Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami of Inevitable Change

I don’t think it’s any secret that I am a fan of how the Internet connects us all around the world.

The power of what we once called the World Wide Web has been made even more evident to me over the last few weeks.

Tonight I have spent a great deal of time watching the horrible tragedy afflicted on Japan from the Richter scaled 8.9 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that engulfed their northeast coastline. I watched it on the Internet.

Then it spread across the Pacific Ocean and hit the western coast of the United States and Canada, albeit much weaker.

And it dawned on me …

Over the recent months we have watched as the peoples of North Africa, Egypt, and then Libya found their countries entrenched in the “I’m madder than hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” level of protests that has or will toppled those governments.

It spread like a tsunami across the Middle East – with little sign of slowing. Protests today were held in Saudi Arabia.

A tsunami ensuing after an earthquake whose epicenter is global and webbed together by Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites.

I am not commenting at all on what they were protesting for. Nor what they hope to accomplish. That is not where my wonderment lies.

Basically, they want change.

Instead I am in awe of how merely being connected evolves to a collective force that can topple those governments that refused to change.

Governments simply washed away in a violent flood of demand.

It’s incredible.

All of the people on Earth are going through this internet induced earthquake together. Those that enjoy freedoms that others do not in different locations around the globe create a pressure on the less fortunate to stand up for their newly realized empowerment to fight for their collective rights.

Pressure, like the tectonic plates of the world causing each other to shift – at their fault lines - and shake the entire world as they move. And impact the other places with the repercussions.

And new faults are often created in the process.

Repercussions like drastically rising oil prices. Aftershocks from those repercussions like skyrocketing food and produce prices. The potential of crumbling economies should the tremors shake be too fierce or last too long.

This global political earthquake could shake for decades, resulting in explosive wars and shifts in alliances and trading partners, and changes in political power and gross national products – until finally a new balance is found – one that global collective can all be content with – if we survive the turmoil.

The shift in the political plates that hold our world together are now shifting – as the forces that pull the world wide web pressure our world to change shape.

But change is scary.

Lands where people have lived content with their freedoms and their higher standards of economy – well – they may not want change. That regional collective mindset that change is bad is also powerful – although often more apathetic than revolutionary.

Because we all know things change.

But no one knows what the result will be.

If the laws of physics are an accurate model – things in the end will equal out. Massive shifts will finally result – someday – in things being more equal – global equality.

Global freedom.

Global democracy.

It sounds incredibly idealistic, don’t you think? Almost sickeningly so.

But the ideal won’t be reached for generations. It takes generations for mindsets to change. It will take generations for old bigotries to fade away, for old hatreds to cease, for old loyalties to reshape and re-establish.

And the ride will be hell on earth.

It will be one long continuous earthquake, with a never ending tsunami of demanded change reaching all corners of the planet as each fights for new equalities while or to hold on tight to the liberties and freedoms they currently cherish.

I am not looking forward to it.

But it just seems to be inevitable.

Some of you will shout for joy. Others of you will scream in terror.

I’m really not looking forward to this.

As regional alliances fracture under the repercussions of change – like a loving married couple fighting over money problems – the people of those populations will suffer. Other regions will benefit as their standard of living rises – the wave of the tsunami is born.

But every year computers get faster and faster – and the ties that rope together our world wide web grows stronger and stronger as new ways to be connected evolve – global collaboration evolves with it – only not everyone will be collaborating together.

But will this make change come even faster?
Scary indeed, this brave new world – predicted decades before to happen in 1984 - by the famous science fiction futurist George Orwell. But Orwell wasn’t quite right. 1984 was when the desktop computers first made inroads to the global population – but the Internet did not become globally accessible until a decade later.

And the decade after that – as we figured out ways to use these personal devices connected by our World Wide Web – here we sit. Inching closer to Orwell’s result of one collective mind.

You can almost feel the ground shaking.

I’m definitely not looking forward to this.

It will not end before I pass away, nor before my children or their children, or even their children.

But I don’t think the world will ever be the same. For better or for worse.

And I don’t think we can escape to higher ground.

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