Gary M. Spolansky, MBA/RMT
Over the last few years, the light that seemed to be shining so brightly at the turn of the millennium had grown dim with the events of 9/11. Since that dark event, the emergence of new light is once again becoming readily apparent.
With each passing day, there is some new recognition of awakening seeping into the fabric of mainstream America. Its not just those of us who have been the way showers. It has spread throughout the population and even by the tired standards of T.V., Newspapers, Magazines and other media, stories and events reflecting a new awareness are becoming more and more common.
Take for example the midterm elections of 2006. A populace who choose a course of conservativeness politically in 2001 after 8 years of a Centrist/Liberal approach to governing, reversed course and decided that course of action was too extreme. Just as the underlying theme of the "New Age Movement" is finding balance in all we do, the people of the U.S. in a clear voice rejected Extremism (cloaked in Conservativeness) and sought to restore some balance to government and the political process.
Another example and one that I feel strongly about, is how more and more people, when faced with the awful experience of having lost a family member to some form of violence, whether it be drunken driving, gun violence, random acts of irresponsibility, etc., are choosing not to seek the enforcement of Capital Punishment for these actions with the simple understanding that taking a life never replaces the life lost. The families of those who have been victimized in these crimes have also sought ways to forgive the ones who have caused them such great harm.
Yes, revenge (in the form of the death penalty) may satisfy our blood lust for revenge, but that does little more than to assuage our ego's view of what is right and what is wrong. Truly this new awareness is reflective of a changing consciousness.
Another area of awakening consciousness is found in the food industry where the dangers of transfat has become so pronounced that restaurants, diners and fast food restaurants are taking steps to change the oils they use - from those that contain transfat to those that are more healthy. This has come about because of political pressure brought to bear by the changing consciousness of each of us - which has always been the source of change on a larger scale. Its not true that you can't fight city hall. Only that its difficult to do it alone. But when working together as a society who's group values are changing and growing, those changes come more quickly and easily than it has in the past.
The release of release of Al Gore's Movie "An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 was also a significant event. Gore has been speaking out and lecturing on Global Warming and environmental change for perhaps 20 years now. When a man who was just a whisker breath away from the presidency, with a reputation for being smart and dedicated to a cause - even if he is somewhat robotic and drama less in his presentations, makes such a specific and well expressed case, serious people listen. And little by little, our political leaders recognize that it is politically expedient to acknowledge the dangers of environmental upheaval and take steps to combat it. This is underscored by the repeated attempts by special interest groups seeking to influence Congress to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to drilling by the big Oil Companies. Interestingly, each time the measure has been brought up to a vote, and it has been presented in many forms, it has been defeated. A big reason is the internet and the way ordinary citizens with the press of a button can express their concerns to their Senators and Congressmen.
Environmental damage and higher energy prices have made people start thinking again about alternate fuel sources rather than continuing to burn oil. As a result, hybrid cars (powered by a combination of gas and electricity) are becoming more apparent on our roadways and Honda has just introduced the first car to run on hydrogen, which will begin production for the 2008 model year. A clear sign that companies are responding to their customers concerns about the environment as well as cutting energy costs.
Even more obvious is this item excerpted from the December 31st , 2006 issue of the New York Daily News is - a highly unusual decision by Hong Kong to out law smoking at restaurants, work places, schools and karaoke lounges, beginning Jan. 1, 2007. The law even extends to outdoor places such as beaches, sports grounds and large swaths of public parks. Hong Kong in particular, has a very heavy smoking population and this action is truly a step in a new direction for that country, The ban will be extended to nightclubs, bars, bathhouses and massage establishments in July, 2009.
Although this article is focused on the changes that occurred in 2006, I couldn't help but add this piece of news. In today's Newsday, January 2, 2007, in the left corner of the front page was an article in the Part 2 section with the headline "Can Pets Get to Heaven?" The author of the piece spoke to representatives of the Jewish, Catholic and Muslim faiths and included comments that reflected views of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Shamanism and brought their thoughts together in one piece. Although the article is not an exhaustive study of the concept, the simple fact that a mainstream newspaper such as Newsday would not only publish such a piece but advertise it on its cover is a sure sign that the times are changing.
Although each of the above events speak about the changing consciousness of our times, and there are many more that could easily be added , I think this next item speaks more clearly than any other.
Each year, Time Magazine selects one person whom they designate as Person of the year. This person is one who has had a significant effect on the experiences and welfare of many people on a national and/or world level. Usually this is a person who has some degree of national and/or world presence.
For the first time in the magazines history they selected
The Citizens of Planet Earth.
Excerpted below is the article from Time's website. I feel their message truly supports my message in this newsletter and so I happily share it with you -
The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.
To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3's.
But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.
And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos--those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms--than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.
And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.
America loves its solitary geniuses--its Einsteins, its Edisons, its Jobses--but those lonely dreamers may have to learn to play with others. Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user-created Linux. We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.
Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?
The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.
But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious.
This past year, 2006, was a starting point. A way of us excitedly saying - look here, do you see what's happening? Do you how we are changing?
The more we come together in cooperation with and acceptance of each other, the more these changes will accelerate - leading us to an ever greater, expanding awareness and compassion for ourselves and fellow beings in our neighborhoods, communities and around the world.
May this new year bring you all the Joy, Happiness, Love, Peace and Prosperity you desire, in all its many forms - now and always.
And may this be just the beginning of much more to come.
Best Wishes to All.