Your world in 2015

Here are 10 emerging trends that could reshape your world over the next 10 years.


The Editors | December 2005 issue

In a rapidly changing world it is hard to see the future. Most predictions are linear projections of today’s reality. Forecasts for tomorrow promise more technology, more speed and bigger structures—more of the same.

Yet history shows that change is almost never linear. The most important breakthroughs could never have been imagined a generation before. Yet, when later examined from a historical perspective, these changes made obvious sense. They were needed. The moment was right. And there are always those few brave souls who all along were talking about the new times to come.

Real change arrives in disguise—the invisible undercurrent that determines the direction of the wave. However it is possible to read the signs all around us. Some small things today will be big and influential tomorrow. The good news is that imagination—your imagination, rather than experts’ linear projections—will make the future. As the bumper sticker reads: “The best way to predict the future is to help create it.” So here are 10 new developments already underway that could reshape the world, your world. It is up to you.

1. Just do it…yourself
The reign of experts and authorities is nearly over
Anyone can do anything. Want to grow orchids? No need to consult a botanist. Just get information on the Internet, order the seeds online and become an orchid specialist. Want to be a composer? Buy the software and you’re off. Everyone is an artist. Everyone is an entrepreneur.

“In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes,” said the groundbreaking American artist Andy Warhol. Here’s why. The do-it-yourself society enables everyone to develop his or her unique talents. The interconnected network of the Web is a dreamland for almost every talent and curiosity. That marks a fundamental shift from the days where influence came with status, and status with class and education.

The reign of the experts is over. You will design your own house and construct your own furniture out of prefabricated parts. Why would you need an architect? You’ll publish your own journal and read the journals of fellow citizens all over the world. Why would you need a journalist to tell you what happened? Language problems? The Internet offers instant translation. Want to get the facts? Online encyclopedias abound, constantly updated by anyone who wants to contribute. This wealth of collective knowledge and experience beats the wisdom of any professor or specialist. Don’t underestimate the power of this new phenomenon: Web logs have already finished political careers.

The message is deep. You don’t need to wait for government or business or someone else to do what needs to be done. You can stop complaining and begin acting. You can plant flowers or trees to beautify your neighbourhood. You can adopt a school or an orphanage in another country to make a personal contribution to a better and more just world—even if your government does not act the way you want it to.

Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Now it is even easier: The tools you need are easily available. Most importantly— you can make a unique contribution that will enrich your life.

2. Hello and welcome, everyone
Diversity is key to economic and cultural vitality
Welcome to the multiethnic, multiracial world of open borders where no one needs a passport. The mix of races, religions and nationalities determines the wealth of nations. The most vibrant and attractive cities shall be the most diverse, no longer defined by the nations where they are located but infused with an unique blend of influences from all over the planet. The more diversity, the better. We already see this today in how the best, most creative soccer teams are those that unite races and nationalities. The United States was the most diverse and economically successful nation of the 20th century. Diversity makes economic sense.

New arrivals stimulate economic growth. Immigrants don’t take jobs away from anyone; most start new careers doing the work other people don’t want to do anymore. Who will take care of your elderly mother when she needs help? Who is available to tend the fields of labour-intensive organic farms? Who will serve your dinner in a fancy restaurant? Who has prepared it, who will wash the dishes afterwards and who drove the taxi on your way to this meal? It’s not very likely these people have names like John or Jane; they might be called Jesus, Ali, Ayan, Jose, May-Lee or Kim.

Not only do immigrants help their host countries with their labour, they also contribute by paying taxes. Still, that is not the end of their economic influence. Together they fight poverty much more effectively than any United Nations or World Bank program. The money they send home every year surpasses by far all foreign aid given by developed nations. And their children become successful engineers, doctors, architects, and entrepreneurs. These people are bridging the painful gap between the rich and the poor.

Too crowded? Most developed countries will soon face the challenge of diminishing populations.

There are no good reasons to restrict immigration. Soon passports will be relics from a distant past, documents to be viewed in a museum. Remember: Columbus never carried one.

