Marc Le Menestrel
Affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences
Climate Change; Decision-Making; Death Anxiety; Intergenerational; Environmental Responsibility; Experiential Learning; Future; Generations; Management Education ;Visioning;
Seriously engaging with the needs, hardships, and aspirations of future generations is an emotional experience as much as an intellectual endeavor. In this essay the authors describe a guided visualization exercise used to overcome the emotional barriers that often prevent us from dealing effectively with intergenerational decisions.The meditation and dreaming technique was applied to a diverse group of researchers who engaged in a visualized encounter with future generations. Following the exercise, the authors concluded that a serious analysis of intergenerational conflict requires us to confront our own mortality. Also, somewhat surprisingly to workshop participants, our desire to become stewards of the planet was driven by our fear of death as well as our egoist yearning for immortality.The authors posit that imagining the unknown with visioning practices might increase our emotional resilience, and hence improve our ability to confront the burdens of intergenerational responsibility.