Festivals & Events:
Crafting the Human Future: Three-Part Lecture Series with Lawry de Bivort
What lies ahead for humans?
Crafting a Desirable Human Future: The Great Hope and Its Most Fundamental Obstacles
Discussion led by Lawry de Bivort, PhD
1. Managing our Human Future – Wednesday, January 20 ~ 6 p.m.
Humans have the ability to affect our future in massive ways, but will we do so wisely? In this session, we will examine the fundamental patterns of human evolution, change and progress. What will it take for us to manage our collective future? What are the possible alternative futures we face, and what are their pragmatic, political and ethical dimensions?
2. The Systems We Build – Thursday, January 21 ~ 6 p.m.
Our communication, infrastructural, social and economic systems are pervasive, large and complex. While they seem essential to our well-being, they are enormously expensive and difficult to change and improve. Certainly they are useful, but will they be ultimately beneficial? In this exploration together, we will consider whether we have without knowing it succumbed to the ultimate Faustian Bargain? Will these systems prove to be vital assets or evolution-crippling millstones—or both?
3. Human Cognition and the Management of our Brains – Wednesday, January 27 ~ 6 p.m.
Thanks to evolution and the development of social structures, our brains have "learned" to think in certain basic ways. But will these ways serve us, or do they condemn us to a future of chaos and failure? As the needs of our species evolve, will our habits of mind also evolve fast enough to keep up with these emerging cognitive needs? In this session, we will discuss together several key cognitive issues and the ways they affect us and our children’s future:
- Tribalism: Will our brains allow us to embrace a collective future?
- Hierarchy: Can our brains handle our societal need for participation and accountability?
- Superstition: Can our brains learn to distinguish between cause and effect, coincidence and pattern?
- Complexity and our cognitive short-cuts: Reductionism and Dualism. Are our brains capable enough to absorb complexity?
Can we teach our brains better habits? If not, what may happen to our species?
Lawry de Bivort is director of the Washington-based think-tank Evolutionary Service Institute. He is involved in policy design and implementation and has developed methods for the transformation of human systems, from individuals to teams, organizations, countries, cultures and international systems. His most pressing interest now is the future of the human species and how we can ensure a beneficial future for it.
Lawry developed the International Y2K Management Toolkit, managed the design of RCRA, worked with the Gorbachev team on perestroika and glasnost, helped the Republic of Georgia prepare itself for independence, interviews terrorists ‘in the wild’ to assist the US government find its way to a saner approach to terrorism, works on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, created the BIOCOM cognitive modeling tool, and, closer to Telluride, worked on air particulate, ski-area expansion, wetlands settlement, transportation/gondola, and dual-home owner (TADHOA) issues. He is presently developing new concepts for and approaches to human fitness and to individual and institutional cognitive management.
He holds a BA from Stanford (biology, history, physics, political science), a PhD from Johns Hopkins (international law, Middle East studies, US diplomatic history, strategic analysis) and has carried out post-graduate studies in applied linguistics, systems analysis, probability-based forecasting, cognition and learning, and deception and detection.
Lawry divides his time between Washington DC, Telluride, and other parts of the world. He is widowed and has one son