Friday, December 16, 2005

Humanity's Future

I just finished reading an amazing article concerning our future. A future about people and their ideas which are changing the world as we know it. The article deals with current emerging trends that will possibly reshape out world by the year 2015. I like how the authors actually placed a time frame within the piece. Seems to show a real belief in our abilities. Most futurist predictions travel in a linear thought projection even though real change is almost never linear. Real change usually comes to us as more of an undercurrent preceding the monster tsunami which is to follow. Change creeps into our lives quietly and it has a way of disguising itself in the "here and now" but later when viewed in retrospect, the subtle changes are looked upon as profound, necessary and inevitable. The editors of Ode place the power of change in the people's imagination, not in expert's linear thought processes. "The best way to predict the future is to help create it."

Ten trends are discussed which could reshape our world over the next 10 years. These ten trends are:

Just do it...yourself

The reign of experts and authorities is nearly over.

This trend deals with power of the Internet and our ability to access knowledge and information at any time we want. This eliminates the need for experts and authorities who hold information for ransom. We can all become specialists if we utilize the tools available to us and we are sincere in our quest for the required knowledge. We are becoming a do-it-yourself society where any of us can develop chosen talents which can be used without the approval of the old status, class, education structure. We are breaking down the walls of structure which limited us to a certain class position within society. We are breaking the chains of "information slavery" and we can now collectively build our future through our shared knowledge and experience without relying on a select few who have for decades attempted to monopolize knowledge. It is our watch people, and I know we can do it better! I see this as happening and I have to agree with this trend.
Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Now it is even easier: The tools you need are easily available. Most importantly— you can make a unique contribution that will enrich your life.

Hello and welcome, everyone

Diversity is key to economic and cultural vitality.

This trend has to do with the immigration issue and how open borders will create multi-ethnic and multicultural nations which will boost the economic success of a community. According to the authors, the mix of races, religions, and nationalities will determine the wealth of a nation. The need for passports will be a thing of the past and the infusion of unique blends of influences will be the yardstick of influence among cities and the nations they lie within. Immigration labor offers to fill niches within countries which have existed for decades. The immigrants contribute to the host nation's economy by paying taxes and at the same time, they help their own nations by sending monetary support to their families. The money they send to their families will greatly outweigh any foreign help which is offered by other developed nations. Will this help close the gap between the rich and the poor? The authors say this flow of immigrants will even stop overcrowding and some countries will even see diminishing populations as immigration continues to become the norm. The history of the U.S. is full of stories of the immigrants that built this nation and it wouldn't have had such a vitalized growth period without immigration. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door." With the Patriot Act in place, this trend toward open borders would seem to be a real struggle in my opinion. But then I'm being negative and thinking more linear I guess!
There are no good reasons to restrict immigration. Soon passports will be relics from a distant past, documents to be viewed in a museum. Remember: Columbus never carried one.

The liberation of education

Farewell to standardized tests, assembly line schools and one-size-fits all curriculum.

I definitely agree that every child and adult has a right to an education and the availability of knowledge. An elimination to standardized testing and the old idea of the one-size-fits-all curriculum seems very practical to me and I have studied about a few schools here in the U.S. who have incorporated a very new, democratically, consensus oriented way of teaching children which enforces the abilities of each student without focusing on a student's seeming deficiency in a particular area. Remediation of a perceived problem is carried out through positive reinforcement and alternative teaching techniques. One thing for sure is that we are all unique and different. I like that about human beings! And due to our uniqueness, our learning processes should also be unique. So in my opinion, this trend not only makes sense, I believe the changes the Internet has brought is helping this to occur now. I watch my grandchildren, and their knowledge grows exponentially as they master the acquisition of available knowledge. Their ability to use and to adapt with new technology at such a young age absolutely floors me!

The best learning happens in an open setting that encourages people of different ages to interact in many ways. One example might be elders explaining the wisdom of the past to youngsters who then teach the older generation how to use new technology. Learning—when it is free—is never-ending, because the essence of learning is not acquiring knowledge, but finding meaning in life.