3. The liberation of education
Farewell to standardized tests, assembly line schools and one-size-fits all curriculum
The liberation of education means every child has the right—not the obligation—to learn. Every child has the right to learn in as many ways as possible, following her interests and developing her unique talents. For that matter: Every adult has the same right.

Learning is an individual activity. It has to be, because we are all different. That is why compulsory education with fixed, one-size-fits-all curricula is outdated. That system belonged to the industrial revolution, when schools were needed to train a uniform, obedient workforce to work in assembly-line factories. As we have witnessed the end of the industrial revolution, we are witnessing the end of the rationale for conventional schools.

There is no need for standardized learning and standardized testing. No need for controlling what children learn. They shouldn’t study just what adults want them to know. Let’s correct one fundamental misunderstanding: Every person wants to learn something. No exceptions. By nature, children follow their interests and develop their talents. That is the very best thing they can do to fulfill their lives and to serve society. It is exactly what leading businesses have discovered: Employees flourish when they feel they have been able to make clear and meaningful contributions.

The best place to learn is not inside a building where you confine kids with others exactly their own ages. The best learning happens in an open setting that encourages people of different ages to interact in many ways. One example might be elders explaining the wisdom of the past to youngsters who then teach the older generation how to use new technology. Learning—when it is free—is never-ending, because the essence of learning is not acquiring knowledge, but finding meaning in life.

4. Natural health
Healing is less about battling disease and more about cooperating with our own bodies
Every body wants to be healthy. And given the right circumstances people can heal themselves. Relaxation heals. A change of environment heals. Prayer heals. Friends and family heal. Love heals. A sugar pill—the placebo effect—heals. This awareness follows the insights of ancient traditional medicine from all over the world—even from Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine—and will revolutionize medicine in the coming years. Medicine is not like an army fighting disease. Cancer is not a war to be won. Above all, medicine is not an industry in which profit-centred companies aggressively sell their products to customers—patients—to please investors.

Disease is not primarily something from outside that infects or invades us, but a sign that something within our systems is off balance. Instead of drugging or beaming the hostile invaders to oblivion, there are ways to collaborate with the body to support and strengthen the natural healing process. Healthy food and a change of lifestyle, for example, can lead to “miracles.” And, yes, the medicine of the future will also sometimes rely on chemicals and technological interventions that can—among many other possibilities—also support healing.

Ultimately the human body is an incredibly complex system of frequencies. Every organ, every cell, every atom has a different frequency. Health means that these natural functions are in harmonious resonance. In the case of disease, the challenge will be to restore the healthy frequencies with the help biofeedback machines and other emerging treatments. That is also how we will improve at the prevention of disease. For example: Stress, arguably the No. 1 cause of ill health, is reflected in fluctuating heart frequencies. With biofeedback systems and simple breathing techniques, we can succeed in dramatically reducing such irregularities.

As children we never wondered why a wounded knee spontaneously healed. We just knew it would. It is a natural miracle that happens time and again. We only have to get out of the way so the body can heal itself.

5. Countries. What countries?
The rise of regional power in a globalized world will redraw our maps once again
MUNICH—Dec. 8, 2015: Bavaria today celebrated the first anniversary of its independence in gala celebrations across the country. In 2014 the former German state followed the examples of Catalonia (once part of Spain), Scotland (once part of the United Kingdom) and Friesland (once part of the Netherlands), by separating from the rest of the country. Several years earlier California had proved there is a place for regional political power in a globalizing world when voters there shocked everyone by choosing a future independent of the United States. Texas and Vermont may soon become separate nations too. And keep an eye on the northern Italian city of Milan.

The rise of economic globalization made the world a global village. The power of nation-states has given way to broader multinational configurations such as the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It is impossible, for instance, to draw boundaries in the world of international finance. And these same integrative forces are at work in the cultural realm, as music, movies, ideas and the fabric of people’s daily lives become more similar around the globe. Teen-age girls wear the same fashions across 24 time zones.

Here’s the paradox: While the world is becoming one, we are at the same time seeing the re-emergence of many local identities. The integration of the European Union, for instance, made age-old power struggles between regional and national capitals irrelevant. For Edinburgh it was always painful to deal with London, and London always felt threatened by Scottish nationalism. Now Edinburgh communicates directly with EU officials in Brussels about many issues, while the Scottish government takes care of many matters of local and regional importance.

