Powerful Times S1. E1. Ed Gillespie

First interview with Ed Gillespie — “father, inspirational keynote speaker and futurist”. Also, co-presenter of The Great Humbling and John Richardson and the Futurenauts, director of Greenpeace UK, a facilitator with The Forward Institute, and involved with 12 or so. different, ethical environmental startup businesses — or, as he puts it: facilitation, activism, and investment in businesses which might help shape a better future).

This episode was recorded at the start of December 2021 (so before Ukraine and other big news). Ed uses a few swear words (one b*ll*cks, a few f*cks), which would make this a post-watershed programme, just.



-Ed’s piece The Omerta of consultancy
“Hospicing Modernity” is the title of a book by Vanessa Andreotti (writing as Vanessa Machado de Oliveira). That book draws on her work on Gestures Towards Decolonial Futures.
-David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
-Ed quoting my late wife (“Look. Over there. Follow me!”) comes form this piece I wrote on Facing the Future.
-James Plunkett, End State


0:32 – Q1 What are you doing now? And how did you get there?
10:45 – Q2. What is the future you are trying to create, and why?
18:27 – Q3. What are your priorities for the next few years, and why?
23:26 – Q4. If someone was inspired to follow those priorities, what should they do next?
25:23 – Q5. If your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them?
27:27 – Q6. Who would you nominate to answer these questions, because you admire their approach?
28:13 – Q7. Is there anything else important you feel you have to say?

Transcript – here


-A creeping, nagging doubt that the successful sustainability consultancy was actually in defence of the status quo, despite public protestations to the contrary.
-Life experience of grief leading into embracing a far more profound sense of uncertainty and being more comfortable with that.
-Resting in uncertainty have the emergence of three strands of work (facilitator, activist, investor)
-Tension between improving the current and improving the next (which will eventually replace the current).
-Tired of urgent pragmatism that says there is no time for moral awakenings.
-Let’s explore all the different possible futures, rather than we should definitely had an only this one direction.
-Every single thing that we’ve been told was a brilliant idea in hindsight was essentially resisted as being unworkable, impractical, unaffordable, impossible. beforehand.
-Working hypothesis that there’s gonna be more radicalization,  as the circumstances become more clear.
-Priority: stretching people’s imaginations on what’s possible. 
-Priority: ally-ship which is connecting between perhaps people who wouldn’t normally get together.
-Follow your heart and your gut (as corny as that sounds).
-The world needs generalists. The ability to weave a very different weft from your systemic understandings, which is absolutely critical.


3 thoughts on “Powerful Times S1. E1. Ed Gillespie

  1. Sambad

    Re “The Dawn of Everything”

    “The Dawn of Everything” is a biased disingenuous account of human history (www.persuasion.community/p/a-flawed-history-of-humanity ) that spreads fake hope (the authors of “The Dawn” claim human history has not “progressed” in stages, or linearly, and must not end in inequality and hierarchy as with our current system… so there’s hope for us now that it could get different/better again). As a result of this fake hope porn it has been widely praised. It conveniently serves the profoundly sick industrialized world of fakes and criminals. The book’s dishonest fake grandiose title shows already that this work is a FOR-PROFIT, instead a FOR-TRUTH, endeavor geared at the (ignorant gullible) masses.

    Fact is human history has “progressed” by and large in linear stages, especially since the dawn of agriculture (www.focaalblog.com/2021/12/22/chris-knight-wrong-about-almost-everything ). The book’s alleged major “fundamental” insight is “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently” (the first part of that statement is hardly a great insight because a perceptive child can recognize that) YET fails to answer why we do NOT make it differently than it is now if we, supposedly can make it “EASILY” different, why we’ve been “stuck” in this destructive system for a very long time. THAT is really where “the ultimate, hidden truth” is buried and the answer is… it is because of the enduring hegemony of “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” (www.rolf-hefti.com/covid-19-coronavirus.html ) which the fake hope-giving authors of “The Dawn” entirely ignore naturally (no one can write a legitimate human history without understanding the nature of humans)

    A good example that one of the authors, Graeber, has no real idea what world we’ve been living in and about the nature of humans is his last brief article on Covid where his ignorance shines bright already at the title of his article, “After the Pandemic, We Can’t Go Back to Sleep.” Apparently he doesn’t know that most people WANT to be asleep, and that they’ve been wanting that for thousands of years (and that’s not the only ignorant notion in the title) — see last cited source above. Yet he (and his partner) is the sort of person who thinks he can teach you something authentically truthful about human history and whom you should be trusting along those terms. Ridiculous!

    “The Dawn” is just another fantasy, or ideology, cloaked in a hue of cherry-picked “science,” served lucratively to the gullible ignorant underclasses who crave myths and fairy tales.

    “The evil, fake book of anthropology, “The Dawn of Everything,” … just so happened to be the most marketed anthropology book ever. Hmmmmm.” — Unknown

    1. David Bent Post author

      @Sambad. Thank you for your comment. I haven’t read the book, though a number of people, like Ed, have been very enthusiastic.

      For myself, I’m guided by this review* in the New York Review of Books. Generally it is critical while also being appreciative. Key quote:

      “Indeed, when the dust, or the darts, have settled, we find that Graeber and Wengrow have no major quarrel with the “standard historical meta-narrative,” at least in its more cautious iterations. “There are, certainly, tendencies in history,” they concede, and the more reputable versions of the standard account concern not inexorable rules but, precisely, tendencies: one development creates conditions that are propitious for another. After agriculture came denser settlements, cities, governments. “Over the long term,” they grant, “ours is a species that has become enslaved to its crops: wheat, rice, millet and corn feed the world, and it’s hard to envisage modern life without them.”

      Thank you again for the comment. — David

      * https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2021/12/16/david-graeber-digging-for-utopia/?lp_txn_id=1355904

  2. Pingback: S1. E30. Daianna Karaian | David Bent

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