The end of the world as we know it (I feel fine)

end-of-the-worldI came home from a little goofin’ off with the family last night, perfectly content with myself and the world we live in. Ready to get to bed early and catch up on some much needed shut-eye. Ah, the best laid plans.

As I was making my last minute rounds (Twitter, RSS Subs, etc), I came across  The Post. Innocent at first glance, but don’t be fooled. It soon began to haunt me…one passage in particular:

“There is no steady job. There is no permanent residence”

It got me thinking about a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks prior to moving back to Colorado. This was at a time when the walls of my professional life had already come tumbling down around me (which is why we left VA and moved back here). My friend, however, was still in a good position, nothing had changed for him in this regard.

We were talking about the state of the economy, the complete and utter lack of corporate responsibility, and the like. And he confided in me that he’d never been as stressed as he was at that moment. That even though his job seemed safe, he lived in a beautiful home, in a great neighborhood…he couldn’t seem to escape the fear of losing his job.

And then he said the thing that, at the time, made me really stop and think. Little did I know it would, much like ‘The Post’, haunt me. He said,

“I make more money than my father ever has, I live in a nicer home, and I offer my kids more opportunity than I ever had growing up. Yet I have trouble sleeping because I’m so stressed out. My dad worked for one company the bulk of his life. He didn’t bring work home with him at night. He got regular vacations each year. And he never once feared he might lose his job. Never once. So we actually took vacations when I was a kid.  We remodeled the house. We made plans. I don’t feel like I can do that. Despite having more money than my dad, the total lack of confidence as it concerns my job makes me stressed all the time. Rather than spending money on vacations and such, I feel like I have to save my money because who knows? I might not have a job next week or next month.”

I realized that I, too, had this same fear. Mine was a bit more justified as I actually had lost my job, but even before there was a hint of trouble, when I was making more money than I ever had, I was stressed.

Hmm. The shift we’ve experienced in our generation from what can be described, generally, as excellent job security to what I would claim, today, is the utter lack thereof…there’s more to it than meets the eye, of that I was certain. But the details of a cross-country move quickly overtook my focus, and I forgot about it.

Until last night.

The point of “The Post” was the importance, especially of late, of agile living. Not becoming overly burdened with ‘stuff’, but rather focusing on life’s true priorities and following them wherever they may lead (which is easier to do when one is agile). This agility, in many regards, is great. Positive. Wonderful.

But what of the need for agility? What is it doing to us? I think that’s a question worth talking about. What happens to a child who is raised without the belief, the absolute certainty, that a parent will be there for them? When he or she experiences circumstances that cause them to question the trust they place in others (we’ll make that one a rhetorical question, but if you’d like to explore it in more detail, please feel free to ask :))?

I think we’re becoming a society without roots. More transient in nature than perhaps we’ve been in many many generations. That could be good, it could be bad.  As someone who’s moved almost a dozen times since getting married (at age 21), I think there’s some value in the gypsy-style life. We, as a family, have seen so many different places, met people from such varied backgrounds. I don’t think I could say that if I still lived in Lake Forest, CA., where I grew up.

But I also see the negative side of this tendency of mine. On some level, I understand it’s nothing more than a search for greener grass. And it’s rooted in my general disdain for commitment and my less than robust self-confidence. On balance, despite the positives, I think this transient nature of mine has been bad for me. For my growth as a person. For my contribution to others.

But that’s just me. Now multiply that by an entire generation of young people who are growing up, professionally, in a system that clearly doesn’t value commitment from either side of the equation. Where roots run shallow. Does anyone honestly think that behavior is going to remain isolated inside the world of work? And not affect the way we relate and connect to others in our personal lives? I don’t.

No. I think the likely consequence of this is that the majority of people will feel more disconnected in general. Less invested. Commitment, or lack of it, is tied to value. If we see that others (professionally, personally) are committed to us, we feel valuable. We advance confidently into the world. If we see that they aren’t, we question our value. Our confidence diminishes. We’re far less likely to take risks that will lead to growth, to the fulfillment of potential.