But this is not just about old sentiments and identities. There are economic and political advantages too. As many businesses have shown, smaller entities—within a larger framework—are more efficient and productive. And bringing decision making closer to the people stimulates democratic participation.

Power (closer) to the people! It is an old saying with fresh meaning in a world that is uniting and breaking up at the same time.

6. Who are you?
A revolution of authenticity will bring surprising social change
This may sound obvious: We come into this world to be ourselves. No two individuals are alike. And that is our greatest gift. The mission of our lives is to listen to our calling and to be truly authentic—not only at home or within the close circles of friends and family, but wherever we (inter)act. Our challenge is to participate in society as our true selves rather than as timid, voiceless servants of other people’s ideas.

For many years we found ourselves living in a strange world where men—yes, mostly men—made decisions as business executives and politicians that they would never have made at home as fathers or neighbours. We saw bureaucrats and employees strictly enforcing rules they did not believe in themselves. This lack of authenticity, especially among those with power, spawned widespread cynicism throughout society. It alienated people from their work, from politics and from institutions created to serve the public.

Ultimately this process of alienation led to change as more and more people tried to embrace what is genuine, leaving behind roles they learned to play and becoming themselves. The famous mid-life crisis turned out to be an authenticity crisis.

The search for authenticity changes the world. People who follow their calling make a powerful contribution to humanity. They inspire others and give meaning to their own lives. This path often takes the form of a yearning for direct personal experience, which leads to greater involvement in the world. Many become interested in being part of important activities in their communities, be it local organic farming or environmental projects. They become involved in international issues by making personal connections with people in other places around the globe, bypassing bureaucratic structures. They make sincere efforts to bridge the gap between what goes on at work and what matters everywhere else. They integrate their worlds.

7. Winning for all
Détente in the feud between science and spirituality
We are entering an era where a new balance is being struck between matter and spirit. After centuries of being strictly separated – as “church” and ”state” – these integral elements of our universe, represented most frequently today by science and spirituality, are reunited. This marriage had to happen. Physics, biology and biochemistry show us that our world is interconnected at the deepest possible levels. Science is proving what the sages from the East have said for thousands of years: There is no “us”; there is no “them.”

This awareness transforms people and society. Spirituality is not only an individual experience—such as meditating in your own “sanctuary” at home, but also the core of our interactions with the other, any other or anything around us. And society is not just a material structure of organizations, roads, taxes and buildings. It is first and foremost a network of people, spiritually connected in the journey called life.

Matter and spirit are meeting. Thoughts transform into physical reality; they materialize. We see what we want to see. We see what we create. We are what we think. This growing consciousness changes politics, economics, science and the arts. Scientific discoveries and spiritual growth lead to a new paradigm, just as it did when Copernicus proved the Earth revolved around the sun or when Newton calculated gravity.

Yes, it is possible to leave war and cutthroat competition behind. We are realizing that there is no way to win without losing. We will only win when all of us win.

8. We are family
The return of the tribe—but with one key difference
We are family. And this primal connection goes beyond blood ties.
Families have always been the bedrock of human societies. But they have changed a great deal through the centuries. While big, extended families are still the norm in developing nations, most of us in modern Western nations have withdrawn into smaller nuclear units—parents and kids living alone, often having little contact with cousins, aunts, or close neighbours. But families will become bigger again—and different.

As we all grow more multi-dimensional as people, thanks to new opportunities to develop our talents, we will increasingly want to live in a multidimensional social environment. We will seek new “family” members beyond the isolated sphere of our homes—mentors who can initiate us into new worlds of culture or knowledge or teach us how to deal with the complexities of life. Girls and boys may find other mothers and fathers who kindle something special in them that they don’t find with their parents at home. That is not a shortcoming of the nuclear family, but a recognition that the richness of our personalities cannot be developed solely by our immediate relatives. We will become part of a web of relationships all around us which will serve our needs to grow and realize our multi-talented selves.

