The first day of the Principles of Successful Living class, when Dr. Chris Michaels explained about what the requirements for this final project were, I was a bit perplexed. Being a Software Architect/Engineer for 15 years I have a very logical mind. I have always been interested in what futurists have to say about where we are heading as a race. You see, when I was a senior in high school we read the book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler and I was hooked. Since then I have read or watched whatever I could find by futurists. I have put considerable thought into this subject. I had to think hard to support some of the claims made by these futurists, with personal life experience, as well as things I think align with these, I guess call them projections of predictions. Of course I had to do this in a way that ties the fundamentals of what we have been learning from Dr. Chris into the equation.
In 2001 I was living and working in New York City, with my husband of 12 years at the time. We were both making a ridiculous amount of money. We had a car (in New York City that is a big expense), and apartment that was free and clear in Greenwich Village, as well as a cabin in the country. We were plugged in, totally hooked by the whole system, and were what most people would consider highly successful, yet we had little time for enjoying what we had. The stress and pressures were beginning to wear on us, we both worked 80+ hours a week, and when not at work we were tied to our Blackberries. Then September 11 happened and everything changed. All of the things we had acquired, all of the security the money helped us to feel was gone, it became secondary.
My whole world was torn apart, and suddenly nothing was the same anymore, it was the beginning of a tremendous shift in my awareness about what was truly important. But it wasn’t necessarily the event that shifted things for me; it was what happened in the city as a result of this tragedy.
New York City has millions of people living there on that island, but it can also be the coldest, loneliest place in the world. People will step over you, and not even notice you are there. But the weeks following 9/11 were miraculous. The care and concern, the love, the interaction and the comforting that I saw and experienced has forever changed my life. People you would see every day, for years, who never spoke a word to you before, were suddenly asking you how you are feeling. Spirit was truly shining for those two weeks. It was heartbreaking as it slowly faded, but my vision for the future is based on what I experienced in that city after that tragedy, a loving kind society; I was witness to a compassionate place that already exists deep within our hearts, deep within Humanity.
Is this kind of world vision even possible? I believe it is, but not with the system we currently have in place, I mean it is already on a slippery slope. One future vision that futurists see, one that I align with, is a cooperative society, where we use technology to eliminate the need for a daily work grind, and instead individuals will contribute a few hours each week to keep it all up and running. Resources and talents are freely shared. An increased focus on art, music, creative individual expression, and continuous education is realized. Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar would solve many problems we currently are facing, most importantly our environmental ones. This is all possible, but not with the current monetary system our world is based on. Futurists say that if all the wealth in the world was evenly distributed, we would have an amazingly high standard of living. Money overrides everything, and like New York City in November, people easily forgot what was important.
Many of you may think this is not possible. Surely most of the friends I have discussed this with since the beginning of class, have aggressively said that it will never happen. But if we look closely enough, we can see places where we are moving towards a cooperative society. When I worked at The Blackstone Group in NYC, I was managing large groups of software developers. We were sent to a class to learn how to better manage the younger generations, because it was becoming an issue. One of the things I learned at this seminar was the younger generations would rather be rewarded with time off, rather than money. Really?? Think about that. Clearly this is indicative of a change of view, some say it’s a lax work ethic, but I believe that they see what is truly of value. To me I see an evolutionary raising of consciousness.
Uber and Airbnb.com are primary examples of cooperative resource sharing, although these exist within our current monetary system. Websites exist where people can lend or borrow tools and all sorts of things. Pay it forward websites exist where people give things away instead of throwing them in the garbage. People on social media often do house or apartment swapping with people who want to travel to where they live. Hotels are losing, and individuals are winning, providing a better value and service. Within our community at CSL we clearly can create a cooperative system where we share talents and resources to make it easier for us all. In my heart I believe what Anne Frank wrote in the darkest of times. “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart”. I experienced it those few weeks in September.
A loving kind cooperative society is my future vision for the world.