Wrap Up:

I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘Paradigm’ in a sentence (except for a tweet last night as I was considering this), but here goes. I believe we have witnessed a paradigm shift. I think the events of this last year will prove to have been destructive in a way that nobody is talking about. It’s not just the failed international economy we have to worry about. It’s the affects that the root causes of this failure will have on us as a community of people. On the micro and macro levels. I don’t think there are a whole lot of people out there who truly recognize how different life will be 5 years down the road.

From consumption to communion, I think civilization has changed forever.

I’m not an economist or a psychologist or internetologist, so it’s entirely likely that I’m wrong. But you have, quite literally, the smartest people on the planet to thank for the mess we’re cleaning up…so maybe you want to hedge your bets and consider the rant of someone with considerably less credentials. Just an idea.

But either way, I think it may be time for a little ‘What If‘, ala @CCSeed

{ 48 comments… add one }

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  • Ryan February 18, 2009, 5:12 pm

    Beautiful, Jeb. One of the values I think is most important is that of loyalty. In a transient society, loyalty is intensified but fragmented. There isn’t a general consensus, or majority vote. It’s each for himself and those he’s closest to… but only when convenient. I have no doubt that you are right. We’re looking at the end of an era, and the beginning of a trend that could have serious and ugly consequences.

    Get Ryan’s content here..Superstars make money, not you.

    Reply
    • Jeb February 18, 2009, 6:35 pm

      Right, like we needed any help being less loyal, as a people. So what is it, you think? The corrupting influence that brought us down this path…and when did it start? Are we just experiencing the natural evolution of things? Or was there something…specific…that brought us to this point? More to think about…

      But ‘what if’…what if we seize this opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and what it means to live purposefully? What if through this forced ‘shedding’ of stuff, we…the American Consumer…don’t come back? What if we realize that true happiness is found in experiences and relationships, rather than things? And what if you and I, and our children, are about to witness the greatest shift in collective consciousness the world has ever seen, and something previously unimaginable, and positive, results?

      Reply
  • Ryan February 18, 2009, 7:06 pm

    I think many of us will turn over a new leaf, not go back to the destructive over-consumption and mindless spending, and focus on what really matters. But too many will hold on. I’ll bet good money that the world will further divide itself between rich and poor. Some will seek connection with their roots while others will continue on amassing fortunes and power. They’ll feed on the middle class. The destruction of the middle class begins with recession. Take away from them their loyalty and drive to being a contributing citizen (by giving them handouts or not valuing their work) and you polarize the population.

    It’s a mess, and I have no idea exactly what started it. (Hasn’t it been going on since the beginning-cycling through from rich to poor, powerful to weak, thriving and dead?) The hardest part is that it started with the individual and that’s where it has to end. Until we stop focusing on programs and governments to bail us out and start empowering and encouraging the individual to change, there will be no change.

    Get Ryan’s content here..Would you please poor gas on my flames?

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  • Richard Reeve February 18, 2009, 8:09 pm

    It’s not the smartest that we need but the one’s with integrity. Throughout history and the portrayal of history in art, intellegence can find it’s motivation in greed, vanity, power, etc. The power of the film Forest Gump was in seeing a “half-wit” with integrity. But the most intelligent can easily shrug it off and turn back to the grindstone of selfishness.
    When Hamlet says there’s something foul in Denmark, when his nose picks up the scent of treachery, the story can move forward. There is a huge spiritual decay at the bottom of the collapse that is unfolding. It’s more than a breech of ethics. We’ve lost the compass. How else could any bank ever charge 30% interest on a credit card loan, The mere thought would make even the mafia blush.

    Get Richard Reeve’s content here..Solitude and Fasting

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    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 4:34 am

      Hi Richard, yes, I agree 100%. Smart folks clearly aren’t always the answer. As the saying goes…’Too smart for their (our) own good’. And I guess it does come down to a spiritual decay, doesn’t it. Sounds pretty bad when you put it in those terms, but I cant disagree. Where to turn?

