Slide 9 of 12
definition from The Newbury House Online Dictionary.
And I’ll admit it right up front – this one is in here not only because I think it does pose a subjective-objective dilemma, but also because it is one of the more exasperating qualitative descriptors for futures work that I think my respected colleagues have ever devised.
Why exasperating? Because in my experience, this descriptor was added to the much more fundamental list of possible, probable, and preferable primarily so conservative thinkers could dismiss scenarios whose level of transformation was sufficiently extreme along some axis so as to render them uncomfortable. Personally, I think feeling uncomfortable when thinking about possible futures is valuable – among other things, it teaches you where your internal boundaries, assumptions, and taboos lie. Hence, for someone trained to think that ”any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous” (an evaluative guide nicknamed ”Dator’s Axiom”), the concept of plausibility – ”reasonableness” – as a characteristic of a well-crafted or useful scenario is a contradiction in terms. History has taught us that expecting surprise of the future is much more reasonable, as it were, than expecting reasonableness.