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Sensing Future

By knowing the past we recognise patterns in the present

Scientist and reporters are searching to understand how everything has evolved and what this means for us now. Most of us reflect on our given talents, learned understanding, ingrained habits and the construction of ourselves. With our habits and technology we create a future we can rely on.

We create a future that will happen according to our rules by describing the variable behaviours of machine actors.

Actors have their own goals and dynamics

We do not control many actors. Many actors who influence the climate are out of our reach, such as shift in temperatures, air pressure changes, alternating land and sea, the sun’s altitude. These actors have their own dynamics and depend for their development on the interactions of other actors. Therefore every actor will behave differently as before any moment after any interaction.

Fortunately for us, these interactions form repetitive patterns. The more sensors are in a system, the more we know about the effects of all the interactions.

Sensing pulses

Humans behave with unique internal based dynamics. Millions of actors have different goals they want to realise with their unique dynamics. Governments like to know the effect of their general rules on the activities of all the individual actors eager to recognise patterns they like or dislike. Companies want to connect with the purchasing patterns of clients. Security services are eager to recognise the first move towards a criminal act.

Observe…. Observe….. You feel….. You see…….

Clean observing, important. When something unexpected and unpleasant happens, there is often someone commenting :” When you had your eyes open, you should have seen it happening before it happened”. NineEleven? The crash of the banks? That suicide? That bankruptcy” That disorder? It is not easy to interpret the soft signals of the beginning of change. All have natural variance too, how to differentiate?

What do experts tell us?

Gary Klein investigated the way experts think. They order isolated signals in patterns. The more patterns you know the more you can see. They become increasingly more expert. You do not even have to see all the signals, we see a pattern by adding the non-existent signals to create a pattern. But you cannot easily see other patterns than those you learned to recognise.

But sometimes we see, or create something new.

Senge, Scharmer, Jaworsky, Flowers pave a way to see, find, create new configurations. The first most important action is: observe. They repeat it in their books: observe, observe, observe. Then it can happen; you ‘see’ patterns you did not see before.

How to evolve to a layman expert in your own life?

We create new knowledge through the interaction of our intuitive pattern-recognition with the critical mind that asks questions, craks a pattern and creates afresh.

Yes: feel, sense,…

Our most sensitive sensor for changes is our ‘general vague bodily feeling’. When more connected to this sensor it might happen that we get in touch with changes that have just begun.

Our bodily sensors can signal a ‘vague sense of uneasiness’

…...when meeting a person you know well behaves slightly different;

…….when you listen to a story, or read a report

…….when reading a configurations of figures; listening to a construction of facts.

A question mark feeling. Raising one’s eyebrow.


Use your diary again this week. Make a note of when you had a ‘vague feeling’. Many thoughts may come to mind too, park these in a special box. Observe when you felt that sense. Observe, again, again. See, listen, smell. What do you see?

Ton Voogt

Februari 2015

For more insight, please see:

Gary Klein, Insight, in: Thinking, John Brockman ed., 2013

Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers in: Presense, Exploring profound change in people, organisations and society, 2005

Nico H. Frijda, The Emotions, 1987

© 2019 TonVoogtConsultancy ~ Recent Update 24-08-2017
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