Frequently Asked Questions:
Why was Longpath created?
Ari Wallach spent decades working with leaders and movements on strategies for large-scale systems change. He discovered two major roadblocks that prevent people from creating the futures they want for themselves, their organizations, and society-at-large:
#1: Short-Termism: Humans are biologically wired to prioritize the needs of our current over our future selves, a tendency exacerbated by today’s social environment (digital technologies, norms, and narratives) and by the general cogntive and emotional angst caused by this current fluxing "Intertidal" moment in human history.
#2: "The Official Future": We humans desire predictions and narratives of tomorrow handed down to us by parents, experts and authorities, rather than creating the futures we desire for ourselves, our descendants, and coming generations. This desire for the "known" is human species emblematic as well deleterious to our ability to imagine beyond possibilities outside path dependanceis.
We believe that to transform our society for the better, we must upgrade our mindsets, enabling us to focus constructively on our futures, today. Longpath is a mindset that helps us move beyond our short-termist tendencies - be they at the personal, organizational or societal levels. Adopting and utilizing the Longpath mindset strengthens our foresight abilities, increases our capacity to cooperate and boosts our creativity. In applying the Longpath mindset, we can reckon with our pasts, better engage with the present, and connect empathically with our futures to become better agents of change. Inherent in the Longpath mindset is the ability to cultivate new visions of desired futures that take into account all the aspects - mental, material and spiritual - of what it means for humans and society to flourish. Longpath tackles short-termism and "The Official Future" and provides us the means to positively impact the present as well as the far futures.
Why a “mindset?”
Carol Dweck, a leading psychologist at Stanford University, developed the groundbreaking idea that success is related not to talent but to mindset. With a fixed mindset, people believe that their basic qualities like intelligence are static, whereas with a growth mindset they believe that their positive qualities can be cultivated and enhanced through hard work. A mindset is something emergent, something that can be nurtured to activate the best of human potential. Longpath is a mindset — not a set of rules, but a way of approaching our lives and choices with a goal toward making human and habitat flourishing an on-going endeavour for centuries to come. Longpath enables us to become great ancestors.
What are examples of Longpath Labs offerings?
Longpath Labs works with individuals, organizations, and society at large. Our offerings include:
Daily practices and tools that equip every individual to think and act Longpath as well as ongoing public and in-house convenings known as Longpath.Gather.
The Longpath.Alliance - a mission-aligned community for senior leaders in ngos, business and government that know being futures-focused makes them better ancestors, today.
Convenings and a network for scholars to examine Anthropocene wicked problems as well as policies and ideas to address them via Longpath.Research.
Omniplatform content that helps us imagine new possibilities for ourselves, our organizations and our global civilization that centers human flourishing and protopian visions of tomorrow.
What differentiates Longpath Labs from other futures-focused organizations?
We believe in conversations on our futures that involve all people and the whole person. This means we believe all people should create our collective futures, not a single leader, technology or ideology. We don’t offer top-down, technology-driven predictions of tomorrow’s world. Instead, we spark a dialogue on the futures that is driven by agency, empathy and desired futures. These dialogues in turn spur strategies and action that focus on birthing these futures into reality. We believe that our futures belong to all of us and must center the potential for human growth and development. This is the essence of the Longpath mindset - the futures are something we actively co-create based on the visions we believe ensure maximum human flourishing.
Is Longpath Labs a think tank, consultancy or a movement?
We’re a little bit of all the above. We realize that developing a new mindset — and helping people to apply it — is no easy task. That’s why Longpath Labs takes multiple approaches to our work. We work with scholars and researchers to deepen the evidence base underlying our work. We support mission-driven organizations that want to use the Longpath mindset to catalyze societal change - from the personal to the civilizational layers. We partner with product developers to create tools that individuals can use to bring Longpath into their personal and professional routines. And we are developing a diverse, broad-based coalition of people who will use our research and tools to build futures of personal and collective flourishing.
Why do you have a Scholar Council?
At the core of Longpath Labs’s work is the belief that human ways of thinking, being, and behaving can be transformed to be more futures-oriented. Our Scholar Council helps us to understand the most effective mechanisms for evolving human thought and behavior, bringing a variety of perspectives to bear on our work from fields such as social psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, and public policy.
How can I learn more about Longpath?
Explore the thinking behind Longpath and Longpath Labs by viewing our founder Ari Wallach’s TED Talk, the essay for WIRED magazine that kick-started it all, and finally our latest thinking from the Longpath.Research.