      Reply
  • Brian Pennington February 18, 2009, 10:03 pm

    I don’t claim to have the answers but I am surprised at the current status of humanity. I’m not surprised we are in a deep valley. I’m surprised that we were not here sooner and in much deeper #&*$. I am also not surprised that the good old USA is leading the way in this “economic crisis”. I use that term loosely because it is really just one symptom of our actions as a whole. There are many negative symptoms that are surfacing at an alarming rate for that matter. To me it’s simple - you have a society that “super sizes” it’s life with little thought to the consequences it may have on yourself, family and the world in which we live and bingo - a classic narcissistic generation that has grown numb to the concerns for others. I even feel like a hypocrite writing this because I am guilty. I now struggle daily to re-focus my attention on others and there well being. It does not come naturally to me. I am responsible for my own actions but I am a product of the bombardment of media that screams “self”. I am looking at this trial we are in as just that. I want to learn from it and see it as a blessing. I am encouraged in the sense that there seems to be a greater realization that we are just flat out blowing it. I am also a bit saddened to see people carelessly plowing through life without stopping to look both ways. All I can do is look at myself daily and ask myself - am I doing what is right for others.

    Reply
    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 4:42 am

      Hey Brian!
      Wow, couldn’t have said it better myself. That is what it’s come down to…selfishness. Always ‘me’, rarely ‘us’, almost never ‘you’. I have these same struggles my friend, and they are difficult primarily because of the simple conflict between how I am, and how I want to be. I can see, and feel, the good, self-less, compassionate person within, but consistently behaving in a way that brings that person out is easier said than done.

      I think the magic is found in the effort, more so than the outcome. Keep it up Brian, keep asking that question.

      Reply
  • kt_writes February 18, 2009, 10:40 pm

    read this post by @JebDickerson, especially if you’re worried about the economy: The end of the world as we know it. http://budurl.com/t7hm

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • ryandscott February 18, 2009, 10:43 pm

    RT @kt_writes: read this post by @JebDickerson. The end of the world as we know it. http://budurl.com/t7hm

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • Eric February 19, 2009, 12:03 am

    We are not governed by the smartest people on the planet. We are governed by people who are the smartest people on the planet at attaining governing jobs.

    Reply
    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 4:43 am

      Eric, too true. I’m hopeful we can all recognize and remember that as we progress. It’s all fine and good to place your trust in others, but there’s a level of responsibility that comes with that. If we don’t hold our elected officials accountable, are we as guilty as they are?

      Reply
  • Zoe February 19, 2009, 12:16 am

    I agree with some of the points you’ve eloquently made here, but I can’t agree with the connection between mobility and lack of commitment — I think it is more complex than that.

    Ultimately, it depends on what the motivations for movement are. Mine are to explore what is unknown to me, to widen my view of this world. This transience means that I may have less constant contact with loved ones around the world, but it does not make it less loyal, or less valuable.

    Living nearly 9,000 miles from my family and the friends I grew up with, I don’t feel that I am less loyal to my loved ones, nor vice versa. Rather, I think the ability to be mobile has increased with the ability to create connections from afar — we need to transform our notions of what these connections are.

    In the end, I think this mobility/agility is only valuable if we want it. If we start moving when we don’t want to anymore, it loses its value.

    What do you think?

    Get Zoe’s content here..On the Road: Photo Prompt

    Reply
    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 4:52 am

      Zoe, I’m so glad you weighed in. I know there is a potential positive to this agility…started writing about it, in fact, but decided to leave it out in the hopes that it would surface in the comments (thank you for that).

      To the extent that this freedom and flexibility allows us to place a greater focus on our passions, on developing a clear purpose in life and pursuing it without the weight of so much ‘stuff’ on our shoulders, I think it is a very positive shift. Had I been more mobile last year, I would not have experienced such a blow when I lost my job. It was a lesson for the ages, and I know I’m better for it.

      The question, as Ryan suggests above, is will enough people learn that lesson? Or will the majority go back to business as usual as soon as they’re able? I’m anxious, and a little scared, to see the answer unfold. Thanks Zoe.