Moreover, in a globalizing world, family cannot remain a fixed geographical unit. We will increasingly become part of wide-roaming tribes, just as in the past. But unlike the clans our ancestors knew, the tribes of tomorrow will not be concerned only with survival and protection from outsiders. They will be more focused on fulfilling the dreams and visions we share. As we each pursue our search for meaning, we may shift, over time, from tribe to tribe. Through all these webs we will create a unique blend of blood ties and lasting friendships. Humanity, at its essence, is about relationships. It is about families—in the widest possible sense.

9. Abundance
The hardest lesson may be accepting the bounty of the universe
This one is hard to digest: the end of scarcity. It may be the hardest thing for our human minds to imagine. We live in an endless universe, yet tend to see our futures within the context of present limitations. For us, the end of oil is the end of energy. Oil may be finished at some point. But the atoms that constitute oil will still be around and we will find ways to reconstitute them in different patterns to create new energy. We always have.

Indeed: Only two minutes of sunlight provide enough energy for the present annual consumption of the whole world. Nature constantly shows us the abundance of the universe. Trees blossoming in the spring is not simply an efficient way to grow fruit, but beautiful and inspiring in itself. And what happens daily to the zillions of sperm cells not used to create offspring? Isn’t that a tremendous waste of energy?

In Paris of the late 19th Century, somber predictions abounded. In the future, with yet more horses in the street, carriages wouldn’t be able to get through the loads of shit they would leave behind. Nobody could imagine that in far-off Michigan a certain Henry Ford would soon solve that problem. Think about it—only 15 years ago, who would have dared to predict the prevalence of the Internet?

There’s plenty of energy. We shouldn’t even worry about the money we may need to harness it. That is just a matter of priorities. If only we could stop investing our money in armies and wars, we would have more than enough to create sustainable energy sources. The abundance of energy comes with only one sincere responsibility: to use it wisely in the best interest of humankind.

10. From greed to need
The main purpose of business evolves from profit to service
Business is the instrument people use to serve the well-being of other people and the planet.

Read that line again and look for the missing word: profit.

Companies don’t exist to make profits. They are created to serve and contribute. They turn a profit only to be able to continue their service to the world. Money is a tool, not an objective.

This concept emerged in the early 1990s when the idea of “people, planet and profit “ was introduced as the principle of socially-responsible business. Sustainable investment became a major trend and helped bring meaning back into business. But “profit” was still the anomaly in that equation, and because of it the circle of greed kept turning until shareholders even in socially-responsible firms were expecting sizable returns. Greedy shareholders created greedy employees and greedy customers. Capitalism works fine after it shifts from greed to need. See a problem that needs to be solved? Start a company to do it. And, yes, take in money and continue to make more meaningful contributions while you earn more money. Capitalism can be a wonderful system and it works on the most basic levels. It can be used to fight poverty, as the success of microfinance institutions has shown.

The good news is that crowds of young, energetic people have turned away from old-fashioned corporations that only serve their shareholders. They want to make more meaningful contributions to the world and to themselves. They constitute a new generation of entrepreneurs that is transforming capitalism.

They are changing the world—one business at a time.

11. Let’s get civilized
And one extra idea, that’s the most important of all
Humanity has been around for some 50,000 years, but let’s face it, civilization is a goal we still have yet to meet. Beautiful palaces stand as monuments to glorious times. Ancient scriptures still inspire millions. And today we live among marvellous scientific and cultural achievements. But “civilization” is too strong a word to describe these creations of the past and present.

Civilized people don’t kill each other en masse for stupid reasons. In that sense, animals are more civilized than human beings. They kill for food. Within their species they rarely kill one another. Certain indigenous cultures lived (and some still live) in a way that honoured life These are the only civilizations humanity has known—and we took great care to destroy these cultures or at least to banish them to faraway corners of the planet.

Gandhi said it with a beautiful sense of irony when he visited England in the 1930s. A journalist asked: “What do you think of Western civilization, Mr. Gandhi?” He replied: “I think that would be an excellent idea.”

Yet we are hopeful there will be an end to senseless killing, to violence and and injustice. As we discover the capacity to create reality on our own terms, it is possible to imagine a really peaceful world. It begins in our minds. In yours. And ours. So on the way to a better future, we invite everyone with all our hearts: let’s civilize.

