Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fecund Collaboration

Last night I listened to Meera Allen’s Manifesting Destiny radio show streaming live from Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia.  The 15,557 kilometers that geographically stood between Charlottesville VA and the beach melted as I listened to Meera speaking with my dear friend and colleague, Kaya Finlayson.  Kaya is the producer and director of the film Future Dreaming: A Conversation with David Martin and the interview was scheduled in anticipation of the film’s premiere in Sydney on August 29th.  As I listened, I was caught up, for a moment, in my profound love and gratitude for Kaya’s generous impulse to weave my words into an aesthetic masterpiece – truly an amazing experience of some of humanity’s best.  Sure, we had shared many hours of conversation on film but in this interview, I was hearing words, phrases and thoughts that I recognized not as my own but rather as those I’ve had the honor of articulating in a fashion that others can share.  In the candlelight at the dinner table, emptied of our amazing dinner of bounty from our garden, Colleen and I listened in silence.

The interview was born of Meera’s passion for finding conversations with people who are at the vanguard of humanity and its revitalization.  Kaya’s film (shot by video alchemist Dan Freene) was born of an invitation that he and I received to join Julio De Laffitte in Antarctica for the maiden voyage of Unstoppables.  Julio’s vision of creating the Unstoppables movement was born of his certitude that humanity needed a convening of great, intrepid souls who were ready to take themselves and their engagements with the world to a more purposeful level.  Julio and I met at a conference I led in Sydney organized by Christine McDougall and co-hosted by Robert Prinable and Peter Hojgaard-Olsen.  Christine has spent years exposing hundreds of people to the work that I’ve done and has been a close business and life partner.  Christine was introduced to me courtesy of the work of Ken Dabkowski who, as an employee at The Arlington Institute, recorded and broadcast my speeches there for global distribution.  I was at The Arlington Institute as a board member invited by John Petersen with my primary responsibility focused on economic foresight.  I was introduced to John Petersen through the quiet diplomacy of Morgan Percy… and so it goes.  In a 90 minute window, I was transported across nearly two decades of amazing people without whom this interview would not have happened. 

As we’ve been getting ready for the film’s release, we’ve had some amazing moments of humanity.  Kaya and I are deeply committed to insuring that the film has the broadest possible audience as we see it as a gift to humanity.  A theatrical release done under a Creative Commons license is certainly not a first but it is still all too novel.  But we were kindly shown how much the film means to many of those in the list above – people for whom the film can be a vital part of their life’s purpose and mission.  In these conversations, we’ve been given the opportunity to examine our own predilection to see what we perceive to be our “best interest” without appropriately engaging ALL of the interests at play.  We’ve had the honor of incredibly robust friendships and relationships that have shared their desires to be deeply part of the conversation regarding how this important work is distributed.  And we’re better for these conversations. 

As I reflect on the process of this film coming into existence, I know that it represents an artifact in a world beyond the conventional view of collaboration.  Sure, on a purely mechanical sense, Kaya’s production genius, Dan’s videographic skills, and my synthesis of many topics of interest were stitched together to make a film.  However, if we see collaboration in the artifact, we neglect to see the subtle and profound effects that others have on making the ecosystem possible into which the artifact can manifest.  Had Julio not formed the Unstoppables, invested deeply from his own resources to fund the venture, and invited Kaya and me to the trip – there would be no film.  Had his business – JDL Strategies – been unsuccessful, he would have lack the provisions to make the Unstoppables vision and reality.  Had Christine held my relationship with her in a proprietary fashion, I would have never been in the venues which gave rise to Julio and my connection.  Had John Petersen not offered the stage of TAI for my economic foresight and critique, my voice could not have been in the podcast that Christine heard while running in the morning.  And had Buckminster Fuller not been so careful in his articulation of a better view of humanity, she may have missed the subtle echoes of his work in my living.  Collaboration is not just the manifestation of the finished product.  Rather it is the formation of ecosystems of fecundity from which we know fruitful bounty will emerge without attaching ourselves to the artifact of one or another defined or expected form.

I am deeply honored that each of these luminous beings has crossed my path and have, for some moments longer and some shorter, shared a piece of my journey with me.  I know that, without any one of the strands, the tapestry of Future Dreaming would not have become the elegant homage to humanity that it represents.  And I trust, as we step forward, we deepen our resolve to honor all those who open the fertile soil in our lives into which we plant the seeds of our efforts and intentions so that we can, in fact, provision a bountiful harvest – A More Perfect Union.

For the film, check out


  1. Just to say thank you very much for the work you do. It echoes through many levels for the welfare of humanity. Thank you!

  2. Beautifully expressed thank you David. James Mahu refers to this tapestry as Event Strings, which of course followed far enough connects us all. Looking forward to viewing Future Dreaming and sharing with all who care.

  3. As always a cornucopia of thought.


Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave