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Emerge: Director of Emergence, 16.10.

We’re looking for a Director of Emergence who understands that emergence cannot be directed. The job entails being a senior editor for the website, a leading force within an international network, and a primary fundraiser for the Emerge project, which is a distinctive movement-in-the-making as a response to a historical moment of a civilisation in crisis.


*These job details have recently been slightly amended since first published – please read again if you are not seeing this for the first time.*

This role is a great opportunity for the right candidate to carve out their own role and build financial viability for their vision of a distinctive project.

Emerge aims to be transformative in ethos and prefigurative in its approach, and this may be reflected in a different kind of leadership and different kind of role. We are offering a full-time contract initially limited to one year, but are open to how this role is undertaken, and by how many people. We do seek drive and focus, but given the diversity of skills required and the emphasis on collaboration, the role may lend itself particularly well to a job share. Part-time applicants and job sharers are therefore welcome to apply knowing we may see this as a strength of the application. Flexible working schedules are fully expected and welcome. We will support any candidate(s) on fundraising processes to help ensure their contract is renewed and extended.

Salary: Salary: 45,000 – 65,000 Euros (gross) per annum. There is scope to increase the salary level in year two and beyond through successful fundraising.

Location: The location is somewhat flexible. The Emerge project currently has a European focus and for strategic reasons our default preference is that the candidate would be located in Berlin if possible. However, finding the right person for this exacting role is of paramount importance, COVID-19 continues to alter our sense of what is possible and desirable, and we are also hoping to build our presence in other European cities and beyond, so applicants are warmly encouraged to apply regardless of their preferred geographic location.

Background on Perspectiva and Emerge:
Perspectiva is a community of expert generalists working on an urgent one hundred year project to improve the relationships between systems, souls and society in theory and practice. We are scholars, artists, activists, futurists and seekers who believe credible hope for the first truly planetary civilisation lies in forms of economic restraint and political cooperation that are beyond prevailing epistemic capacities and spiritual sensibilities. Our charitable purpose is therefore to develop an applied philosophy of education for individual and collective realisation in the service of averting societal collapse; and in the spirit of serious play and ambitious humility to cultivate the imaginative and emotional capacity required to usher in a world that is, at the very least, technologically wise and ecologically sound.
In plain language: We think the world is in serious trouble, and not just because of climate change. We don’t like false positivity, but we are disinclined to despair. We believe there is unchartered terrain worth exploring and developing, and most of it is inside and between us.
Perspectiva is a registered charity funded by philanthropic trusts and foundations and based primarily in London. We were co-founded in late 2016 by Swedish entrepreneur and theorist Tomas Bjorkman and Scottish philosopher and chess Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson. Since then we have focused on building our network, intellectual foundations and financial viability, and over the next few years we will be pursuing four main thematic strands of work:
  • Realisation is transformative education, an annual festival & work on activism and attention
  • Insight is our intellectual vision, manifest mostly in our publishing arm, Perspectiva Press
  • Praxis is theory into practice, currently through improvisation, metaphor and ‘anti-debates’
  • Emergence is about building a pre-figurative social movement for wise global transitions

Our work on Emergence is already well developed through the Emerge project. Perspectiva has established the outlines of a new strategy, but the new Director would be well placed to shape it on their own terms. Emerge is a practice-based social network coalescing around the web platform www.whatismerging.com (including The Emerge podcast) and animated through international gatherings (including two completed in Berlin and Kyiv) and local networks in a growing number of major cities around the world. Emerge was founded by Perspectiva co-founder and Chairman Tomas Bjorkman in November 2018 without formal institutional standing but is now directed and supported as a project by the Perspectiva team, with day-to-day operations run by the social enterprise Cocreation.x gGmbH in Berlin.

Job Description:

We are looking for an exceptional candidate to fulfil a variety of crucial tasks for this project which are closely related to each other. The right person will be closely aligned with Perspectiva’s main ideas and charitable purposes but also inspired by the possibilities of Emerge and keen and capable to grow in autonomy over time. The capacity to raise funds from philanthropic sources and other means is essential, which is related to intellectual vision, social competence, entrepreneurial flair and project management skill. The job entails being a senior editor for a website, a leading force within an international network, and a primary fundraiser. There are no immediate line-management responsibilities, but there is a large network eager for Emerge to move to the next level of development and we have a range of associate writers and video producers available to help.

Essential and Desirable Criteria:
  • Writing or journalistic experience of international calibre (E)
  • Relationship-building, network weaving and partnership building capacity (E)
  • Proven fundraising success (E)
  • Intellectual vision, creative flair and wide-ranging interests (E)
  • Discerning understanding of network relationships (E)
  • Grasp of how to attract audiences in a way that is optimally challenging (E)
  • Evidence of entrepreneurial initiative (E)
  • Capacity to work autonomously and in a team (E)
  • Interpersonal skill in a variety of settings (E)
  • Educated to equivalent of Masters degree or above, ideally across disciplines (D)
  • At least ten years of professional experience (D)
  • Willing to live in a major European city, ideally Berlin (D)
  • Willing to travel to build networks in other major cities (D)

Website details: Systems-souls-society.com (currently being updated) and Whatisemerging.com

Deadline: Any time on or before October 16 2020. Please respond with a CV and cover letter, stating how you feel you meet the role requirements to Perspectivateam@gmail.com. We anticipate conducting interviews online after mid-October and would like the prospective candidate to start in 2020 if possible.

