Friday, December 22, 2006

Who and What will Endure in Our Rapidly Transforming World?

Change is inevitable. It's always been so, yet rarely has "progress" been so strenuously dramatic as what we are experiencing in the 21st century.

Change in and of itself causes fear and resistance in most people. We are creatures of habit and we all develop our own little comfort zones from which we view and interpret the world around us. Normally, we can remain largely in control of at least that personal space so that the changes which otherwise encroach all around us are taken on at a manageable pace.

The key to the success of that kind of personal dynamic is that others out there are not too aggressive or insistent on us to change our ways before we are ready to. This allows us to feel that we retain our freedom of choice ... even if the only choice is whether to get on board now or later.

History Suddenly Morphs

Yet personal choice is not always a given. Human history tends to periodically convulse, usually in the form of violent conflict. These historical mile markers show up when the world as it was, is no longer. Contemporary populations are forced to adapt to explosively overpowering realities. World War II comes to mind as a fairly recent example.

Today, revolutionary levels of technological advancement, global access to the new technologies, resulting oppressive multi-cultural compression, and good-old-fashioned human nature in the form of resistance to change, create a volatile mix that seemingly must ignite and explode before it will clear off.

Virtually nothing today in the world is as it was 20 years ago--certainly not international ethnic attitudes, with emerging hatreds of every flavor competing daily for highest-casualty head-count--sometimes literally. And can my recollection be so bad as to be candy-coating memories of not that many years ago when America had many trusted allies and most border crossings were routine and more welcoming than threatening?

It's one big, hot kitchen today. Pots are simmering on all burners and there are plenty of cooks in line to stir them. Tension and mistrust, pride and envy are a few of the base human ingredients being allowed to fold into each other. Worst of all, emotionally rooted belief systems are at odds with each other, being forced into the same recipe--one that is supposed to be suitable for all palates.

We are living this socio-culinary experiment without a plan B. The only satisfaction being found is for those with a taste for violence, and that is being served up in many parts of the world.

Niche groups pushing aggressive, intolerant agendas are leading the way. Keeping global order will require a popular level of resolve that quite simply is not in place among the masses who are instead determined to remain familiarly comfortable for as long as possible. Surely, the vast majority of people in the world want to opt for peace, but given the malleable passivity of the various large majorities, significant yet small violent causes have little to fear, and their momentum becomes virtually unstoppable at some point soon. Resisting or not resisting that momentum ... either way, the global dynamic changes radically, in short order.

What Endures?

The question that has no sure answer--what will become of the world? Those of us who prepare for potential crises would like to believe that our own existence will be a positive experience.

But can we be sure? Of course not. We cannot even forecast with assurance the variables that will determine new realities. But those who feel there is radical change ahead in some form are likely on track.

How comfortable can we hope to be? Will cultural traditions such as Christmas, baseball, and Boy Scouts endure? Will institutions such as church and family continue unaltered? Will representative government and personal liberties remain possible? Will public utilities and food supplies be dependable? Will neighbors open their doors to each other?

There are certainly lots of opinions on outcomes, causes, and effects. But in the end, what matters is the moment. Be ready to adapt and to make choices quickly based on your values and your position of readiness. At crunch time, you may not have the opportunity to think through options, so it might be best to solidify your philosophical outlook now. I can't spell it out for you and no one else should either.

But one suggestion to take into consideration: death and suffering is not the worst-case outcome to seek to avoid. It may very well be that a just cause or position of belief is larger than any of us.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

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