This piece is an excerpt from my ebook ‘Crowd/Control’, now available on Amazon.
We had the Industrial Age. We had the Information Age, which slid into the Communication Age of putting information to use. We saw ourselves from space as one planet for the first time, and then set about making it a technosocial reality.
If you had to classify the times we’re in now, or are moving into, what sort of Age would you call it?
I’m juggling a few different words for it. It could be the Age of Consciousness, or Psychology, or Illumination.
Use the brain, Luke
I’m not talking about consciousness and illumination in a woo-woo airy-fairy sense. It’s very practical.
We’ve learned to do amazing things, and more all the time. But what we’re increasingly bumping into is ourselves.
Our brains were wired up a long time ago, in ways that don’t always suit the modern world. For instance, if you’ve ever had a panic attack you’ll know that our threat detection and adrenal response systems are not always very smart.
Our social structures are based on principles that no longer hold (and some that never did).
We routinely mess each other up.
The world, and our fellow travellers on it, desperately need us to solve problems, to redesign the way we do things, to free human potential and build for happiness. Yet our sludgy conditioning makes us pretend these things don’t exist, or to scramble for illusory advantage, or to trot out maxims that will keep things safe and stable and low-energy.
I think the tide is turning on all that. I think more and more people have had enough of it. They look at where it leads and say it’s not good enough.
This is the age when we look inside ourselves and reorder our ways of thinking and being – or get brought down by the world they have manifested.
Think about all the stories that have been surfacing in the last few years that look under the traditional pillars of society and find unpleasant things living there.
Politicians, government departments, big business, media. Corruption, waste, ineptitude, inhumanity.
Some of these stories have been circulated by mainstream media, but it’s becoming ever more apparent that their reporting is timid and limited. More and more, the news is faster and more radical online. People spread stories to each other through social networks. If someone finds out about bad or stupid stuff you’re doing, or puts the pieces together, everyone can find out about it (if it catches a wave of interest).
Communication beyond borders naturally leads to shining a light on things that we never used to question. More equal culture means we no longer assume that ‘they’ are taking care of things for our good, or keep things quiet out of respect for someone’s status.
Perhaps, eventually, this feedback loop will help to train people to stop creating the messes in the first place and do things the way they ought to.
It is a kind of shaking out of collective morality. We find out what we think by how our reactions make stories spread.
In the last couple of years I’ve hooked up with networks of people who talk about inspiration and explore inward to help them find the way to creative, helpful, happy lives.
It’s a whole ecosystem, existing apart from the world of tabloid papers, trash mags, soap operas and ‘reality’ TV.
If you poke around in the right places, especially online social networks, you can find a growing army of people who are embracing new opportunities to do what brings them alive and carve their own niche rather than occupy one society has approved and furnished.
You’ll also find a lot of people thinking and speaking about what this means, and can mean, to the shape of society.
And some of them have built big communities and made a lot of money by helping people who hunger for this sort of path.
As people hear about more ways of living life, they become freer to ask what they want for themselves. As they see cool stuff being done, buried gifts become restless.
Want to read more, covering the cultural forces of crowd and control, and some major issues shaping the next few decades? Hop over to Amazon and get a copy!