The next several generations will have to manage a much more complex matrix of disruptions exceeding (with the possible exception of the Ice Age) anything the human species has ever had to manage in its history. Dramatic population growth, competition for food and natural resources, increased global tribalism and fractured national and ethic identities, climate change (global warming) with the profound challenges that extreme weather will impose, rapid technological change, robotics and corollary employment impacts, intense urbanization, cyber-integration, warfare, and personal information intrusions….
These and many other disruptions will be the norm for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The creative abilities of the human species has such profound range and depth, that these disruptions could well be the drivers for a revolutionary leap in social relations and resource applications on a global scale. It is rather a pathetic circumstance that humans are a reactive species; I suppose all animals really are. Planning and deferring gratification to create a profound future is not really a universal human trait. It is particularly sad that in first world nations which have the capital and resource flexibility to engage actively in this sort of existential exercise, there is little singularity of vision to coalesce for the greater good, local, national, regional, global.
However, it is now more important for these new generations to project into the future, develop the skills and shared purpose to address and not defer their intelligence and adaptive creativity to anticipate the dramatic changes that are rolling rapidly into our lives. The sense of common shared purpose and the excitement of coming to grips with these near-term and long-term profound changes, in novel and sustainable ways, can be powerful, exciting and expand the human creative box in novel ways.
It is a challenge of monumental proportions, not to be avoided (existentially, there is no avoidance possible) but with vigorous and with animation and optimism of the possible- humans can find mutual purpose and commonality in the challenges of the future and find hope and opportunities and a means of coping successfully, to the greater good.
But there can no longer be a short-term vision. Education must be purposeful and learning must optimize the broadest range of creative thinking and dynamic action. Silos of thought and silos of self-interest are simply the ostriches of human behavior which have little social merit, are self-destructive and should be relegated to the heap of failed human endeavor.
Think deeply, reflectively and collaboratively. With our 10,000 year old brains, it is time to shift the way we live and care about our future and our children, and their children’s, children’s, children…….