Ours is the best of times. Ironically, it is the worst of times also. Summary review of the state of the world indicates a mixed blessing.
On the positive side are:
The highest standard of living ever known
Record consumption of goods and services
Eradication of hitherto incurable diseases
Unprecedented levels of material well-being
Healthier lives and longer life spans
Instantaneous communication across the globe
Vast array of scientific and technological breakthroughs.
Negative conditions include:
Ever-looming threat of mutually assured destruction.
Disaster metaphor after disaster metaphor portrays the state of the world as:
“a planet in peril”
“breakdown of our cultural pattern”
“crumbling modernist times”
“disillusionment of entire populations”
“disintegration of society”
“imminent collapse of civilization”
“impending convulsions and chaos”
“malfunctioning socio-political-economic system”
“massive breakdown of individuals, and societies”
“massive dislocation in the affairs of humanity”
“massive failure of modern civilization”
“the end of civilization”
“tottering on the brink of disaster”
“unsustainable direction of modern society”
And so on.
The familiar cliché, “If you're not scared, you probably aren't listening,” captures the mood of people everywhere.
Reactions to the State of the World
Reactions to the current state of the world range from passive resignation to naive optimism.
The one extreme is people who interpret the modern crises as signaling imminent collapse of civilization.
The other extreme is those who seem to believe that things will somehow sort themselves out if we simply maintain the present course.
Between the two extremes is the growing number of individuals and social movements proffering an assortment of (sometimes complementary, sometimes conflicting) proposals to avert the ultimate catastrophe.
Questions for Concerned Planetary Citizens
The dreadful and increasingly volatile state of the world raises two fundamental questions:
Why is the world’s deplorable situation continuing to deteriorate, despite all the time, energy, and resources that are being committed to its amelioration?
Are the world's life-threatening crises unsolved because they are impossible, or too difficult, to solve?
Or, might it be that we have not yet found appropriate framework for understanding and resolving the seemingly disparate problems?
Our quintessentially creative, but historically overlooked, essence as humans:
Homo Creativusimplies that the taken-for-granted “rational economic man” (inherently materialistic and consumption-driven) upon which most modern institutions have been built is, rather, an inherently creative and potential-actualizing being — naturally and primarily driven to develop and to beneficially engage one’s unique set of abilities, with economic consumption and material well-being as the means to that end.
World's underlying but unsuspected and unnoticed crisis:
Global Creativity Crisis is the inability of the vast majority of people to reach and to contribute their creative potential in significant and beneficial functions; and, resultantly, the spreading epidemic of meaninglessness of which many (probably, most) psychological, social, economic, political, and environmental crises are the symptoms.
Implications for Human Affairs and the Planetary Future
Homo Creativus(the authentic sense of who we really are and why we live) and Global Creativity Crisis(the fundamentally new understanding of the modern crises) require us to rethink the way we live, work, raise children, educate the youth, manage institutions and organizations, govern society, and relate with one another and with the natural world.
Since humans are quintessentially creative beings, naturally and primarily driven to realize one's potential and to fulfill one's destiny, it is essential that every public policy, every business decision, every social action enhances people's innate abilities — their creativeness — if the policy, decision, or action is to genuinely succeed and endure.
If we are to successfully resolve the chaos that the world is experiencing, and to leave a viable Planet Earth for future generations, what is needed is a social-economic-political system in which all the Earth’s seven billion inhabitants are able to develop and to contribute their unique abilities in important and beneficial functions and, thus, to experience their lives as having meaning and significance, and as genuinely successful.
Necessarily, too, we will need to evolve goals for mankind and Planet Earth that people see as giving meaning, purpose, and direction to their lives and, therefore, as worthy of the commitment of their time and their creative energies.