Solution News Source

Your world in 2015

Here are 10 emerging trends that could reshape your world over the next 10 years.


The Editors | December 2005 issue

In a rapidly changing world it is hard to see the future. Most predictions are linear projections of today’s reality. Forecasts for tomorrow promise more technology, more speed and bigger structures—more of the same.

Yet history shows that change is almost never linear. The most important breakthroughs could never have been imagined a generation before. Yet, when later examined from a historical perspective, these changes made obvious sense. They were needed. The moment was right. And there are always those few brave souls who all along were talking about the new times to come.

Real change arrives in disguise—the invisible undercurrent that determines the direction of the wave. However it is possible to read the signs all around us. Some small things today will be big and influential tomorrow. The good news is that imagination—your imagination, rather than experts’ linear projections—will make the future. As the bumper sticker reads: “The best way to predict the future is to help create it.” So here are 10 new developments already underway that could reshape the world, your world. It is up to you.

1. Just do it…yourself
The reign of experts and authorities is nearly over
Anyone can do anything. Want to grow orchids? No need to consult a botanist. Just get information on the Internet, order the seeds online and become an orchid specialist. Want to be a composer? Buy the software and you’re off. Everyone is an artist. Everyone is an entrepreneur.

“In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes,” said the groundbreaking American artist Andy Warhol. Here’s why. The do-it-yourself society enables everyone to develop his or her unique talents. The interconnected network of the Web is a dreamland for almost every talent and curiosity. That marks a fundamental shift from the days where influence came with status, and status with class and education.

The reign of the experts is over. You will design your own house and construct your own furniture out of prefabricated parts. Why would you need an architect? You’ll publish your own journal and read the journals of fellow citizens all over the world. Why would you need a journalist to tell you what happened? Language problems? The Internet offers instant translation. Want to get the facts? Online encyclopedias abound, constantly updated by anyone who wants to contribute. This wealth of collective knowledge and experience beats the wisdom of any professor or specialist. Don’t underestimate the power of this new phenomenon: Web logs have already finished political careers.

The message is deep. You don’t need to wait for government or business or someone else to do what needs to be done. You can stop complaining and begin acting. You can plant flowers or trees to beautify your neighbourhood. You can adopt a school or an orphanage in another country to make a personal contribution to a better and more just world—even if your government does not act the way you want it to.

Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Now it is even easier: The tools you need are easily available. Most importantly— you can make a unique contribution that will enrich your life.

2. Hello and welcome, everyone
Diversity is key to economic and cultural vitality
Welcome to the multiethnic, multiracial world of open borders where no one needs a passport. The mix of races, religions and nationalities determines the wealth of nations. The most vibrant and attractive cities shall be the most diverse, no longer defined by the nations where they are located but infused with an unique blend of influences from all over the planet. The more diversity, the better. We already see this today in how the best, most creative soccer teams are those that unite races and nationalities. The United States was the most diverse and economically successful nation of the 20th century. Diversity makes economic sense.

New arrivals stimulate economic growth. Immigrants don’t take jobs away from anyone; most start new careers doing the work other people don’t want to do anymore. Who will take care of your elderly mother when she needs help? Who is available to tend the fields of labour-intensive organic farms? Who will serve your dinner in a fancy restaurant? Who has prepared it, who will wash the dishes afterwards and who drove the taxi on your way to this meal? It’s not very likely these people have names like John or Jane; they might be called Jesus, Ali, Ayan, Jose, May-Lee or Kim.

Not only do immigrants help their host countries with their labour, they also contribute by paying taxes. Still, that is not the end of their economic influence. Together they fight poverty much more effectively than any United Nations or World Bank program. The money they send home every year surpasses by far all foreign aid given by developed nations. And their children become successful engineers, doctors, architects, and entrepreneurs. These people are bridging the painful gap between the rich and the poor.

Too crowded? Most developed countries will soon face the challenge of diminishing populations.

There are no good reasons to restrict immigration. Soon passports will be relics from a distant past, documents to be viewed in a museum. Remember: Columbus never carried one.

