The old is dying and the new has not yet been born. In between a lot of morbid symptoms arise.
The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.
Antonio Gramsci, Italian 1891-1937
I believe the most challenging and daunting task for leadership today (in whatever arena) is to create a vivid and compelling vision of the future based upon evolving realities and not worn-out platitudes; build a symphony of voices to enroll others in that vision; and then establish the initiatives to live into that vision. Perhaps at its very core is ‘consciousness raising.’
David Houle, author of Age Shift, is a well respected futurist who in his blog post today had the following observations.
I do think humanity has entered perhaps the most exciting, disruptive, transformative time in our history. Across the spectrum of technology, intelligence, medicine and education we stand ready to create entirely new ways of doing things and living than those we accept from the 20th century as “reality”. The only area I see being problematic in the next 10 years is the old economic banking system that came into being in the last century.
9/11 was truly a black swan event that altered the world. It shaped the arc of history in this century. We are still in a war that was started that day.
Katrina happened in 2005 and it is clear that New Orleans is no longer the city it used to be. The population is down by 25% and it has become a tourist echo of its legendary past.
We live in times when the old economic models, political systems and social structures are being challenged across the board. The “old” seems dysfunctional but the “new”, while showing itself, is not yet ready to replace the “old”. We are entering a period of creative destruction unparalleled in history. This is what leads me to sense a fragility in the global economy and the U.S. economy. We celebrate on the metrics of the old as they lose accuracy and validity.
Black swan events can also help accelerate the rise of new ways of doing things, of new ways of thinking that get propelled forward to replace the old that is breaking or at least creaking under the stress.
As I have written before, the next 20 years will be more transformative than any 50 year period in history. The outcome, the new realities of the late 2030s may well be glorious, but the road there will be full of disruption and change. That can clearly be seen.
Black swan events cannot.
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