May You Live in Interesting Times

“May You Live in Interesting Times” is a curse, disguised as a blessing. Throughout the ages, history goes through lulls of tacit peace and stability, only to be interrupted by watershed moments that forever change who we are. These times can be highly destructive; the rise and fall of empires, the displacement of people, ideas and culture, and the total collapse of established order can be very difficult situations for an individual or family to deal with. These periods are characterized by mass confusion, dogmatic prophets, and senseless violence.

 

Thus, conventional wisdom has it that living a boring, peaceful life is desirable. And for most people, perhaps this is the case. However, those aren’t the people I’m reaching out to. I believe these interesting times are when we truly thrive, and discover more about ourselves. They are when heroes are born, they’re the setting of great stories, and they’re the source of our most beautiful creations.

 

If you’re a visionary who wants to see humanity grow, prosper, and self-actualize, then you welcome these interesting times with open arms. If you’re a leader with a clear mind and strong will, then you may interpret this curse unironically, as a blessing. If you’re an innovator that needs problems to solve or passion to share, you will long for the inspiration and necessity interesting times offer you. While most people may run away in fear, the visionaries, leaders, and innovators march forward to face the conflicts they inherit.

 

The 21st century is shaping up to be one of the most interesting times a human could hope to experience; time is effectively speeding up and very little is safe from total transformation.

 

Across all industries, new discoveries and contributions are occurring at exponential rates. The current political regime is beginning to crack as new powers gain momentum, and new technologies make it harder for large states to control their people. The laundry list of issues requiring the immediate attention of our brightest minds grows longer, and as we check one problem off the list, three new ones pop up to take its place, like the mythological hydra. As our world grows more connected, we are met with a clash of civilizations, attempting to hold on to our unique histories as we shape a global culture and identity. What’s more, in our world of hyper connectivity, we are no longer insulated from transformation in the outside world.

 

And while all of this is pounding on our door, the vast majority of Westerners are distracting themselves with the ego’s amusement park that is our society; we misuse the internet by absorbing ourselves in social media, getting hits of dopamine from every like. We heavily invest our emotions in meaningless entertainment, we numb our consciousness with alcohol and prescription medication, and we view any threat to the normalcy bias we’ve constructed in our minds as a threat to our (rather boring) identity. In our daily lives, it doesn’t occur to us how similar the West is today as it was when Rome fell. It doesn’t occur to us that the mundane jobs we’ve resigned ourselves to can be automated within a few decades. It doesn’t occur to us that the peak of human experience doesn’t involve dragging our feet through the work week living passionless lives.

 

However, we have the ability to step outside our own thoughts and initiate positive change. If we are to live in interesting times (we aren’t being given a choice) and wish to survive its challenges, we need to grow and mature as individuals in order to take effective action. The continuation of our species’ growth and prosperity is not inevitable; it is up to the visionaries, leaders, and innovators to manifest this positive transition.

 

I decided to create this blog because I want to prepare myself for the dynamic era that will define our lives, and I want to find my place within this transformation. I’m hoping my vision resonates with you as well, so that we may set out on this journey together. In my writing I will attempt to reveal the future implications of the rapidly changing political, economic, technological, and cultural landscapes, as well as communicate ways in which someone can take advantage of the opportunities that arise, instead of merely being a passive observer. We have a lot to learn, a lot to remember, a lot to discuss, and a lot to create. May you live in interesting times, and may you recognize the opportunities you have for greatness.

3 thoughts on “May You Live in Interesting Times

  1. Good post, Jake. Though, while your appeal is noteworthy and while the dangers you alert the reader of is by no stretch imaginary, the question then is the method or means to be used to lead.. What philosophy will lead us into zion? Which movement will pierce the state wall?
    My single great fear is that, notions like these will feed the communist’s agenda but not in a Mcarthyian way. We don’t need to hold the government accountable but instead, our collective voice should say “we wish to govern ourselves outside the Juristiction of Washington, but on American soil.”
    The floodgates of inner awareness and spirituality need to be opened. I believe that Buddhism can lead us as a people forward and away from the looming threat of a Google technocracy.

    Like

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