Natural health

Healing is less about battling disease and more about cooperating with our own bodies.

The authors discuss the possibilities of utilizing ancient traditional medicine from the world over and incorporating these preventatives and practices into the current practices of Western medicine. Stress should be placed on medicine not remaining a profit generating business but rather medicine should be a basic right of everyone. Some diseases don't always occur from an outside source but can occur from an out-of-balance situation of our internal systems as well. The importance of life-style and diet has been proven to be a very good way to fight off disease and even Western hasn't always concentrated on these simple methods of life-style and diet but now these simple, holistic, common sense practices are very much a part of industrialized medicine. New alternatives such as biofeedback are emerging as a possibility in self-healing and something as simple as watching fish in an aquarium and meditation has helped thousands to eliminate stress. I have to agree on the emergence of alternative medicine and it's importance as well as the wisdom passed down from generation to generation. My Grandmother had her remedies as well as my Mother. A lot of the old ways have been lost but there has been a rejuvenation in learning the old ways and expanding the knowledge of the elders. The human mind is a fascinating thing, and the possibilities that surround self-healing is incomprehensible to most, but we're talking about the availability of knowledge and how it will impact our future aren't we?
Instead of drugging or beaming the hostile invaders to oblivion, there are ways to collaborate with the body to support and strengthen the natural healing process.

Countries. What countries?

The rise of regional power in a globalized world will redraw our maps once again.

Could we see states within the U.S. separate and become viable independent nations? That's pretty hard to imagine even from a very imaginable guy like myself! But the rise of "global villages", as globalization continues to grow, could possibly change the world in ways which are hard to imagine. As economies move into a more international market, perhaps it is possible that we will see some big changes as international finances begin to tear away their boundaries. If the financial boundaries dissolve, why couldn't all the other borders and boundaries begin to follow? Would it be possible to become a global nation, not just economically speaking, but a nation or federation democratically structured to support justice, equality, and make available to all inhabitants a quality of life only imagined?
As many businesses have shown, smaller entities—within a larger framework—are more efficient and productive. And bringing decision making closer to the people stimulates democratic participation. Power (closer) to the people! It is an old saying with fresh meaning in a world that is uniting and breaking up at the same time.

Where are you?

A revolution of authenticity will bring surprising social change.

Here we are talking about individuality and it's capabilities in changing the world. I can see the old bureaucratic, organized, structure which robbed humanity of authenticity and new ideas, falling away as awareness continues. I think all of us have become disillusioned with the current structures in place, whether we are talking about unions, businesses, or politics. We've been holding up a system which is just more of the same ol'-same ol' of being what the structure dictates it to be, rather than supporting creativity which comes from the thoughts and ideas of individuals who may just have an insight on the solutions of the problems we face in society. This integration of new thought in my opinion is indeed possible and extremely important for our future. I agree this is a possible trend as it seems to me to already be taking place and we are already exploring new possibilities and ideas which will benefit the human race, not just in our communities and our nations, but throughout the world.
This lack of authenticity, especially among those with power, spawned widespread cynicism throughout society. It alienated people from their work, from politics and from institutions created to serve the public.
Ultimately this process of alienation led to change as more and more people tried to embrace what is genuine, leaving behind roles they learned to play and becoming themselves.

Winning for all

Détente in the feud between science and spirituality.

In this trend of the future, the authors speak of a new balance between matter and spirit. A new paradigm which is equally supported through an alliance of our sciences and our spirituality. A world where the separation known to most of us as "church and state", no longer exists and a realization that our entire world is interconnected. I do believe we are all connected and it only makes sense these connections would encompass both the scientific world as well as the spiritual world. I don't find this unbelievable at all because the elders have always taught us that all of life is related, but when you speak of this within the current mainstream ideologies, people look at you as if you had a swastika tattooed on your forehead. The thought of a society that transcends material structures and exists also in a spiritual understanding of the importance of all of life, is very appealing to me. Since I've become more web-savvy and have connected with people over the entire world, I've seen this interconnection already and there's no reason why I would not believe this won't continue and grow.
Matter and spirit are meeting. Thoughts transform into physical reality; they materialize. We see what we want to see. We see what we create. We are what we think. This growing consciousness changes politics, economics, science and the arts.

