A weekly musing of art, music and life in the 21st Century
6 December 2020
Like you, some days I wake up and can’t wait to get my day going. Then there are some days that I don’t want to get out of bed, And then there are days where I have to get up but need copious amounts of caffeine to get me started. It seems like Pandemic mornings slide into the latter rather than the former. I am my most vulnerable because I know I have to find a way to keep going even though everything I’ve known to be true in the past is now uncertain. I can waft into a depression or avoidance at the drop of a hat. Then I remember I have to try to figure out how to pay my bills, stay healthy, deal with isolation and worry about my friends who are sick. Survival is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. So where do we go from here?
The term “event horizon was coined by Wolfgang Rindler. In layman’s terms it means: “point of no return” I have felt for many years that the humans were headed towards a massive shift in the modern world, a change as significant as the invention of the Gutenberg printing press, the dawn of the Age of Exploration, and the birth of Christ.
And now it is upon us.
There are many who espouse theories about the future. One of my favorites is Yuval Noah Harari. He makes a compelling case in his book “Homo Deus- A Brief History of Tomorrow” that humanism as we have known it for the last 300 years will end and we will all become (in Star Trek terms) “The Borg”. He may be right. Who knows? Ray Kurzweil talks about the coming “Singularity” as the point at which machines’ intelligence and humans would merge. It’s coming. We can’t stop it. So what are we going to do?
We have an opportunity that rarely occurs in human history. We can literally change the world we live in. With that opportunity comes a massive responsibility. We can either be governed by our fears or finally see the tangible value of love in our lives. We can design our future and it’s up to us.
Heady stuff…and scary too. But, it doesn’t have to be.
We are now two decades into the 21st century. Us boomers and Gen-Xers are aging out of society and being replaced by Millenials and Gen Z. This means for many of us, that we are unwilling or incapable of accepting the change that is happening. There is a lack of leadership because our aging leaders are simply ill-equipped to see the way forward. The wheels are coming off. Our institutions are under attack. People are marching in the streets. Poverty, mental illness. Our world is a mess that couldn’t have been avoided. It was inevitable. It’s part of the evolution of man. So what do we do now?
Humans have a built in alert system that tells us to either run from a threat or to stand and fight back. It is involuntary. It’s not related to ego, status, physical prowess. It just IS. That being said: we also have the ability to appraise our situation and make a choice. So, now that we are at this obvious inflection point: what are you going to do?
As scary as it may sound, the past is dead. Norms are dead. The past will never return exactly as it was before. Give yourself time and the permission to grieve your past. It will make room for whatever will come next.
Paraphrasing Alvin Toffler from his 1970 book “Future Shock”: we must learn, unlearn and relearn to be literate in the 21st Century. Give yourself the permission to unlearn what you have learned in the past that is no longer relevant and keep an open mind when approaching your life and your work.
We all have unique talents. We all have skills we’ve developed. It IS possible to reinvent yourself, to find a new way to apply what you do well to new circumstances if you are willing to look at yourself and your situation through a new lens. However, to do this requires you to be brutally honest with yourself so you can avoid fooling yourself.
In my ebook “Finding Your Way Forward” I describe a method I’ve used through the years to reinvent myself. It outlines a specific process you can follow to reorder how you think about yourself and your abilities so you can see new opportunities.
I’m bullish on art and music. We crave the connection with others that it creates. And, as machines occupy more and more of our daily lives, the need for human connection, empathy, compassion, community will undoubtedly increase. Why? Because if we don’t focus on these innate human qualities they may be swallowed up forever by the exponential growth of technology. So…
If we change our mindset from life as a “zero-sum game” to one of service and connection we can literally design a different, vibrant new world where people are valued and not discarded.
The thing is: for this to happen means we have to make a commitment with the faith that it will work out and knowing there will be no guarantees. It’s risky. It’s difficult. But, what do we have to lose? I’ll let you be the judge.
My commitment is to use my art and music to spread joy, love and kindness. As Quincy Jones once said: “I give without expectation and am grateful for the result”. Sage words (albeit difficult to live by).
I am hopeful. We can do this.
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