And things are changing.
I’m guilty of finding profound changes for humanity in the works just because I’m feeling the daily effects of an old system falling apart. It isn’t that I think I should be exempt. As previously noted, I’m really not special. It’s that it’s all theoretical until it happens to you. And then you see the ground eroding under everything. I’d like to think that there’s a plateau, a new normal, something that we can all get used to and a framework we can learn how to be in. But I’m not sure that’s coming. If you look at the acceleration of revolution, compare how long it took for each of our previous revolutions to make their effects felt: Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the Social Revolution, the Sexual Revolution, and the Technical Revolution. Hell, our technology is having a new revolution every couple of years now.
We can keep up with the basics of learning the technology, but keeping pace with the implications? I’m not sure that we’ve caught up with the emotional impact of rampant individualism (as exhibited by anonymous lives in anonymous cities with no extended family to be seen) and that’s been a reality for a long time.
The Russell Brand thing; a recent quote from someone in the CDC that the age of antibiotics is now over (see the post on risk and how our avoidance of it has created even more risk); the Government shutdown and the ongoing battle over federal spending; unemployment and the people who aren’t on the unemployment rolls anymore because they’ve given up thinking that a job is going to save them; spending the morning with TED Talks as my soundtrack; all of this (and more) is contributing to an overwhelming certainty that nothing is ever going to be the same.
This is a terrifying prospect. That doesn’t make it a bad thing. I just wonder what we’re all going to do as more and more of us are faced with a reality that isn’t comprised of sunshine, glitter, and rainbows. Not that it’s been sunshine and roses since … well, probably since 2001. We had Enron in 2001, which wasn’t the first time a big company has let everyone down by being full of greedy, amoral arseholes; but it certainly set the stage for more of the same. And then we had 9/11. Between the two (at least from a house in DC) those two threads have played out again and again in the 12 years since. Shady accounting, corporate malfeasance, a blurring of the lines between corporate profit and politicians, and a barrage of enemies that we are trying desperately to neutralize at all costs. And your average American following words of wisdom from our second President Bush… Do your patriotic duty: shop.
It can’t go on. Nothing is ever going to be the same and I don’t know anyone with a strong sense of 1) what the new “normal” looks like or 2) how to bride the gap from here to there. I kind of feel like I might as well wander into the unknown as hold on to whatever it used to be. I’ll have to make the journey one way or the other and I’m not sure it’s going to be any easier a year or ten from now.
If only I had the first clue what next looks like, I think I’d feel a lot better about this whole thing.