      Reply
  • TJ Hirst February 19, 2009, 8:43 am

    Hi, I’m an Oktober5 and Essential Prose reader, and read THE POST, too. I’m pondering your statement about a lack of commitment in the workplace, “Does anyone honestly think that behavior is going to remain isolated inside the world of work? And not affect the way we relate and connect to others in our personal lives? I don’t. No. I think the likely consequence of this is that the majority of people will feel more disconnected in general.”

    Are you supposing that it started there and then is moving out toward personal life? I actually think it is the reverse. I think it starts with us being dissatisfied with anything personally and then it reaches toward workplace and other community endeavors.

    I’m thinking that we’ve been living in our own “gilded age” where we were able to gild over the hardships of humanity-disappointment, physical mess, want, consequences for bad choices, you name it-with prosperity so that we didn’t have to feel it. Now, we just have to feel it and when we do, we want to run from that feeling instead of face it head on and get stronger from overcoming it.

    Reply
    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 11:00 am

      Hi TJ…
      It’s an interesting question…chicken or egg, right? And who knows which it is. But I believe that our personal lives - our families, our passions, our friends, etc - have always been the hub of our own community(ies). And while I understand what you’re saying about dissatisfaction within our personal lives/communities leading to dissatisfaction in the workplace, I’m not so sure that’s what’s going on here. I know that that can, and does, happen. But what we - well, at least I - have experienced is coming from the other direction.

      An example…I worked for a company for 4 years, and provided significant revenue month after month for nearly that entire time. We lost our biggest client (due to a corporate directive on the part of the client) in May of last year. I was told I had 30 days to replace that business (in what was, to say the least, an extremely difficult business environment) or I would be let go. This had nothing to do with my dissatisfaction at home or in my personal life. This was a huge corporate entity acting ‘in the interest of its shareholders’, or some such thing, treating an employee (actually, an entire office) with utter disregard. I have heard similar stories from so many people I know over this last year, and thats what has led me to this line of thinking. I ca honestly say I don’t know one person, not a single one, who works for a company, that is not scared about losing their job. The trust is gone.

      But there is no doubt about what you said regarding brushing the negatives under the rug while things were great, only to be shocked and horrified (and look for somebody to blame) when things took a turn for the worse. I absolutely do not believe that we, as individuals, played no part in this mess, or that we dont share in much of the blame. We did, and we do. For sure.

      Thank you for coming by TJ.

      Reply
  • Kellee Weinhold February 19, 2009, 8:49 am

    I get what you are saying about loyalty and I can agree, on some level, that it may be affected by mobility, and I agree with Richard in seeing a spiritual and moral decay as the underpinning. I would also agree with Brian and argue that the decay lies not with “them” (i.e. banks, Wall St.,oil companies etc) but with each of us. But, I think that not only does this mess lie squarely with the individual self, but we need to get MORE committed to self, not less to survive it.
    Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about selfish (which as a nation we are quite skilled at, thank you) but self. The part of us that knows right from wrong, that knows need from want, that knows healthy from unhealthy. The part we play fast and loose with until things get ugly. (When do most people commit 100% to a balanced, healthy life? When they “learn” that they must change their behavior in order to survive.)
    I believe we are collectively in this mess because we each individually chose to ignore what we know: We are NOT our things. We are not our houses. We are not our jobs. We are our selves and our selves are fed (or starved) by the choices we make. Our first and last commitment has to be caring for the integrity of that self, which ultimately will mean caring for the world.
    More bluntly: The world is no less harmed by my using a credit card with 30% interest because I *want* something than by the bank charging 30% in the first place.
    I hope this doesn’t come off as a rant against any of the points made here. It is much more about my ongoing struggle to have an integrity of self in my own choices.

    Get Kellee Weinhold’s content here..Like Grandmother, Like Me?

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    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 11:44 am

      Hello there Kellee,
      Very excellent point you’re making here, and honestly, I cant disagree. As I responded to TJ, those individuals who are suffering are as much to blame as the corporations, no doubt about it. I guess the larger point I was making was regarding the lack of corporate responsibility…not so much to consumers (though that’s important, and I have more to say on that in a moment), but to employees, and how this affects our society. Wasn’t at all trying to point the finger at someone else.

