In that human development has proven to both reduce and enhance human survivability, it is unclear the extent to which experiential learning successfully guides decision making for reduced disaster risk. Learning from actions in disaster and development contexts is governed by structural and cultural influences experienced. This presents challenges and opportunities for learning and communicating disaster if hazards, risks, vulnerabilities, capacities, and other resiliencies are not learnt relative to immediate existential contexts alone. Furthermore, a complex future brings the unknown. An argument is therefore that progress in this field both theoretically and in practice also requires variable, subjective, and often more intuitive interpretation, a knowledge of that which may not be experientially learnt. While nonexperiential learning challenges a field demanding reduced uncertainty and improved risk management, unknown futures can require decision making on the essence of an understanding. Empiricism, though fundamental, on its own is inadequate for future risk-reduction planning. Making the right decisions can be based on improved consciousness.