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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
A new direction (03/08/2009)
By Janet Lewis Burns

Technologies have endowed mankind with untold capabilities. As old cultural boundaries dissolve, every American must be open to unifying probabilities the new millennium is propagating. Spiritual lecturer Marianne Williamson points out, “Americans are not starving for what they don’t have but what they won’t give.”

I recently heard a TV newscaster making the flippant comment that it’s unlikely that anyone would have a dictionary on his or her desk these days. Others agreed.

“Well, excuse me! Hold the phone!” A dictionary is like an appendage to some of us out here! I sadly have to agree with the gal on the news show, however. With this new era of instant everything, who’s going to bother to use an intelligent word or to take the time to refer to the computer’s grammar and spell check?

Professor of entrepreneurialism, Lance Secretan wrote a compelling essay entitled “The Spirit of Work,” in which he says, “The Internet is the last piece of a human jigsaw puzzle in which we, at last, link the souls of humanity into one.” He, also, points out that a majority of people fear that they are unable to learn fast enough to keep pace with change at warp speed.

An example of how extreme technological advancements have impacted communications, Secretan writes, “It took 37 years for radio to reach 50 million homes, and it took the Web 4 years to do the same. With Internet traffic doubling every 100 days, we will now achieve what we have been dreaming about for so long – the integration of our lives.”

Gee, that puts lots of pressure on the aging Baby Boomer, who didn’t grow up with keyboards and programming skills. With the anxiety of job security, Boomers are feeling like they’re in a meltdown, left in the dust of super ambitious vultures who are aggressively scrambling to pounce on and overtake their office cubicles.

I discovered Lance Secretan, along with 39 other American visionaries, academics, activists, and spiritual leaders, in a collection of their essays. Edited by Marianne Williamson, “Imagine What America Could Be In The 21st Century” is a must-read for all thinkers concerned about the environment and a global society that can actually thrive. The book was given to me by one of my readers, Conrad Speltz, and I’m grateful to him.

This optimistic account of a more harmonious and humane future, in a self-sufficient, all inclusive society, reminds one of the zest to attain American ideals that defined the ‘50s and ‘60s. The word “bellwether” comes to mind, from the 1982 bestseller “Megatrends” by John Naisbitt - ahead of its time. Back then, the USA wallowed in its clout as a bellwether nation, that is a trendsetter, a world leader. The new direction espouses global cooperation for survival.

Some of the predictions Naisbitt outlined in his book revolved around the shift from an industrial society to one based on the creation and distribution of information, exploding into a

freewheeling, multiple-option society. Be still, my high-tech / high-touch heart! His robots never took off, however.

Author Paul Hawken outlines today’s reality in his essay “Possibilities:” “The commercial processes that bring us the kind of lives we supposedly desire are destroying the Earth and the life we cherish. Given current corporate practices, not one wildlife reserve, wilderness, or indigenous culture will survive the global market economy. We are losing our forests, fisheries, coral reefs, topsoil, water, biodiversity, and climate stability.” Life-supporting systems have been reduced to repositories for waste.

Our country has been defined as “corporate America” during the past 200 years, measured by material acquisition and status through corporations’ successes. Work environments need updating! It’s the biggest leap of the near future, as employers are realizing that the creative genius within us all has been repressed by “the old story of leadership and work setting.” Rejuvenation of physical environments into “sacred workplaces” promotes productivity and creativity, “designed to inspire the soul,” says Lance Secretan.

Next week, read about the end of cutthroat competition in that ages-old, habitual staple devoured with morning java and afternoon teatime - the local newspaper.

Janet Burns has resided in Lewiston all her life. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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