“People buy into what they help create”: Citizen foresight work and the influence of language and metaphors on futures thinking

Lady going down an escalator (Photo by Ng Shi Wen)

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A year ago, with Singapore just coming out of its circuit breaker and the world still coming to grips with the COVID-19 virus, Aaron Maniam explained in a TED talk that the language we use to talk about the pandemic was shaping how we thought about it. Instead of using a “war” metaphor, for instance, he argued that characterising COVID-19 as an “ecology” would help us better understand the pandemic and our futures. Today, we chat about the influence of language and metaphors on futures thinking as well as the importance of citizen foresight work in Singapore.

Aaron is a poet and civil servant.

This is part of the “Thinking about futures” mini-series, on the application of futures thinking and futures studies in Singapore. The feature photo is by Ng Shi Wen.

Click here to listen to the episode.

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