I. THE PRAYER OF THE PYTHIAN PRIEST(ESS)
First, in this prayer, of all the gods I name
The prophet-mother Earth; and Themis next,
Second who sat where the truth is said
On this her mother's shrine oracular.
Then by her grace, who unconstrained allowed,
There sat thereon another child of Earth -
Titanian Phoebe. She, in after time,
Gave her the throne, as birth-gift to a god,
Apollo Phoebus, who in his own bears Phoebe's name.
He from the lake and ridge of Delos' isle
Steered to the port of Attic shores,
The home of ships; and thence he passed and came
Unto this land and to Parnassus’ shrine.
He then established knowledge of representation,
Legitimising beauty into realness.
And at his side, with awe revering him,
There went the children of Hephaestus' seed,
The hewers of the sacred way, who tame
The stubborn tract that first was wilderness.
And all this folk, and Delphos, chieftain-king
Of this their land, with honour gave him home.
Such gods I name in my preluding prayer,
And after them, I call with honour due
On Pronaia, wardress of the shrine
Of knowledges in endless forms, and Nymphs,
Who dwell around the rock Corycian,
Where in the hollow cave, the wild birds haunt,
Wander the feet of other gods; and there, in the magic mist,
Right well I know it, life-inspiring Dionysos dwells,
Since he in godship led his Maenad host,
Giving the artful truth in aesthesis bare,
Devising punishment for Pentheus normalised. And last,
I pass and sit; and may the powers of divine
Make this mine entrance fruitful in response
Beyond each former advent, triply blest.
And if there stand without, from Hellas bound,
where humans seeking oracles, let each pass in
In order of the lot, as use allows;
For the truth guides whatever my tongue proclaims.
So let The Games begin!
II. THE MESSAGE OF THE CEO
Whilst we are well into the final quarter of the year under watchful eye of father Zeus, and busily going through our 2019 annual planning cycle, we also have a huge amount of exciting business development activities currently underway, some of which are being delivered in the coming weeks. Midas was unwise and we are ought not to repeat his fate. The theme of being agile, responsive and opportunistic is one that now transcends our organisation - Ares’ spear is on our side of the battle, I am sure of it. Gone are the days of rigid planning regimes that cannot be adjusted, refocused or pivoted: we pray to shape-shifter Hermes for giving us good fortune in those. Thanks to our offerings to swift Iris, our cross functional and cross geographic teams have been successfully developing new ways of communication, management and engagement to allow us to make rapid and clear decisions on where to focus our investment. These ways of working, skill sets and collaboration methodologies looking out like the heads of terrifying Cerberus at our scared competitors and set us up with a great platform as we continue expanding the business. Whilst delivering Hephaestus-quality automation and efficiently servicing customers; we are not slowing our change programme, bringing the offerings to purple-winged Boreas to accelerate even faster. Within our company, I have seen many individuals grow closer to the almighty gods in their learning of our platform, products and industry. These changes have created great opportunities for individual people and teams to grow and develop, revisit legacy processes of heroic ancestors and become more expert and specialised in their functional areas. What strikes me is that sometimes, hidden from external view, we have created an organisation with an incredibly deep knowledge, skill-set and expertise in servicing our customers in the best way possible: the great Athene Pallas would want us as her adopted children.
Finally, as we look to the months ahead, it is with great anticipation that I see some of the opportunities that will come from the developments we have in the pipeline: Nike is in our pocket. For example, the improved product our teams will have access to in order to fulfil customers’ needs faster and ultimately more profitably - effectively avoiding the curse of Midas. Gods are on our side. And we are on the side of the gods.
III. DELPHI THEN
On the slope of Parnassus, surrounding the Temple of Apollo-Dionysus, those seeking futures built treasuries and monuments to win the favour of the enigmatic gods and prophecies of mine. For the centuries to come, Delphi is the centre of futuring. The Temple of Pronaia stands as a repository of knowledges in all multiplicity of the forms: a library of ritual and meaning. I am not expected to provide a foresight, as some foolishly think. My task is to confuse those who seem so sure that their version of reality, of the event and of thinking - is righteous.
Love of money and nothing else will ruin you. Pray to the Winds. Sophocles is wise, Euripides is wiser, but of all men Socrates is the wisest - the one thing that I do know, is that I know nothing.
Spartans try to bribe me, but they aren't the only ones. I am always inclined by those seeking to receive a foresight or sort of future-reading despite constantly highlighting that is not what I am meant to do by the grace of golden Apollo and joyful Dionysus. It is a Cold War of the plunged offerings: they use the Treasuries as banks for hope and bizarre investments into attempts to establish the ownership over me, thinking that pouring money on Delphi for the sake of their petty egos will make them the masters of the future. They become fools.
With silver spears you may conquer the world. You are invincible, my son! You will go, return not die in the war. Care for these things fall on me.
The ritual shifts from intellectual sparring to religious piety via mechanistic head-breaking. My operation is the same as it was before but the context around it has changed in the constant carnival of greed, jealousy and fury.
Make your own nature, not the advice of others, your guide in life.
They come with the crosses and fanatical talks of a re-born saviour. Their piety is miserably full of self-assurance. Oh how Dionysus must be laughing when he looks at this saviour of theirs! I lock the temple, seal the chasm and hide the Gaia’s navel from the sacrilege. They find it anyway and anoint it to Zeus and this fatherly-boyish patriarchal clan. It would have been be better had they destroyed it.
Phoibos no longer has his house, nor his mantic bay, nor his prophetic spring; the water has dried up. All is ended.
IV. DELPHI TO COME
It used to be called ‘a temple’, now we go with more epistemologised terms such as ‘an institution’ or ‘an international organisation’. The Asklepion had been converted in the World Health Organisation. What was The Athenian Treasury is now The Federal Reserve of the United States. The Temple of Athena Pronaia is transformed into the RAND corporation. The temple of trickster Hermes turned into The World Trade Organisation.
We are happy to inaugurate two associate units of Avenir Institute in Delphi. They will bridge the pasts, the presents and the futures. The Pronaia Foresight Centre, by the grace of shining Athene Pallas, and The Thrice-Born Avenirologic Centre, to the honour of life-inspiring Dionysus. The Pythian Games of Futures, a festival of futures-making, becomes their joint platform where futuring is democratised and foresight is demystified. It is done through exploration of the critical techniques of anticipating futures via mapping the extrapolation of the current tendencies of the present as well as the research practices addressing the unknown unknowns. It is the process of ‘making future’ rather than expecting someone else’s action to manifest its consequences. It will be rejoined in one continuous open conversation in sacred Delphi bi-annually. We will present the programme of events in Delphi inviting the capable minds to enrich the Planetary Library of Futuring. Thank you all for being here and we look forward to seeing you on the slope of Parnassus.