Living Through a Paradigm Shift

Dear Readers,
I’ve turned to video to cover topics that I think are important but that I can best present in an informal and patently speculative way.  Today’s video is about living through a paradigm shift, which occurs when a society must abandon the concepts and practices that formerly governed its culture.  Do you think, as I do, that, in the wake of the insurrection and the pandemic, a new set of values and interests will come to prevail in the American mind?  Let me know.


4 responses

  1. Thoughtful comments. One thing I ponder with this topic is the maturing of the digital natives. Our country was poised for a shift, I think, in this arena too. True digital natives were probably not born until the release of the first iPhone in ’07. The change in information flow, socialization, etc. I believe has accelerated this social earthquake. The jobs recent college grads are applying for did not even exist a decade or so ago. Uber drivers, Instacart shoppers, Doordashers et al may form some important vertebrae in the backbone of a new working class.

    • Kate, I agree. Oddly, the digital interface is accelerating both decentralization/quirkiness and the growth of a more impersonal and homogenous society. Couple that with the generational tensions and it’s no wonder that the future shape of society is pretty fuzzy. There are other factors, too, such as the threat of human extinction, which are impelling people to rethink the basics as they emerge from the pandemic. The silver lining: this period of social slow-motion has upended routines in a way that put many of us in a mood for something new.

      I also didn’t touch on the huge topic of how staying at home has destabilized our notions about education–both basic education and higher learning. Education via zoom has shaken up practices and attitudes in ways that I think will be lasting.

      Thanks so much for watching and commenting. Great to hear your thoughts.

  2. Hi Susan: You didn’t touch on environmental issues, which Kate hints at–probably because you were likely limiting your observations to the United States. However, loss of habitat, extinction of species, degradation of land, air and water quality, and climate-related natural disasters all contribute to an underlying sense of doom that I cannot shake. Human beings have not shown an ability to deal with lesser problems, and I can only hope that earnestly dedicated people can coordinate some global solutions. But I am not optimistic. Let’s also not forget the number of guns in this country in the context of unraveling civility. Add these concerns to all those that you talked about, and the future looks very bleak, indeed. Perhaps there is some hope that like-minded individuals will maintain equanimity and a general kindness towards one another as these pressures mount.

    • Peggy, you express the spirit of this moment eloquently. The sense of doom and precariousness–that’s just it. And whether “earnestly dedicated people” can organize sufficiently to lead society toward humane and sustainable outcomes–that question is key. The scale of problems converging over us is daunting–but perhaps it will be galvanizing, too?

      In the center is the question of whether the little people can preserve their agency, integrity, and health in the face of offensive corporate shenanigans. It depends on the emergence of some new political leaders with Rooseveltian levels of energy and good will.

      Millions of Americans (I among them) see that modern ways of using planetary resources are leaving the entire human species imperiled. The pandemic may have marked the zenith of globalism, giving the green movement a push, by grounding us and redirecting our gaze back to what is immediately vital to survive. Some of the”extras” went by the boards, as folks focused on food and shelter and other pre-eminently important human needs. (Please see the first brief video I made earlier in the month called “Intensive Living.” It’s posted on the VIDEO page.)

      It remains to be seen whether government can remake itself sufficiently to protect life and the natural resources we all depend on to thrive. It’s all on us to live differently.

      Always a gift to hear from you.