Enriching Intergenerational Decision-Making with Guided Visualization Exercises

Journal of Business Ethics 122 (4):675-680 (2014)
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Abstract

Seriously engaging with the needs, hardships, and aspirations of future generations is an emotional experience as much as an intellectual endeavor. In this essay we 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, we 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. We 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.

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