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Intro to SHIFTING WINDS: Metaphors of Change

Hmmm, dare I suggest we are on the threshold of a new scale? One that may radically redefine life as we know it and leave a trail of unsuspecting castaways in its wake. Occasionally a shiver runs down my spine and it seems almost imminent.


Let me explain. I came across the concept of “scales” at a church related conference a year or so ago. It has been a burr in my mind ever since. The idea is that when you cross certain thresholds you step into an era where all the rules have changed.


An example: The Industrial Revolution. The transition to machine powered industry from manual production was a huge leap forward. It propelled the human race into a new era from which there was no turning back. Those who could not adapt were left behind.


Those of us in the Baby Boomer generation have witnessed the Technology Revolution. Computers proliferated like rabbits fundamentally changing the way we live and work. Again, there were casualties.


As we speak we are in the grip of the Information Revolution. The Internet has launched us into a new frontier of connectedness and knowledge we could hardly have imagined a few decades ago.


Now I believe we are on the threshold of a new scale that could dwarf these two goliaths. I’m going to name it the Virtual Revolution.


The Virtual Revolution, as I see it, is the fourth generation of an increasingly depersonalized humankind. The Industrial Revolution is its’ great grandfather, the Technology Revolution its’ grandfather and the Information Revolution its’ father. This child of the computer chip will have the resources at its fingertips to experience life entirely in a virtual world.


I don’t mean that no one will leave their houses anymore although that is not inconceivable. What I foresee, unless we act to stave it off, is an era in which each individual conceives the people around him or her as more virtual than real. Or to put it another way, more real in the virtual world than in the flesh and blood world.


In the Virtual Revolution the primary relationship John V Public will have is with his Blackberry because the whole world exists within it. The living, breathing hearts and souls at the other end of his Blackberry circuits will become extensions of the Blackberry itself. In short, a depersonalized world in which one-to-one relationships are supplanted by one-to-Blackberry-to-one relationships.


This may sound like wild science fiction. But think again. A Windsor Star article reports that 3.5 trillion text messages were sent worldwide in 2008. Do you even know how many zeros are in a trillion? I don’t but I do know this: When the number of text messages surpasses the number of spoken messages we will have passed into that new scale. And here’s the kicker: we won’t even realize it has happened. Maybe it already has.


The postings in the Shifting Winds section of this blog are my attempts to draw attention to the metaphors of change that are happening around us. I want us to be conscious of change as it happens and be prepared to say: “No, I don’t want to let go of that experience. I choose to keep my one-to-one-connections.”


Join me on that quest and let me know if I’m making sense or diving into the deep end without a life raft. Share with me your metaphors of change and how you choose to deal with them. I’d like to believe we can stave off the Virtual Revolution so the Blackberry remains a means to an end and not the end itself.



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