It Can’t Happen Here
Jack R. Nelson
Copyright 2012 Jack R. Nelson
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IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE
The prediction abilities of our brains evolved to deal with the speeds and agilities of prey and predators, which are linear accelerations. But that was ages ago. Now we live in an era of exponential changes; those J-curved graphs pointing toward counterintuitive accelerations. We see the numbers but don’t believe them. We must force ourselves to think more clearly about future trends. Synergy means the behavior of whole systems not predicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately.
Many of us, even young adults, hold to attitudes from fifty years ago, when the total population of the USA was under 180 million. Now we are over 311 million.. The general level of education - real literacy and critical thinking - has declined in that same time. Yet media penetration into every moment of our lives gives glib demagogues powerful access to this ignorant electorate.
Furthermore, complex societal ills like gangs and abandonment turn out hordes of young sociopaths. Fifty years ago they were scattered aberrations, now they are multitude, a subculture empowered by technology.
Fifty years ago in a world of three billion people the USA was The Superpower, the Soviet Union a third-world empire with nukes, and China floundering in the aftermath of the loopy Great Leap Forward.
Now the world’s population is more than doubled on a playing field that looks like the science fiction of fifty years ago. Things ain’t what they used to was. The synergies are changed. We must force ourselves to think more clearly about future trends.