I’m Desperately Seeking Certainty. Okay, not so much the desperately bit! I chose the headline to attract the Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers who follow me to this post. Because the world we grew up in, the 70s, 80s and 90s, has well and truly gone. The times they are a changin’ … yet again. And the only certainty we have is that the times will always be changing.
Survivors are Seeking Certainty
For those of us who live in the recovering disaster zones around the world, the brick and mortar landmarks of our world have been demolished. I look around greater Christchurch, and most of the buildings of significance from my youth have been demolished over the past 9 years due to the earthquake or to make way for “progress”. My treasured past has been wiped away from the physical landscape. This leaves only the memories living on in my mind, and preserved through photographs and books. To combat the loss and bereavement we feel, we begin seeking certainty in our changed world.
Modern, Hard-Edged Environment
Adjusting to the new buildings, businesses, and landscapes in our rebuilt city challenges our certainty. Nostalgia creeps in, at best. At worst, there is a sense of disorientation, disconnect, and even a sort of amnesia. What was here? Why was this site important to me and others? What memories have I forgotten? These are questions I hear over and over when I talk to Gen-Xers, Baby Boomers and Silent Generations about New Christchurch. Someone recently described the rebuilt central city as a “modern, hard-edged environment.”
Shame about How We Grew Up
Add in the the new narratives and perspectives the younger generations are bringing to the wider world. There is all the political correctness, diversity and equality, as well as the climate emergency. Our history is being analysed from today’s viewpoint, and rewritten accordingly. We are made to feel shame about the cultures and world we were brought up in, and the real or perceived transgressions of our ancestors.How Dare They?! We now start to wonder about our own past actions and behaviours (and the actions and behaviours of others we came in contact with. #Metoo). How Dare We?!
Technology and the Internet has changed the way we live our lives, and brought new threats to our privacy, security, and finances. Social media has made it easier to communicate anonymously, bully vulnerable individuals, and increase the pressure on us even more to suppress the inner challenges we face by presenting an image of perfection and happiness to the external world.
The End is Nigh… Yet Again
No wonder the impact of all this has affected people’s mental health (our thoughts and feelings) and overall well-being. No wonder addictions to drugs (prescribed or otherwise) is up, suicide numbers have increased, and there’s an overall sense of hopelessness and impending doom.
However, this current chaos and uncertainty we are experiencing is not new. Look back over history, and with every new major communication technology that gets introduced, it becomes easier to spread propaganda, to disrupt lives, and to sow the seeds of chaos and uncertainty.
600 Years of Disruptive Technology
Circa 1440 the Printing Press was introduced. The ability to spread ideas and information through mass printing created disruption, followed by the Age of Enlightenment and the Renaissance (approximately 150 years of chaos).
Then, between 1876 and the 1970s, new, disruptive technology inventions allowed ideas and information to spread through verbal communication and moving images:
- 1876 – the telephone
- 1877 – the phonograph
- 1899 – the radio
- 1895-1929 – the film
- 1937 – 1960s – the television
- 1970s – the VCRs
Through this period, the disruptions resulted in the spread of propaganda, the rise of socialism and communism, and numerous wars being fought between countries over great distances.
The 1970s through to early 2000s were relatively stable, when you compare them to the decades before, and to now. Sure, there were a few world crisis to concern ourselves with, but on the whole, we focused our energies on local, rather than global. We used technology to remove some of the manual tasks easier. And technology was dumb. It didn’t spy on us, or make us feel inadequate or anxious. And we weren’t addicted to it to the point where we can’t go an hour without checking for social media updates, emails, or the latest sensationalised news story.
You Will Be Assimilated – Resistance is Futile!
But now with the Internet, man-made and natural disasters and attacks that happen thousands of miles away (or on our own doorstep) are instantaneously broadcast around the world. We can follow them as they unfold, grim detail after grim detail. Our lives, thoughts, emotions, actions, and communications revolve around smart technology. We can’t interact with the physical world, without being connected (and manipulated) via digital means. For most of us, we can’t even “hunt and gather” without being spied on via a loyalty scheme app or card. Our watches and phones monitor and record our physical activity and health, and report back to their operating system owner. Did you know that Google are looking to buy Fitbit? And Facebook are investigating providing a health monitoring service?
Free Comes with a Huge Hidden Cost
We naively sign up to digital sharecropping services (where you get free or low cost services in return for giving the provider full license to use and access your data and your content – such as Social Media, Google, Office 365, etc.). We don’t read the terms and conditions, because they are too long and full of legalese. Simple translation: Supplier provides you with the service on an “As-is-where-is-basis” with all care and no responsibility for protecting your data and content that you upload to the service. And by uploading the service, you grant them a world-wide, royalty free license to do whatever they like with it, including allowing unknown third parties to access and use it.
Science Fiction is Becoming Science Fact
Autonomy Must Be Retained
For months, if not years, I’ve been seeking certainty. The other morning, I woke from a dream where I was being told over and over, that autonomy must be retained. This message has stayed with me since then. It aligns with my belief system, my core values, and my purpose: to empower people to retain and their autonomy, in order to freely express themselves in respectful, harmonious and loving ways; to provide them with the necessary skills and resources for certainty and security in these times of chaos.
And so, it is time for me to make changes to my life. For many months I have withdrawn from the world, to try and make sense of the chaos and disruption. The noise from the disgruntled and angry had become overwhelming. I needed to figure out where I can make a difference, even if only a small one, to help return a sense of calmness, certainty and order for myself, and people in my online and offline community.
Seeking Certainty Starts with Becoming Empowered
For most of my followers here and on Facebook, we met post earthquake, when I detoured onto documenting the impact of the earthquake of the physical landscapes. While I’m slowly working on the 4th edition of the Christchurch “Then and Now” book, I am also focusing on the work that the earthquake disrupted. This relates to content, books, and a training academy that aligns with the message my subconscious sent me through my dream. To empower people to have certainty about their talents, attributes, skills and resources, and be able to retain their autonomy.
Therefore, as we move forward, you will be seeing posts, articles and solutions on my websites and social media pages that focus on helping your quest to retain your autonomy. Part of that quest is seeking certainty in order to become empowered. You will also continue seeing posts about Christchurch’s transformative journey from before the earthquakes, through into the future.
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What happens to your entrepreneurial endeavours when unexpected disasters or major events hit you? These are seldom expected, arrive when you can least afford them, and create an overwhelming level