Ever since I attended a conference on accelerating change last September I’ve been asking myself if change is really accelerating or if it just seems that way. I’ve reached a conclusion: it’s accelerating.
The President’s backing for a Constitutional amendment to define marriage got me to thinking about numerous other status-quo-shaking things I’ve read about just in the past week. The President’s in an uproar about gay marriage and cloning–in the face of the Korean breakthrough–but Democratic candidates might offer an amendment to keep jobs from being offshored from America (just kidding). In China they’re arresting people who say anything on the Internet they interpret as anti-government or religious, a futile exercise. In India parents are in an uproar because they traditionally exercise great control over the interaction of their daughters with male suitors. Now girls are going off to universities, then to Bangalore where they earn lots of money and date whoever they want. In Iran the theocracy is trying to stop any kind of reform. Meanwhile, young people who’ve given up on reform are spending their time in chat rooms and looking at pornography on the Internet because the regime is clueless about stopping it–this in one of the most sexually Puritanical societies in the world. And then, of course, there’s always Osama, the arch-enemy of change and modernity itself.
My point is that every culture’s traditions are being ripped by change, and authorities of every stripe are reacting to it. And here’s an additional prognostication: you ain’t seen nothing yet. The technologies in development, the global lust for working the marketplace, and the expanding ability to be virtually everywhere all the time is going to drive change as never before. And the social turmoil of change is just going to increase. Every culture will be hammered. It’s going to take considerable skill for my grandkids, let’s say, to 1) avoid being blindsided by changes, and/or 2) being caught up in the backlash against it.