What I worry about

I have an increasing conviction that an old world is crumbling under its own corrupt weight and that something new and interesting is beginning to emerge in its place. But two things worry me. Firstly that the new thing isn’t working itself out as fast as the old thing is falling apart. And secondly that we will be tempted to turn the new thing into a thing. I have referred before to when Stowe Boyd first used the word “movement” to describe what we were seeing emerging around us and that this made me feel nervous. What we have here is too fragile and precious to turn it into an “-ism” or an “-ology”. As soon as we do that it will start to it will develop its creeds, orthodoxies and priesthoods and start to die.

19 thoughts on “What I worry about

  1. I have an increasing conviction that history is simply repeating itself. The Occupy movement has more in common with Rome's legions than they would ever understand or accept. I'm just as scared by people who think they can build a new world as those defending the manifest faults of the old one. "Brave New World" is a satire not a warning.

    Like

  2. History has a tendency to do that unless people read it! This was kind of my point. Is it inevitable that new orders become as bad as the old?

    Like

  3. <SNIP> "Firstly that the new thing isn't working itself out as fast as the old thing is falling apart." <SNIP>The pace of the old degrading is minimised by all those incumbents who have too much to lose. That's a powerful forcefield to rail against. It's an energy sapper, a problem the young turks could do without.

    Like

  4. You've been reading too much John Gray! Sure there are aspects of humanity that appear inevitable but that doesn't negate the possibility of progress either.

    Like

  5. Thanks for the post Euan, thought provoking as always!I'd like to pose the idea that perhaps this new reality will not ever take the place of the old one, but be a very different reality based around chaos-as-normal. I heard a phrase recently which I really resonate with, that 'the natural way of things is to move towards chaos, not order.' So perhaps this new reality we're moving towards requires us to evolve to cope with that, rather than the more 'stable' ideas we have about our recent reality.Finally, to borrow from William Gibson, 'the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed' and so it's our job and responsibility to seek out those people already thriving in this new chaotic world we're moving towards. Thanks again for the post 🙂

    Like

  6. I'm so intrigued by the perspective that things having to go from order to disorder. Why does it have to be either or? It seems that true enlightened progress does not evolve that way, it transcends the old into a "new order" of things, doesn't it? I'm wondering if the evolutionary "chaos" is really the feeling of disruption, displacement, and disorientation that happens with change, until things are re-calibrated into a new equilibrium. Doesn't nature require equilibrium? The key is to dismantle that which holds back enlightened progress, whether it's systems, organizational structures, power constructs, sharing arrangements, thought processes, whatever. Letting the new emerge and "occupy", unencumbered by the old Cartesian forces, is the hardest task for humanity. Euan, I loved your comment, "What we have here is too fragile and precious to turn it into an "-ism" or an "-ology". As soon as we do that it will start to it will develop its creeds, orthodoxies and priesthoods and start to die."

    Like

  7. You are right Eli and in the same vein I reckon managers will adopt more of a "removal of obstacles" orientation to go along with the conventional "maintaining of order".

    Like

  8. Oh dear, not my point, at all. I'm not suggesting a removal of obstacles approach in order to maintain convention, but rather, a conscious holding back of our inclination to encumber and control while something new is emerging [hopefully, to your point]. I guess I'm just not sure how "chaos" is good for very long, given that all things seek equilibrium for optimal experience [at least for a while until the next disruption]. 🙂

    Like

  9. I reckon we are agreeing! I was picking up on your idea of letting the new emerge – sometimes it struggles and we can help by making it easier rather than pushing any particular thing. I reckon it is a faster and less painful ebb and flow we are looking for. Bit like my idea of ephemeral meritocracies rather than rigid hierarchies. Not overly structured but not unstructured either. It is interesting how many of the words we bandy about aren't quite right at the moment.

    Like

  10. I very often feel a little bit stuck in both realities – the old and the new one, yet if I compare our times to all my history lessons I feel that our times are different. Or maybe I am one of the lucky ones – I feel that in our times the older world and the new one connect in many more areas than ever before, so even if we are doomed to be overthrown by our children, we at least start to see the benefit of it and try to empower them to do so. (OK, the very few of us, if I might say so).

    Like

  11. I don't see it as "old world" or "new world" I see it as the same world with different variables.What we are observing is hysteresis caused by the dynamic lag between the fast changing inputs and the slow changing outputs. Humans become conditioned to be more dependent on their past experiences than their current environment, that's what causes this lag.

    Like

  12. To respond to Eli, yes, it is useful to understand nature as attracted to equilibrium, but that equilibrium is a 'dynamic equilibrium' (i.e. constantly changing) that cycles around a particular attractor unless it is pushed beyond the attractor – in which case it tips into a different state of dynamic equilibrium. Furthermore, nature is also 'social' i.e. it is always experienced through the lens of people's perceptions and at this current time in history, we are having to learn to work more closely again with the the dynamic equilibrium of nature while also always negotiating that understanding with others. I also agree with Euan that what is emerging in our own practices is too fragile and precious to turn it into an "-ism" or an "-ology", but mainly because that dynamic is now very rapid (at least on the fast trajectories Sean) and we just have to get on with surfing rather than trying to solidify it.

    Like

  13. What's your estimate of the percentage of the old world being sustained 1) because people believe they are right and 2) that due to corruption?

    Like

  14. to borrow from William Gibson, 'the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed' and so it's our job and responsibility to seek out those people already thriving in this new chaotic world we're moving towards.I'm just halfway through his new novel "zero history".So far, I think WG sees reality and meaning becoming more fragile, ephemeral and well … just chaotic with a dark side lodged in the purpose and activities of some in the shadow world he describes.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s