We must be mindful of our current trajectory and the fragility of the moment in history that we now occupy. It may be argued that science and technology have already outrun our morality and we are on an inevitable path to extinction. Indeed, in 1966, Carl Sagan and Boris Shklovskii suggested that technological civilizations will tend to either destroy themselves within a century of developing interstellar communicative capability or master their self-destructive tendencies and survive for billion-year timescales. The time in which we find ourselves is certainly full of unique challenges, but there has always been struggle when facing new paradigms—it’s how we deal with these upheavals that matters. As my dear friend Marshall McLuhan noted: “It is how we perceive [cataclysmic changes] and react to them that will determine their ultimate psychic and social consequences. If we refuse to see them at all, we will become their servants. It’s inevitable that the world-pool of electronic information movement will toss us all about like corks on a stormy sea, but if we keep our cool during the descent into the maelstrom, studying the process as it happens to us and what we can do about it, we can come through.” I believe we can influence events. Yes, there are powerful forces that can determine the direction of the future, but I truly believe the future doesn’t happen only passively and inevitably. The future is CREATED—it is imagined and realized by visionaries who work and sacrifice for it.“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality—and then there are those who turn one into the other.” –Douglas Everett So let’s become entangled in empathy, absorbed in altruism, deified through diversity, and cajoled into cooperation. Let’s coalesce reason, knowledge, logic, data, metrics, intuition, passion, romance, poetry into a single note, and sing it in the key of synergy. It will be these qualities, and more, that will help us take the next perilous step into the journey of our collective destiny, allowing us to gaze into the mirror of naked self-truth and know that we can be wonderful.
SYNERGY July 14, 2011