The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Trends and their transitions

As I was attending a workshop I was invited to think about five huge trends. On the list, we had globalization, urbanization with the concentration of wealth, the technical evolution, climate change, and the redistribution of the world’s population.

All five of them are led by a transition that impacts the trend in one way or the other. The five transitions establishing the megatrends are ecological, economical, energetical, humanistic, and digital.

None of these transitions are set to be solely good. Actually, we are figuring out where they are leading us to. It’s what transitions do. They open up a path and it depends on how we handle it. There is an invitation to move into one direction, a desire that is appearing but one that is not settled. The question will be if and how that movement is being supported or not.

Something that we can notice In the case of the technological evolution is the fascination that comes with the digital. It’s one that often leads to admiration or idealization of the possibilities. What’s less visible is the impact it has on people. The digital lacks the ability humans have to be tolerant. Digital most often means that there is an either-or decision. That it is a decision that is based on information that had been right at the beginning but has become outdated through new experiences as people learn to have a better understanding of the situation. It is a decision that is either black or white where humans would allow integrating the experience into the final decision. We can also see how challenging it is to build algorithms that are not impacted by bias. Both leading to situations which often feel to allow for less justice and humanity than humans can bring to the table. This is not to say that human decisions will always be better. What can be noticed, however, is that injustice from an algorithm seems to be much less acceptable than from a human. The question thus becomes if we’ll allow fascination to lead the transition.

When it comes to globalization, the transition is a humanistic one. What it calls for is empathy. Empathy is the reaction we develop when we become aware of events like earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, or other types of events affecting people’s lives throughout the world. But as more and more of these happen, the question becomes if we can sustain these reactions or if we’ll start to experience them as habitual. We know that it is a movement that needs more and more support to compete for people’s attention.

Depending on how that movement is supported we might end up with a focus on performance instead of one building relationships and connections.

This is a reminder, that movements easily shift. A trigger can set it off in one or the other direction as it amplifies the existing movement.

It means that our individual support matters and impacts the movement. The choice is ours.


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