3. The liberation of education
Farewell to standardized tests, assembly line schools and one-size-fits all curriculum
The liberation of education means every child has the right—not the obligation—to learn. Every child has the right to learn in as many ways as possible, following her interests and developing her unique talents. For that matter: Every adult has the same right.

Learning is an individual activity. It has to be, because we are all different. That is why compulsory education with fixed, one-size-fits-all curricula is outdated. That system belonged to the industrial revolution, when schools were needed to train a uniform, obedient workforce to work in assembly-line factories. As we have witnessed the end of the industrial revolution, we are witnessing the end of the rationale for conventional schools.

There is no need for standardized learning and standardized testing. No need for controlling what children learn. They shouldn’t study just what adults want them to know. Let’s correct one fundamental misunderstanding: Every person wants to learn something. No exceptions. By nature, children follow their interests and develop their talents. That is the very best thing they can do to fulfill their lives and to serve society. It is exactly what leading businesses have discovered: Employees flourish when they feel they have been able to make clear and meaningful contributions.

The best place to learn is not inside a building where you confine kids with others exactly their own ages. The best learning happens in an open setting that encourages people of different ages to interact in many ways. One example might be elders explaining the wisdom of the past to youngsters who then teach the older generation how to use new technology. Learning—when it is free—is never-ending, because the essence of learning is not acquiring knowledge, but finding meaning in life.

4. Natural health
Healing is less about battling disease and more about cooperating with our own bodies
Every body wants to be healthy. And given the right circumstances people can heal themselves. Relaxation heals. A change of environment heals. Prayer heals. Friends and family heal. Love heals. A sugar pill—the placebo effect—heals. This awareness follows the insights of ancient traditional medicine from all over the world—even from Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine—and will revolutionize medicine in the coming years. Medicine is not like an army fighting disease. Cancer is not a war to be won. Above all, medicine is not an industry in which profit-centred companies aggressively sell their products to customers—patients—to please investors.

Disease is not primarily something from outside that infects or invades us, but a sign that something within our systems is off balance. Instead of drugging or beaming the hostile invaders to oblivion, there are ways to collaborate with the body to support and strengthen the natural healing process. Healthy food and a change of lifestyle, for example, can lead to “miracles.” And, yes, the medicine of the future will also sometimes rely on chemicals and technological interventions that can—among many other possibilities—also support healing.

Ultimately the human body is an incredibly complex system of frequencies. Every organ, every cell, every atom has a different frequency. Health means that these natural functions are in harmonious resonance. In the case of disease, the challenge will be to restore the healthy frequencies with the help biofeedback machines and other emerging treatments. That is also how we will improve at the prevention of disease. For example: Stress, arguably the No. 1 cause of ill health, is reflected in fluctuating heart frequencies. With biofeedback systems and simple breathing techniques, we can succeed in dramatically reducing such irregularities.

As children we never wondered why a wounded knee spontaneously healed. We just knew it would. It is a natural miracle that happens time and again. We only have to get out of the way so the body can heal itself.

5. Countries. What countries?
The rise of regional power in a globalized world will redraw our maps once again
MUNICH—Dec. 8, 2015: Bavaria today celebrated the first anniversary of its independence in gala celebrations across the country. In 2014 the former German state followed the examples of Catalonia (once part of Spain), Scotland (once part of the United Kingdom) and Friesland (once part of the Netherlands), by separating from the rest of the country. Several years earlier California had proved there is a place for regional political power in a globalizing world when voters there shocked everyone by choosing a future independent of the United States. Texas and Vermont may soon become separate nations too. And keep an eye on the northern Italian city of Milan.

The rise of economic globalization made the world a global village. The power of nation-states has given way to broader multinational configurations such as the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It is impossible, for instance, to draw boundaries in the world of international finance. And these same integrative forces are at work in the cultural realm, as music, movies, ideas and the fabric of people’s daily lives become more similar around the globe. Teen-age girls wear the same fashions across 24 time zones.

Here’s the paradox: While the world is becoming one, we are at the same time seeing the re-emergence of many local identities. The integration of the European Union, for instance, made age-old power struggles between regional and national capitals irrelevant. For Edinburgh it was always painful to deal with London, and London always felt threatened by Scottish nationalism. Now Edinburgh communicates directly with EU officials in Brussels about many issues, while the Scottish government takes care of many matters of local and regional importance.

