Life is made up of moments – the elemental makeup of our time on this planet. Moments are infused with meaning and potentiality. Choose one course of action in a moment of time and it could have lasting impact on every moment there after. I am fully convinced that our current historical moment is intense in its challenges and must be understood in order to make the most of it. I call it crunch time.
The following are the realities of our moment as I see them:
Relentless: The changes that come at us during crunch time are insidious in their attacks. There is hardly room to breath. Take the current technological advances as an example. The computer in your car is exponentially more powerful than the computer that got the man to the moon. The cell phone in your hand connects to a worldwide library of information – unheard of two years ago. And on it goes.
Disconnected: There really is no continuity from yesterday to today. The changes are just too prolific and earth shaking. Though we might learn lessons from the past, the changes bearing down upon us require different ways of thinking and doing than the past can provide the resources for. Take warfare as an example. Previous wars were conventional with massive movements of troops and equipment spearheading into a particular geographic location. Today's armies are starting over in their strategic thinking. Combat today requires smaller troops supported by robotics to fight intense squirmishes that aren't isolated to one location.
Accelerated: Change is not only relentless but accelerated. That is, the changes we experience do not slowly unfold over a few generations but often happen in days and hours if not minutes. The current economic condition, while brewing for a while (10 years they say; which is a blip on the screen of human existence) came upon us so suddenly that we weren't sure how to react. Who would have thought that stately Lehman Brothers would no longer be in existence today, collapsing virtually overnight.
Advantageous: I am a huge proponent of hope. In fact in my keynotes I always refer to hope as the only operative dynamic that is going to get us anywhere. Without hope the future looks bleak and our days are laborious. So, our current historical moment is full of opportunities to change the world for the better. The anemic economy is creating new patterns of existence. We are being more community minded and altruistic as we share in the deprivation together. Our lives are being marked with restraint and frugality, both important virtues toward a sustainable future and away from rampant and erosive consumerism.