Summoning is an interesting concept. Also known as an evocation, or a calling, it was believed to be a magical ability possessed by the Gandalfs and Dumbledores of this world (or, perhaps, that world). This ability helped them to ‘summon’ things – or even people – from one place to another, forcing them to appear here-and-now.
The most powerful and experienced wizards were also able to summon things through time, allowing us to see the past – or the future – in the portals that they were opening during the summoning ceremonies.
However, even the most powerful wizards were not able to summon the future (or anything, for that matter) themselves.
Summoning has always been a collective, collaborative ritual – the wizard is only able to summon the future with the help of other people, those who really want to see it.
Now, why on Earth do we talk about magic and wizards in the time when everyone is fascinated with the advancements of science and technology?
Of course we use ‘summon’ as a poetic metaphor – but a very powerful one, the one that helps us (and hopefully other people) to retain (or regain?) the virtues of human efforts, individual and collectivistic, in searching the new.
Summoning has been, and will always be a very difficult things to do. Both ‘back then’ and now it requires well-orchestrated collective actions, but also the knowledge of multiple ‘spells’ to be casted in the right time. Or, in a less poetic way, it requires multiple methods and tools to be applied in a particular order.
And we don’t want to hide this aspect – on the opposite, we endorse the fact that summoning is a complex and systemic exercise.
On the other side, summoning also requires something that is almost opposite to the complexity.
But it’s not ‘simplicity’ – summoning requires an emptiness of a kind.
A hole. A gap. A schism.
A rupture of some sort, that provides the space for anything ‘new’ to appear. In fact, without such space the summoning couldn’t even start, as there is no free space ‘here’ for the things to appear from ‘there’.
Notice that many of these words– schism, rupture, breakthrough – do not necessarily have very positive connotations. Summoning does require significant efforts, and often a struggle with the existing surroundings. It also requires a very special mindset – vigorous, yet focused, tranquil and reflective. Especially you one deals with the futures.
That’s why we also put the image of void in the very center of our ‘innovation fractal’:
Of course, the void itself is not equal to the ‘new’, and we need to make lots of different, interconnected efforts to help this ‘new’ to emerge – including specific activities to better understand the present (and the past) as well as to explore the futures. And this is where we could be of some help.