But this is not just about old sentiments and identities. There are economic and political advantages too. As many businesses have shown, smaller entities—within a larger framework—are more efficient and productive. And bringing decision making closer to the people stimulates democratic participation.

Power (closer) to the people! It is an old saying with fresh meaning in a world that is uniting and breaking up at the same time.

6. Who are you?
A revolution of authenticity will bring surprising social change
This may sound obvious: We come into this world to be ourselves. No two individuals are alike. And that is our greatest gift. The mission of our lives is to listen to our calling and to be truly authentic—not only at home or within the close circles of friends and family, but wherever we (inter)act. Our challenge is to participate in society as our true selves rather than as timid, voiceless servants of other people’s ideas.

For many years we found ourselves living in a strange world where men—yes, mostly men—made decisions as business executives and politicians that they would never have made at home as fathers or neighbours. We saw bureaucrats and employees strictly enforcing rules they did not believe in themselves. This lack of authenticity, especially among those with power, spawned widespread cynicism throughout society. It alienated people from their work, from politics and from institutions created to serve the public.

Ultimately this process of alienation led to change as more and more people tried to embrace what is genuine, leaving behind roles they learned to play and becoming themselves. The famous mid-life crisis turned out to be an authenticity crisis.

The search for authenticity changes the world. People who follow their calling make a powerful contribution to humanity. They inspire others and give meaning to their own lives. This path often takes the form of a yearning for direct personal experience, which leads to greater involvement in the world. Many become interested in being part of important activities in their communities, be it local organic farming or environmental projects. They become involved in international issues by making personal connections with people in other places around the globe, bypassing bureaucratic structures. They make sincere efforts to bridge the gap between what goes on at work and what matters everywhere else. They integrate their worlds.

7. Winning for all
Détente in the feud between science and spirituality
We are entering an era where a new balance is being struck between matter and spirit. After centuries of being strictly separated – as “church” and ”state” – these integral elements of our universe, represented most frequently today by science and spirituality, are reunited. This marriage had to happen. Physics, biology and biochemistry show us that our world is interconnected at the deepest possible levels. Science is proving what the sages from the East have said for thousands of years: There is no “us”; there is no “them.”

This awareness transforms people and society. Spirituality is not only an individual experience—such as meditating in your own “sanctuary” at home, but also the core of our interactions with the other, any other or anything around us. And society is not just a material structure of organizations, roads, taxes and buildings. It is first and foremost a network of people, spiritually connected in the journey called life.

Matter and spirit are meeting. Thoughts transform into physical reality; they materialize. We see what we want to see. We see what we create. We are what we think. This growing consciousness changes politics, economics, science and the arts. Scientific discoveries and spiritual growth lead to a new paradigm, just as it did when Copernicus proved the Earth revolved around the sun or when Newton calculated gravity.

Yes, it is possible to leave war and cutthroat competition behind. We are realizing that there is no way to win without losing. We will only win when all of us win.

8. We are family
The return of the tribe—but with one key difference
We are family. And this primal connection goes beyond blood ties.
Families have always been the bedrock of human societies. But they have changed a great deal through the centuries. While big, extended families are still the norm in developing nations, most of us in modern Western nations have withdrawn into smaller nuclear units—parents and kids living alone, often having little contact with cousins, aunts, or close neighbours. But families will become bigger again—and different.

As we all grow more multi-dimensional as people, thanks to new opportunities to develop our talents, we will increasingly want to live in a multidimensional social environment. We will seek new “family” members beyond the isolated sphere of our homes—mentors who can initiate us into new worlds of culture or knowledge or teach us how to deal with the complexities of life. Girls and boys may find other mothers and fathers who kindle something special in them that they don’t find with their parents at home. That is not a shortcoming of the nuclear family, but a recognition that the richness of our personalities cannot be developed solely by our immediate relatives. We will become part of a web of relationships all around us which will serve our needs to grow and realize our multi-talented selves.

