Learning from failure
By Mike Meyer
Where are we going? An old question ever only partially answered. In geography we may have an idea but in time it’s only the future wherever that is. But there is the problem of determining the direction of the future. Are we running toward it or trying run away from it? Do we know?
At this point in the great transformation of humans on planet Earth we are beginning to accelerate into lives that are becoming dream like. Many books have sketched the tremendous potential based on how far we’ve come since the horrors of much of the 20th century. We have half the number of regional wars of forty years ago. Abject poverty has been nearly eliminated while the power of markets have finally become available to many diverse cultures. Technology made much of this possible and now has begun to forge completely new forms of human society based on diversity and new openness to sharing. This is essential as we face the challenges of climate change and the establishment of sustainable life styles.
All of this is drastically changing daily life for billions of people. And, with the inevitable problems of adaption and normal human failures, we are bringing this new type of society into being. Society not societies. Instantaneous communication and direct action. It is a planetary society but focused on diversity as all need to share the resources that are our heritage. How to do that is our second biggest problem.
Second but not separate as it is completely intertwined with the massive challenge of climate change. Anthropogenic climate change is a result of our failures to learn sustainability, sharing, and the power of human diversity earlier. Now we must bring it all off at the same time.
Interestingly the complex, nonlinear climate challenge is forcing us to deal with unification and diversity just as our civilization is rising to the level that it can deliver the resources of our planet to all of us but only if we can manage the systems that are demanded for this. And this requires us to seriously recognize the rights of all life and Earth itself. A very new thing for clan and tribal Homo sapiens. Our tribal groups are all planetary players now equally obligated to protest and maintain.
This is, effectively, our test that requires great change in ourselves to achieve what we are now beginning to see as possible. Depending on where you are and where your part of the planetary society is in this process of growth and test things are frightening and may seem hopeless. They are not. We have past most of the tests. The last is not easy and is the biggest challenge to change our image of ourselves and our planet as a unit, diverse yet responsible together.
For Americans, who just tried to celebrate their national holiday, it feels as if it is all slipping away. The problems have become nearly overwhelming with an incompetent and corrupt government that seems dedicated to dragging every evil up from our past. This is an excellent model of our intense planetary challenge. America has led for fifty years in bringing wealth and a basic concept of equality to the planet and its failure now is appropriate.
It typifies the failures to implement and to manage great wealth with the failure to overcome its own racism, ignorance, and susceptibility to all the evils that it long saw itself fighting. Those failures must now finally be admitted to gain maturity. It is our cultural coming of age and it may fail. But we will not fail.
In it’s final stage America seems to be leading by showing the mistakes that must be dealt with quickly while we have time. Great wealth gives the potential of universal well being but that must defeat the deformities of greed that were allowed to dominate American and some other cultures. Greed has also destroyed the government that was one of the first to maintain the ideal of equality and opportunity but could never move past the easy symbols to the daily reality.
That is a lesson for humanity. For those of us who are American we can provide new leadership by showing how to transform the old and failing systems into the new by achieving the power of diversity that we had almost achieved. The Amercian majority depression is having the future apparently snatched away by old errors we thought we had overcome. We hadn’t and that is the lesson. The future is not easy but it is far more than we even imagined.
America’s loss and failure is the training example that can show us all what needs to be done. Looked at that way makes is a challenge and not so bad as much of the planet is already pulling away and learning that they must act under the new order for everyone’s sake. Greed and ignorance are death for the planet. Very simple and very direct. Success will bring us Earth 2.0.