More Background on Emerge (the full strategy will be shared with shortlisted candidates):

Emergence is the closest thing to magic that is actually a scientific term. – Daniel Schmachtenberger

Emergence is a process of attractive forces – phenomena drawn to different aspects of itself – giving rise to relationship – non-random patterns of connection – then to ‘synergy’ – a whole that is qualitatively different and often greater from the sum of its parts – and then emergence, which is about how that ‘greater’ manifests. The key to finding our way towards a viable and desirable future lies in improving the quality of relationships of all kinds.

There are many possible futures for the inhabitants of planet earth, but when we take emergence seriously as an underlying principle of life, it becomes clear that we are probably, figuratively speaking, at a fork in the road. Our predicament as a global species is getting both much better (scientific progress, literacy, less absolute poverty, life expectancy) and much worse (income inequality, governance failures, mental illness, ecological collapse) at an accelerating rate. What follows is not that the truth is somewhere in between, but that the current global system is (rapidly) destabilising.

When viewed from the perspective of complexity theory and world system dynamics there appear to be two main kinds of possible future for humanity. Emerge is premised on this ‘Hard-fork hypothesis’; namely that the future will be either a discrete phrase-shift towards further entropy and collapse, or the emergence of a higher-order system that is more complex and elegant than current global system dynamics. The question is how we get there, and the answer is: we can’t be sure, but there are certain minimal necessary conditions we have to get right to invite that possibility and increase its likelihood.

Drawing attention to the nature and meaning of emergence is about highlighting the possibility of a different intentional stance towards the world, grounded in receptivity, intuition and subtlety rather than ideology, reason and force. Some call it a spiritual perspective, in the sense that it’s less about imposing our wills than listening deeply to our own cosmic dance of being of becoming in a shared historical setting. The challenge is to accept the miracle of our contingency and interdependence while also taking responsibility for our uniqueness and autonomy. All over the world, networks and organisations are rising up to explore unchartered intellectual, spiritual or cultural terrain that invites ways of being, thinking and doing and building new forms of institutional praxis and political capital around them; such initiatives are at the heart of our Emerge network.

The Emerge project is therefore about the creation of a reflexive social organism responding to an historical moment. We are an international alliance of I’s and We’s coalescing around the open question: what is emerging? The pattern that connects this alliance is a broad one with scope for divergence and convergence, namely the sensibility that social change worthy of the demands of 2020 and meaningful personal change are inextricably linked. Moreover, it follows from that realisation that the modality of the change required is fundamentally relational in nature; relationships within, between and beyond ourselves, and through whatever emerges from becoming aware of those relationships. That is what is emerging.

That relational sensibility co-arises with an awareness that we are called upon to respond to what is emerging; that we are part of it, caught up in it, and implicated in it. Emerge is convivial in ethos and spirit, but the purpose of Emerge is to facilitate and support the kinds of relationship that allow us to hold the considerable tension of this historical moment, awash with grief, anxiety, injustice and extraordinary responsibility. From that place we are called upon to listen to the future we might create, and act, or indeed refrain from acting, accordingly. To listen, we have to be receptive not merely to opportunities in our respective organisational spaces, but more profoundly to open ourselves to the connections between all available spaces in our place in historical and cosmological time.

Emerge is therefore about the spirit of the time, a species-wide encounter with interrelated challenges of the first truly planetary civilisation; including the co-arising of ecological emergency, private control of the public realm through technology, destructive finance and failing governance. We focus on the pattern as a whole and the underlying epistemic, emotional and spiritual roots that define how it manifests across contexts. We are a distinctive movement-in-the-making because we have no enemy other than delusion and cliché in all their forms, and no clear aim other than a ‚patterned nebulosity‘ of transformation that we can as yet only loosely sketch, but which we sense is necessary, possible, and emerging. We seek instead to generate social potentiality and imaginative scope for a different kind of world as a whole, often expressed as a new social imaginary, rather than focusing on trying to solve particular issues in the world as we find it (though an exploration of issues will inevitably be part of grappling with context). The transition required will entail changes in many different kinds of active ingredients and myriad emergent properties arising from their relationships; everything from imagination, food, water, finance, governance, design, love, attention, education, technology, epistemology and more.

The role of Emerge is not to focus on specific areas, but rather to place a bet on the idea that a kind of ‚diaphanous‘ awareness will allow a growing number of people to discern how everything connects, to use that discernment to consider what could possibly emerge, and consider what follows for right action. This disposition can be considered a kind of active receptivity (Iain McGilchrist) or negative capability (John Keats) or staying with the trouble (Donna Haraway). In this sense it is an entirely different kind of social movement in-the-making but one we feel is ready to be born.

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