In the past, the knowledge and experience of ‘the old’ was the best instruction for ‘the young’. Today we live with a new set of realities.

In the past, the knowledge and experience of ‘the old’ was the best instruction for ‘the young’. Today we live with a new set of realities. There is a lack of precedent. We are like immigrants into a new time, unable to take our cues from yesterday’s lessons.

Which is why we are starting to tear apart the walls of our thinking and our understanding. We are lacking certainty as we become more aware that there is no one, right way to live and think. The monolithic views of the past are crumbling as more and more different viewpoints of the world are understood and embraced. There is a challenging of some of our fundamental ideas, like kids, marriage, jobs, medicine, spirituality, and pleasure.

Change: the triple bottom line

In business, and from the Business Council of Australia down, there is talk of the “triple bottom line” where the economic, social and environmental results must all balance. There is talk of social contracts, social coalitions and social cohesion. “Social capital” is the buzzword among the free marketers recognising the limits of capitalism.

We are eager to know where our products are coming from. Are they genetically modified? Are they environmentally benign? Are they made by child labour in developing countries?

It is against this backdrop that the way we define and see ourselves has changed. We have entered a period of retreat from the big agenda – a period where we are more concerned about close, personal, immediate issues, not national or global issues.

Change is evident in the shift towards cultural ideas that are about transforming ourselves from within, like learning to cook, garden, paint, renovate, meditate, and deliberate. Angus & Robertson estimate a growth of 500% in self help books over the past decade.

It’s a shift towards experiences that are more intense and personal. New found freedoms are leading us to a general informality of lifestyles, and a regression to play at all ages.

A humanitarian view of life

The fundamental ‘ethic’ that we are striving for is a view of life and the world that is essentially humanitarian – not economically rational. It is a view that says the future is about spirituality, not economic growth and technology.

It is an attitude that says “I will live and be in this world with all the capabilities I have, not just a part of myself.” It is a desire to close the ever-widening gap between “how I want my life to be” and “how my life really is”.

It is a belief that says we need to centre on our heart – not our head – and act through it. It is an open recognition that we are ALL seeking love and self-worth.

At the end of the day it’s about us wanting to feel good about ourselves, our lives, and our world.

And that is gold.

Richard Sauerman
Richard Sauerman
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