Given that I have no idea what I am talking about most of the time and that I much prefer to live in the forest so as to preserve that blissful ignorance, it is amazing that I come up with any ideas at all, really. Well, maybe wood-chopping and oyster-collecting ideas might be expected but, honestly, I do all that kinda stuff the old way. No major deviations when shucking oysters or digging clams for me!
Any original societal or philosophical ideas from me would seem implausible and any new concepts about modern life must be erroneous by definition. I am not modern. I am a Luddite. I am not hip enough to even use my cellphone properly; how can I possibly be right about anything big, modern, international or even interesting for that matter?
But that doesn’t stop me from trying. Maybe I am a neo-Luddite. Ideas? I have a few but then again, too few to mention (sung to a Sinatra melody). But here’s one: I am not sure but we may now be already ankle-deep in a world-changing revolution.
You’d think we’d know…...?
This might be some kind of global, tech-cum-institutional, climate-altering, nation-wrecking, personal-identity-including shake-up of such colossal proportions that it is happening without us even knowing it. Better put: I don’t know it. But I suspect it.
Who ya gonna call? Certainly none of the institutions we usually rely on for information, that’s for sure!
This question requires a way, way out of the box perspective.
Why? Because all institutions are, by definition, status quo oriented. We form organizations to make changes and then we maintain the organization to fine-tune the changes that were made (kept to within the confines of their constitution) which, in turn, solidifies the institution against any major change. This it remains the same. It is what societies do. Repeat efforts until the institution is hoary and useless.
What do I mean? See education, health care systems, governance, law and traditional allegiances like Masons, Rotary, Religions and even the way war is prepared for (they are always preparing for the last war and the new one surprises everyone. A good example is today’s cyber wars and terrorism).
Another more personal example: the entire ‘working-for-the-man’ kind of job we have all grown up with, studied for, unionized over and insured against losing (EI) is all a ‘construct’, an institution born from the basic company structure invented hundreds of years ago but whose zenith has likely passed. More and more people work free-lance, free-form, unstructured, part-time, temporary or on contract. Or we outsource. It may not be what we want, but that is the way it is going.
Things change. And those caught up in such changes are often the last to notice.
Even governments are changing with explosive rapidity these days from the Ukraine to the Arab Spring, from the Canadian Senate to the underground economy. Speaking of which: Bitcoin, though mortally wounded, was an attempt to change the very nature of the world’s currency. It doesn’t get much more fundamental than that.
Put another way: my nephew recently complained to me that, “…. the %^%$#@! baby boomers are holding on to their jobs thus effectively marginalizing youth and keeping us at home playing video games in the basement”. His point: the old jobs weren’t there for him. And, of course, he is right - often they are not. Nor will they be there for anyone in another decade or so.
And so my point is this: everything is changing so much that such massive change might meet the definition of a revolution. Apologies to John Lennon:
You say you want a revolution
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know you can count me out
You say you got a real solution
We don’t love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
We’re doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
You say you’ll change the constitution
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Even the definitions of sex, marriage and family are being redefined. It is all in flux.
I dunno, folks…..the only thing we know for sure is that things change - so that is no surprise. But we also know that ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’. And we can call that the ‘somewhat fluid status quo’. But that second part may have changed. It may not remain the same. When things change on such an epic scale, when institutions from all walks of life crumble and when basic human behaviour seems to be undergoing massive fundamental change even on a molecular level, we may – just may – be on the edge of the revolution we have so often talked about.
Remember: nobody said it would look like we expected it would and, when you think about it, a real revolution never does. It is totally unexpected.
Could this be it?