tonight i was once again lamenting the lack of tools we have for dealing with what has become an exponential rate of collective change in our lives. more than any generation, we must absorb a massive rate of change. go back from three to 1000 generations ago and the total change is less than that of just the most recent two (i’m selfishly starting with my own here, trying not to feel so old). i observed, “it’s just like tyler durden said, ‘we are the middle children of history.’”
yesterday i had the thought that with just slight (from a ‘30,000 foot level’) changes, broad, deep assumptions could be turned on their head. i had this realization thinking about lawyers. a venerated (mostly) and well rewarded position in our society, the profession is based entirely around understanding a system. imagine the reversal of lawyeristic fortunes under any of the following: we develop into a stable anarchistic society; we fall into a totalitarian dictatorship (without an illusion of process); the legal institution of marriage was eliminated; or even if we just became radically libertarian. or stopped suing one another; stopped understanding recompense in purely monetary terms.
this led me to think of the changes that could turn our “economy” on its head. the other currently venerated position is that of the “knowledge worker”– another societal slot entirely dependent on systems. what if those systems decay or evolve (outside of our inventions and additions to them–this sounds very matrixy, but that’s not what i’m thinking…i just can’t yet describe what i’m thinking) in ways that negate our skills?
what if transportation systems broke. what if electronic currency systems broke.
what if local carpenters and metalworkers and tailors once again became the most valued professions?
which got me to the thought this evening: this is why we love apocalyptic movies so much. (and tying this back to my original point) we can handle and imagine apocalyptic change. the earth is moving all the time, but we’d rather have an earthquake.
the other day a coworker and i were discussing debt elimination (there is a word for this that is escaping me atm, but apparently this was a thread continued from a separate conversation with theyblinked about whether it would be a zero sum game–i.e. we all owe one another). i said that i would not be in favor of such a thing, having zero debt (beyond what is currently on my credit card this month); i also expressed concern for those who would game the system–i.e. get as many mortgages as possible before this day of jubilee (there’s the word)–or, denying that (with no preknowledge possible), that it would simply reward the reckless and dumb who lived their lives on the brink of bankruptcy for the sake of social appearances and/or telluric comfort.
but i realized to think about monetary systems in such a tyler durden way is much too simplistic. a righteous goal not being to game the current system but to subvert it entirely. to re-paradigm it completely. i think that’s why us geeks like geeky stuff so much: because it can enact change that we deem positive and deeply humanistic.
but we as human beings would still not be able to deal with that change. we would need tools; and gawddammit if that is the part that interests me so much, and i have not the faintest idea how to begin to even think about it…