Moreover, in a globalizing world, family cannot remain a fixed geographical unit. We will increasingly become part of wide-roaming tribes, just as in the past. But unlike the clans our ancestors knew, the tribes of tomorrow will not be concerned only with survival and protection from outsiders. They will be more focused on fulfilling the dreams and visions we share. As we each pursue our search for meaning, we may shift, over time, from tribe to tribe. Through all these webs we will create a unique blend of blood ties and lasting friendships. Humanity, at its essence, is about relationships. It is about families—in the widest possible sense.

9. Abundance
The hardest lesson may be accepting the bounty of the universe
This one is hard to digest: the end of scarcity. It may be the hardest thing for our human minds to imagine. We live in an endless universe, yet tend to see our futures within the context of present limitations. For us, the end of oil is the end of energy. Oil may be finished at some point. But the atoms that constitute oil will still be around and we will find ways to reconstitute them in different patterns to create new energy. We always have.

Indeed: Only two minutes of sunlight provide enough energy for the present annual consumption of the whole world. Nature constantly shows us the abundance of the universe. Trees blossoming in the spring is not simply an efficient way to grow fruit, but beautiful and inspiring in itself. And what happens daily to the zillions of sperm cells not used to create offspring? Isn’t that a tremendous waste of energy?

In Paris of the late 19th Century, somber predictions abounded. In the future, with yet more horses in the street, carriages wouldn’t be able to get through the loads of shit they would leave behind. Nobody could imagine that in far-off Michigan a certain Henry Ford would soon solve that problem. Think about it—only 15 years ago, who would have dared to predict the prevalence of the Internet?

There’s plenty of energy. We shouldn’t even worry about the money we may need to harness it. That is just a matter of priorities. If only we could stop investing our money in armies and wars, we would have more than enough to create sustainable energy sources. The abundance of energy comes with only one sincere responsibility: to use it wisely in the best interest of humankind.

10. From greed to need
The main purpose of business evolves from profit to service
Business is the instrument people use to serve the well-being of other people and the planet.

Read that line again and look for the missing word: profit.

Companies don’t exist to make profits. They are created to serve and contribute. They turn a profit only to be able to continue their service to the world. Money is a tool, not an objective.

This concept emerged in the early 1990s when the idea of “people, planet and profit “ was introduced as the principle of socially-responsible business. Sustainable investment became a major trend and helped bring meaning back into business. But “profit” was still the anomaly in that equation, and because of it the circle of greed kept turning until shareholders even in socially-responsible firms were expecting sizable returns. Greedy shareholders created greedy employees and greedy customers. Capitalism works fine after it shifts from greed to need. See a problem that needs to be solved? Start a company to do it. And, yes, take in money and continue to make more meaningful contributions while you earn more money. Capitalism can be a wonderful system and it works on the most basic levels. It can be used to fight poverty, as the success of microfinance institutions has shown.

The good news is that crowds of young, energetic people have turned away from old-fashioned corporations that only serve their shareholders. They want to make more meaningful contributions to the world and to themselves. They constitute a new generation of entrepreneurs that is transforming capitalism.

They are changing the world—one business at a time.

11. Let’s get civilized
And one extra idea, that’s the most important of all
Humanity has been around for some 50,000 years, but let’s face it, civilization is a goal we still have yet to meet. Beautiful palaces stand as monuments to glorious times. Ancient scriptures still inspire millions. And today we live among marvellous scientific and cultural achievements. But “civilization” is too strong a word to describe these creations of the past and present.

Civilized people don’t kill each other en masse for stupid reasons. In that sense, animals are more civilized than human beings. They kill for food. Within their species they rarely kill one another. Certain indigenous cultures lived (and some still live) in a way that honoured life These are the only civilizations humanity has known—and we took great care to destroy these cultures or at least to banish them to faraway corners of the planet.

Gandhi said it with a beautiful sense of irony when he visited England in the 1930s. A journalist asked: “What do you think of Western civilization, Mr. Gandhi?” He replied: “I think that would be an excellent idea.”

Yet we are hopeful there will be an end to senseless killing, to violence and and injustice. As we discover the capacity to create reality on our own terms, it is possible to imagine a really peaceful world. It begins in our minds. In yours. And ours. So on the way to a better future, we invite everyone with all our hearts: let’s civilize.

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