What is Perspectiva?
We are a research platform that seeks to build the intellectual foundations for a more conscious society – a diverse and plural society awake to itself, united by an awareness of ecological constraints, systemic influences and the development of human empathy and consciousness throughout the lifespan.
We believe the world’s major challenges stem from a crisis of perception and imagination, and the failure of political culture to honour the fullness of reality. We are fascinated by the myriad ways in which our tacitly held worldviews shape our judgement, and how spiritual needs for security, meaning and purpose indirectly create political and economic outcomes.
Perspectiva was co-founded by Scottish Philosopher and chess Grandmaster Dr Jonathan Rowson and Swedish Social Theorist and Entrepreneur Tomas Bjorkman. We are based in London and part of an emerging European network building the cultural and political foundations of a more conscious society.
Our intention is to slowly but steadfastly transform academic, public, policy and practitioner perceptions of the validity and coherence of examining real world problems with a deeper appreciation of the influence of our inner worlds. We are looking to bring together a community of thinkers who share our appetite and ambition to build the intellectual foundations of a future we can believe in.
Like many, we believe we are living in a time of acute crisis, but it feels churlish to start the analysis there. Most people who read these words enjoy full healthy lives in developed countries where we have the luxury and privilege to write and reflect, rather than merely scrambling to survive. There are deep problems with the world, to be sure, but we have made progress in many ways, and humanity gets a lot of things right. We want to contribute in a spirit of gratitude and controlled urgency, not hysteria. The point is to protect what we value by understanding why it is imperilled.
Few deny that our challenges are connected: ecological degradation, economic insecurity, political alienation, social fragmentation, hyper-terrorism, spiritual confusion - but we need to develop the human and cultural capacity to adequately understand, integrate and act upon those connections. In this context, ‘perspective taking’ is not merely about seeing things from more than one point of view, but also having the capacity to see how views are constructed within and between people. To do this we need to understand how our systems, souls and society interrelate.
We need new maps to navigate our world
Toward a more conscious society
For an individual to become ‘more conscious’ is a story of personal growth, in which the scope for meaning and purpose in life is enriched and our capacity to effect change is enhanced. We cease to be merely shaped by the signs, symbols and stories around us and start to assume authorship of such influences, and latterly develop a deeper reflexive awareness of the ways in which we are shaped.
When we start to commit to such processes together we can speak of a more conscious society – a collective effort to see our challenges in their fullness, and thereby live larger and less deluded lives. When a critical mass of people ‘grow’ in consciousness in this way we can speak of a collective awakening.
“Maybe you are searching amongst the branches for what only appears in the roots“
Complex Adaptive Processes
The totality of our inner worlds
Our shared symbolic universe
Read our introductory guide to Perspectiva
“To make progress in the world, two of the biggest things that may need to be unlearned are first: how to conceive of issues often unhelpfully deemed ‘environmental’, and second: how to overcome the awkwardness some feel over sentiments that are broadly spiritual. How will those who are ambivalent about seemingly ‘green’ issues come to realise that they lie at the heart of economic and social renewal? And how can we make democratic politics feel less transactional and more soulful; less like an episodic ritual, and more like a meaningful form of life?"
Those who dare to think philosophically are often told to 'get real'. This injunction usually means narrow your sphere of concern, and don't expect too much of people. Perspectiva was created because we believe 'getting real' means moving in the opposite direction. We need to look broadly and deeply at where we are, and grow to meet the challenges of our time.
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