Our civilization is set to pivot.

I don’t think there’s any need to replay the state of the world. It’s pretty clear we’re in a period of intense change, where the many systems of our society have reached their limits, where our civilization is set to pivot.

Back in 2001, Ervin Laszlo wrote about this in Macroshift. He found a common pattern in civilizations over the course of our history. They set out on a trajectory based on certain combination of technology and mindset. At some point, that trajectory becomes unsustainable and the civilizations reach, like any system, a bifurcation point. Either they breakthrough based on a new combo of technology and mindset or they breakdown. While breakdown is alarming, it’s been pretty common in the history of civilization. The only problem is, this is the first time our civilization has been global. Breakdown would really, really suck.

Today, I believe that the emerging system of social technologies and the corresponding mindset founded in connectedness and purpose are the combination that offer a new, more sustainable trajectory. By social technologies I mean both the tangible ones enabling the mobile, social web, and the intangible ones like facilitation, inquiry, design, engagement and organization.

Perhaps the most simple and compelling reason is that where we find our selves is a product of what we’ve created in the past. Similarly the only way we can fix it is by creating new things that put us on that new trajectory. For that to happen, we need to move fast and from a different place than we did when we created this mess. And that’s where the social technologies and mindset come in. Social technologies give us unprecendented capacity to create effectively and efficiently. The mindset, on the other hand, gives us the presence and perspective to do it more constructively.

So that’s how I think we’ll make our pivot. Ventures do it all the time on their path to success. Civilizations have proven they can do it to. Now it’s our turn to do it together.

From where I sit, I know we need to, I think we can, I believe we will.

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  • I like the word breakdown. I see things heading where you are thinking they will. I think it’s how we cope with the breakdown that matters most, collectively and as individuals. I chose to go through my own breakdown before the circumstance of the world made me, which was a spiritual journey of realizing that nothing is under my control… nor does it need to be. That I wasn’t who I thought I was, that I was kind of full of shit.

    I think that’s what we’re all going to have to go through, at some point, together. Letting go of the idea of control, which is embedded in the systems of the world. It reminds me of Anthony Hopkins in Instinct: “We have only one thing to give up… Our Dominion.” http://bit.ly/9whFbQ

    • Good to hear from you Joe. You’re right the model of control is breaking
      down. Working on another post about ‘organization’ with that theme in it
      right now. Lots of good books pointing it out now in the ‘business’ world…
      just one of the places where we became particularly attached to that belief.