Part 1: New Eras Start with Chaos
Don’t you love the word “modern”? If you see it on a sign for a motel, it means dated.
Fifties or sixties maybe, but not current.
It was the last of the descriptors of the Era of Enlightenment that denoted a period of stability.
We did things a certain way.
“Modern” was short-lived, because it was the cusp of “constant” being an adjective describing “change”.
Institutions loved Enlightenment. They had time to form with premises and logic and conclusions that people could speak about with religious fervor and zeal. They are slow by nature and not given to change. It makes them uncomfortable. They are the brakes that let us slow down and reason. Change that happens too fast is called heresy.
Enlightenment is based on predictable change. Time is involved. Gather the knowledge that we presently possess and proceed in a sane and foreseeable manner.
We all want to advance, as long as time is undemanding in its progress.
Knowledge is power in the era of the enlightened, but it is accessible to many, so when it gives power to someone, all that’s needed is a little time to level the playing field again.
Nano-seconds changed that.
Not all by themselves, but when the ever-increasing speed of data processing intersected with the unremitting acceleration of knowledge volume, those Nano-seconds became the measurements of time that change occurred in.
Enlightenment eliminated by knowledge, its very progenitor, when it materialized faster than could be managed by the era- produced institutions.
Institutions are the management tools of eras.
They are not into leadership.
When they are no longer able to manage the elements of change, a new era begins.
It has begun.
And “Chaos” is its current name, until we find ways to manage it.
Then we can name it something else.
We are in the entrepreneur stage of the era. It’s a bit nerve-wracking and scary. It feels out of control and we are not comfortable with it.
We need leaders now. Managers are not needed until later. We have to get ahead of the chaos, or it will destroy us.
Opportunists will not do. They will only speed the destruction.
Government, corporate, religious and educational structures of the Enlightenment Era have already become irrelevant in their ability to handle the chaos.
It’s time for us to rise to the task of a new era. If we do not, it may be difficult to survive what it brings, let alone thrive within it.
Part 2: Substantive Dialogue is Essential!
If we want a world for our kids to enjoy, we must act now!
The velocity of the freight train we are on is too fast to make the curve we are taking to the future. We must jump off before we lose our ability to survive the leap.
The love of riches, comfort and power, and the momentary optimistic malaise that lets us think that our current institutions have the ability to come up with solutions, have eroded our ability to substantively think and talk to each other about creating a world that our children can thrive in.
The institutions that currently define who’s in power must change. We are in one of those rare historic moments that determine if we will have a future, not just what our future will look like.
Our moment in history is a defining one of potentially staggering and unforgiving portent.
The institutions we have were established for an era that is now past.
The Age of Enlightenment in the Era we call Modern is now in our rear view mirror. The institutions we implemented were transformational to the historic technologies and thoughts that existed.
They don’t work anymore. They are computers that can no longer be updated to meet the current computational needs.
We are at the in-between stage of eras where we simply burn our thinkers (aka: scientists, technologists, philosophers, visionaries) at the stake of political, religious, corporate and educational popularity. They become the heretics of the old era because the institutions of modernity are not structured to handle the progress of their thoughts and actions of advancement.
The institutions that we must re-think are the four major ones I just mentioned:
These are the societal institutions that are the reins. Whoever controls these holds the reins of the cart in which the rest of us are traveling.
When an era starts to change, its institutions struggle to remain relevant. Their thought processes and means of acting are built on unchangeables that existed when they were actualized, but no longer prevail in the ever expanding changes of the new era.
National constitutions and bureaucracies, Religious tenets and structures, Corporate philosophies and Educational objectives all must undergo foundational and deeply substantive thought as to how they will be transformed to create a thriving world for everyone in the new era.
At this moment, we are at the frustrating juncture of progress and regress. The “newsworthy” stories are often mere attempts of those within the four major institutional powers to demonize each other as their jockeying for power escalates.
Meanwhile, the rush into the new era gains speed without any workable means to govern it to produce a world that thrives instead of destroying itself.
Part 3: When Demonizing Marks Dialogue
When demonizing marks dialogue, you can know that change is imminent.
We are desperately trying to hold on to outdated and inadequate answers to questions of culture, and as yet don’t see the need for new perspective.
We build straw men of issues that are no longer relevant and shout louder because our sermonizing is falling on ears that have tuned us out as they listen to the strident beats of a future drum.
Genetic modifications, artificial intelligence, extended life spans, loss of human supremacy, cessation of wars, living without privacy, explosion of knowledge, and countless other life altering topics are waiting to be confronted and grappled with in a worldwide competition of how to address them for the good of all.
There’s only one outstanding rule that must direct the competition:
No solution presented can be selfish.
We must leave the age of selfish gain behind and step into a realm of selflessness that we know humanity is capable of. Heroism must become the norm. We will not survive unless we choose this as the sword we will fall on in the battle for our future.
Selfish egos, self-preservation, pride and greed must be subdued. They truly have become the sins of death on a global scale.
If we are to continue evolving, the new mark of fitness to survive will be selflessness.
Can we steel ourselves to mount that precipice or will we succumb to the softness of our comfortable selfishness and plunge into the abyss?
We must become so convinced of this essential new norm of humanity that it becomes our clamor, our life-blood, and our revolution if it is resisted.
We love it! It is the gist of our favorite stories.
It must become the prevalent human trait if we are to survive and thrive.
If not?… Sayonara
Part 4: For our Children and their Children!
There’s a great old allegory that crosses the religious and cultural boundaries of the East and West. Some details vary, but the message is identical. There are two rooms, one representing Hell and the other Heaven. Everything in the rooms is identical. There are tables, sumptuously covered with delectable food, with people seated around the tables. Every person has a lengthy spoon (western edition) that enables each one to reach the entire feast spread before them. The spoon is attached in such a way as does not allow people to feed themself. In the room that is Hell, greed keeps them from feeding each other, even though the spoons allow for that, so there is constant lack. In Heaven’s room, the choice has been made to feed each other, so there is no want.
We must choose now whether we will destroy ourselves in hell or thrive in heaven.
For a more detailed version of the story in poem form, check out this delightful rendition The Three Foot Spoons.
We’ve attained a level of knowledge that cannot be sustained in the age of reason (enlightenment). Why? Because knowledge and power are linked in this era we have worshipped for 500 years.
Knowledge can take us anywhere we want to go. It can also precede us in ascending pinnacles we are unable to descend when we discover destinations untenable to our survival. Ultimately, knowledge is capable of reaching beyond our power to control it. We are climbing that pinnacle at this moment.
How do we escape the untenable position?
By removing Power from the driver’s seat.
It always ends up corrupting whoever has it, so knowledge is never completely safe in its care. Put it in the passenger seat.
We must give the driving to Selflessness.
It is time to re-think everything that we glorified in the age we called enlightenment.
If we don’t, we have chosen a room called Hell, and we won’t survive.
We need to call the best and the brightest from every discipline together and consider what it will take to move into a new era with Selflessness driving.
If the age of reason can bring us to the room called Heaven, the era of enlightenment will have fulfilled its purpose.
And we will have enabled a new era.