I personally think the world is at the cusp of something larger than we are really capable of imagining – the Orlando shooting, the on-going unrest in the Middle East, Brexit, the Trump phenomenon, climate change, etc. People are observing 2016 is turning out to be an exceptionally negative year, I think what we’re observing is the tip of the iceberg of what will transpire for at least the next decade, if not longer.
To me, we’re paying the cost of unsustainable rapid growth – decades (if not centuries) of making decisions without understanding the long-term impact. These events are not separate or silo-ed, we live in a hyper-connected global ecosystem whether we truly understand it or not. Also, the rise of the information age has caused this massive divide between those who grew up with it and those who didn’t; those who have access to it and those who doesn’t.
What we’re dealing with is fear that has risen from generations of oppression, induced ignorance and divide. Politics aside, this fear will also be exacerbated with climate change, which will have a profound knock-on effect (if not already so). We are not good resolving the problems we have caused decades or centuries ago, so we can only attempt to respond to them.
I am using “we” deliberately, because personally I see myself as one interconnected species and I am really frustrated with the artificial lines we love to draw between ourselves – not to mention those lines are causing the problems we’re facing – yet I am hugely empathetic towards our collective psyche as well as a species conditioned by fear. We can only act with what we know and how we are taught to survive. We survive at all costs throughout our history, even if it means wiping out an entire race or razing centuries of accumulated knowledge to the ground.
To have a chance of surviving this mess we are in right now, we somewhat have to make a collective quantum leap towards cohesion, love and hope. I don’t blame you if you think that sounds like some idealistic hippie song, because sadly, that is who we are right now. Jaded, scared, cynical. But think of it logically and rationally. What is going to happen with more lines drawn? Think of the chain of events that would cascade. It is no longer possible to go back to a time where countries live in their own silos and pretend their people are going to be rich, comfortable and happy while the rest of the world is experiencing unrest. Something will happen eventually. This unrest coupled with climate change will cause radical responses.
We are looking at a bunch of difficult years ahead and I don’t know how difficult or how long. I don’t know if the current events are enough to send some warning bells. The problem is not the existence of someone like Trump or the “unexpected” result of Brexit. The problem is we think that we can get away with making short-sighted, self-interested decisions, whether as an individual or as a country, without causing some repercussions elsewhere.
Traditional power structures believe that knowledge will unhinge them. Now, we are dealing with the consequences of citizenry who lack the awareness of making enlightened choices (and we turn around to blame them for it). We cannot reverse history, but what can we do, moving forward?
The youth of this generation will bear the consequences, and also for me, carry the hope of our species. Right now, the only way I see ourselves correcting our course, is for our young to rise up to the occasion and challenge, to have the courage, faith and awareness to reshape this into a world they wish to live in. Many of them have been endowed with the power of knowledge and access to collective resources we never had. We need leaders who are capable of inspiring hope, not inciting fear, leaders who are capable of leveraging on our connectedness, not acting against it.
I am cynical about the current roster of global leaders (with a few exceptions), but I have much hope in the ones growing up right now, if it is not too late still.