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Credit: Jonas Verstuyft

2020 had been a whirlwind of a journey through an oxygen-deprived world.

A journey that kicked off with breath-taking hearings, indicators of the contaminated atmosphere.

A journey during which we were blindsided by a novel virus, forcing us to hold our breaths for a prolonged apnea our species was not equipped for.

A journey during which the lives of healthy individuals became suddenly and solely dependent on respirators.

A journey during which our elderly were confined in air-tight spaces, sharing love and care through windows and screens.

A journey during which dead bodies piled up faster than warp speed.

A journey during which business asphyxiated, unemployment skyrocketed, domestic violence exploded.

A journey during which our home crew inflated, our sanity crumbled, our anxiety saturated.

A journey during which we had to face our inner dragon, vaping, fulminating, in the family cave we shared in an organized chaos, desperately trying to grasp onto a life buoy.

A journey during which a man on the asphalt suffocated I can’t breathe, under the pressing knee of a life-suppressor.

A journey during which our democracy agonized, our institutions fractured, our people arose, craving fresh air, aspiring for a more breathable planet.

A journey which eventually brought us closer, stronger, more resilient against this collective asthma.

And just as we saw the air at the end of the tunnel, we were struck again. The wildfires. The scarlet sky, blurring our hopes. Back to the station. Back to air conditioning. Back to ventolin.

We are a species on life-support. Short-breathed and short-sighted.

If only we were wise enough to think more than no steps ahead.

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Credit: Greg Rakozy

2021 is just around the corner. I can feel the air thinning, fathom an escape route, my eyes growing wider as the light shines through.

We will rise up from this collective trauma, step by step — distancing, testing, vaccinating, caregiving, socializing, reconnecting, recovering. Walk before you run, breathe before you walk.

We will plant our flag in a new territory. A new crew, a new hope. Restore empathy. Rehabilitate democracy.

We will rebuild our crippled systems and institutions, and trust new forward-thinking leaders, while cherishing our past mistakes from our fragile human history.

We will expand health coverage so that financial pressure never suffocates any of us, so that no health costs inhibits actual healing.

We will plant trees and greens onto that fertile ground. We will cure the lungs of our blue planet. So familiar yet so estranged. One of a kind. Unique, ephemeral.

We will provide for its diversity, its variety, its luxuriance. Challenge our individual consciences, de-bias our collective unconscious, re-insufflate our global governance.

We will talk and walk in our space gears, aim higher, jump higher, see further.

Or should we proceed more cautiously this time around? One small steady step at a time. Perhaps our doom is wanting to leap too far. Tiny creatures in the vastness of the universe.

Let our egos cool down. The engines are overheating. Let the conquest take a break.

Warning signs were always there. Yet we ignore them, again and again. What about we pause and face them now?

Yes the journey matters. But so does the destination.

Take a break to sit.


And breathe.

Grey Swan Guild returns for WAVE II with a new theme: “Catching Our Collective Breath”.

2020 has presented us all with reasons to evaluate what matters most to each of us. As we catch our collective breath and live our lives in the space between the known past and the unknowable future, we seek purpose. We know we will need to change ourselves as we embrace a world of change. We think about what our own future will be, how we must change, how we can actively influence a new era and create impact.

Grey Swan Guild is your platform and community to share your insights about our collective futures. It is your portal to a diverse world of 600+ brilliant people. This is your opportunity to be recognized as a thought leader around the world. We invite your content submissions in October and November for WAVE II’s Sensemaking cycle and to be considered for inclusion in upcoming publications and productions into early 2021.

Raise your hand. Raise your voice. Share your very own Point-Of-View.

Sylvia Gallusser (San Francisco) is part of the RSI core team of the Grey Swan Guild, along with Agustin Borrazas (Montevideo), Kim Lindqvist (Stockholm), Dave Marvit (San Francisco), Dr. Sharon McIntyre (Vancouver), Vicki McLeod (Vancouver), Sean Moffitt (Toronto), Emily Watkins (San Diego). The team recently expanded to include representation from Singapore, New York, London, Geneva, Mexico City, Melbourne, Seattle, Lisbon, Dallas, Nairobi, Mumbai, and over 45 countries. There are more than 140 other thought-leaders around the world who support and inform our research, sensemaking and intelligence efforts. Together, we’re a Global League of Sensemakers and if you are trying to make sense of this, too, join us!

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Sylvia Gallusser is a Global Futurist based in Silicon Valley. As Founder & CEO at Silicon Humanism, Sylvia conducts foresight research on the future of health, well-aging, and social interaction, evolutions in retail and mobility, the future of work, life-long learning, artificial intelligence, as well as the future of the mind and transhumanism.

Sylvia has been advising 500+ tech companies for the past 15 years, starting as an IT consultant at Accenture, launching the Impact USA accelerator with Business France, and leading funding access programs at French Tech Hub. She has been leading many European tech companies to global success as a Founding Partner at big bang factory.

Sylvia is also a published Future Fiction Author with Fast Future Publishing.

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Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢

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