’s a link at the end.
Worldboards are proving to be a very interesting experiment. So weird and wonderful. Free-associating what’s next. Pretty much they are co-created moodboards of the future (our own little multiverse, if you will).
Not only are Worldboards revealing to make – a process in our channels that prompts people to share fascinating and unexpected thoughts, feelings, and connections between signals – but they also seem to act like Rorschachs of the future. If you just flip through them and soften your gaze, new ideas about the future will reveal themselves to you.
Sound like a crystal ball? That’s one of our favorite emojis!
But, we aren’t just pulling wild predictions out of thin air. There is thoughtful research, trend tracking, reflections on context, and the power of conversations across continents.
Every week this rhythm SIGNAL + WHAT IF + SIGNAL + WHAT IF = FUTURE prompts collective imagination and generates visions of the future that could only be made in multiplayer mode. Solo players just couldn’t get to this level, this non-linear jamboree of creativity, these moodboards of better futures. Collaging the future calls for a collective perspective.
So, come play with us!
written by: Caitlin Keeley
artfully edited by: Keely Adler