We are family

The return of the tribe—but with one key difference.

Now I really like the idea this proposed trend is saying. Extended families, primal connections, in which all of us take part. Merging from small nuclear units into multi-dimensional families which may span the entire globe sounds absolutely inspiring to me. The richness and possibilities of developing ties with other people and sharing knowledge is awesome. We're already doing it and these ties are stronger than what one might think. The feeling of family does exist in these shared thoughts and ideas we pass back and forth in our communities. Even the occasional fight between siblings is there. :) Our home is no longer just a fixed structure within a smaller community, within the borders of our country. We communicate and build family relations with people over the entire globe. People who aren't afraid to think, share, learn, and teach as we strive to create a much better world in which to live.
But unlike the clans our ancestors knew, the tribes of tomorrow will not be concerned only with survival and protection from outsiders. They will be more focused on fulfilling the dreams and visions we share. As we each pursue our search for meaning, we may shift, over time, from tribe to tribe. Through all these webs we will create a unique blend of blood ties and lasting friendships.

Abundance

The hardest lesson may be accepting the bounty of the universe.

Now this idea is one of the hardest to imagine. The end of the scarcity of energy! Granted our nations invest too much in wars and other inhumane endeavors. And if the same amount of time, money, and energies were invested into alternative sources, then the possibilities could be vast. As the article mentions, "Just two minutes of sunlight would provide enough energy for the present annual consumption of the whole world". Just what we are capable of is hard to measure and just looking at history tells the story of the brilliance of the human mind and it's capabilities. In just a little over 100 years, what we have accomplished is absolutely amazing and when we compare what we've accomplished in one century with the preceding 4.5 billion years, it's just unbelievable. So maybe I can see the human race accomplishing the availability of unbounded energy. Especially if some of the other mentioned trends do actually become a reality.
We live in an endless universe, yet tend to see our futures within the context of present limitations. For us, the end of oil is the end of energy. Oil may be finished at some point. But the atoms that constitute oil will still be around and we will find ways to reconstitute them in different patterns to create new energy. We always have.

From greed to need

The main purpose of business evolves from profit to service.

Wow, now this is really stretching the imagination now! Businesses and corporations existing to serve the people and their well-being rather than profits. If the only profits acquired were to be used to continue their service to humanity, what kind of world would we see? If money were used merely as a tool rather than an objective, what could we accomplish? Great thoughts, but very difficult to visualize considering what we have as a model now. But the human spirit is much more powerful than anyone can imagine also, and it's power has and will accomplish many unbelievable things. Of course if we take these proposed future trends in conjunction with each other, it's easier to see how this could be possible. In other words, all these trends hinge on the possibility of the others. So in that context, is it possible for capitalism to shift from a greed to need base?
The good news is that crowds of young, energetic people have turned away from old-fashioned corporations that only serve their shareholders. They want to make more meaningful contributions to the world and to themselves. They constitute a new generation of entrepreneurs that is transforming capitalism. They are changing the world—one business at a time.


Now that was all ten of the proposed trends of change in our future. But they added an additional idea also which is the most important of all and without the possibility of this last trend, the others will be nothing more than a pipe-dream. The last one could also probably be the hardest of all the others...

Let’s get civilized

And one extra idea, that’s the most important of all.

Civilization! So far we've managed to really screw it up! How do we define civilized? When Gandhi was asked the question, "What do you think of Western civilization, Mr. Gandhi"? He replied, "I think that would be an excellent idea". With senseless killing, violence, genocide, starvation, and injustices piled endlessly on top of each other, is it possible for human beings to change and create a civil world? This is the tough one for sure! I believe we've made beneficial gains but it just seems as if there is so far to go! Let's no give up!
As we discover the capacity to create reality on our own terms, it is possible to imagine a really peaceful world. It begins in our minds. In yours. And ours. So on the way to a better future, we invite everyone with all our hearts: let’s civilize.


Check out the article at Ode, Your World in 2015.

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