      Now then, on your great point about getting more committed to Self…Let’s talk about corporate responsibility to the consumer. The most significant and obvious breach of trust here is concerning advertising. From day 1, we are taught to think about consumption as the solution to life’s problems. Little Johnny is sad? Buy him a Pokemon card. Need Little Johnny to sit quietly in the cart while you shop? Buy him a freakin’ Pokemon game. Little overweight are we? No problem, take this pill or buy this pre-packaged and overly processed food, it’ll cure your ills. Feeling a bit ho-hum today? Worry not, head to the mall and buy some shoes. Country just got attacked by terrorists killing thousands of people and causing a generalized panic/worry/stress/fear? Dry your cryin’ eyes folks and go SHOPPING!!!

      Okay, so there’s my rant for the day :) The point I’m making is this…we have become conditioned to look outside ourselves for happiness. We have somehow come to believe that more ‘stuff’ will solve our problems. Becoming more committed to SELF in such a system is a challenge to say the least. But you are 100% correct…it’s absolutely critical, ESPECIALLY given my thoughts about the lack of corporate responsibility. If you don’t take care of you (and me, me), nobody else is going to either. And to do so, we have to start looking within for answers.

      Thank you Kellee, come back and see us some time, ya hear? :)

      Reply
  • Kristin T. (@kt_writes) February 19, 2009, 12:13 pm

    Wow Jeb. There’s so much great thought going on here. I’ve been processing it since I read your post the first time through, yesterday.

    In many ways, I think my divorce has rescued me from this rootless existence you worry about. If you’ve read my post “A turning point with a street address,” you know the basic story. Essentially, I found myself “stuck” in a small town in East Central Illinois after my divorce, with no real reason or desire to be here (other than my desire for my kids to have a real relationship with their dad, who does have a professional reason to be here). After a long, difficult internal struggle, I was able to embrace this place, and stop fighting it. There can be a huge freedom in being given certain parameters.

    And a quick thought about agility. I don’t think being agile has to *always* mean being able to easily pack up and move. I think agility can be very rooted. It has more to do with being flexible — paring down to a very simple set of tools and knowing how to adapt them to a variety of changing circumstances and needs.

    Get Kristin T. (@kt_writes)’s content here..A less intentional (more open-ended) social life

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    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 7:51 pm

      Ya know KT, I think you’re right about agility. I hadn’t really thought about it in that way, but yes, if you think about agility as an asset that allows us to take advantage of more opportunities as they arise, rather than as something that is merely required in order to cope with the growing ills of our society…well, then, it’s good. I like that. Thank you.

      Reply
  • detlef_c February 19, 2009, 1:03 pm

    Economic crisis and personal paradigm shifts. A must-read post at http://tinyurl.com/bwtoa2

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • ryandscott February 19, 2009, 1:07 pm

    RT @detlef_c: Economic crisis and personal paradigm shifts. A must-read post at http://tinyurl.com/bwtoa2

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • Mslogic77 February 19, 2009, 1:09 pm

    @CCSeed I feel exactly as you do from your comment on http://tinyurl.com/bwtoa2

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • jamestodd February 19, 2009, 1:31 pm

    HT @CCSeed: http://tinyurl.com/bwtoa2 Perhaps terminator TV series is popular b/c it is a world where S/O else has a worse agility problem.

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • Duff February 19, 2009, 1:33 pm

    This may or may not be the “big event” that shatters the existing paradigm, but that event is inevitable (unless one thinks that exponential economic growth can continue forever!).

    In many ways, our current forced agility parallels that of the roaming bands of tribal people who had to move often to find food.

    Things are likely to get much, much more chaotic in the coming years and decades, in my opinion, before we reach an “Age of Reunion” (vs. the current “Age of Separation” in the language of author and philosopher Charles Eisenstein).

    Get Duff’s content here..Transformation by Donation

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    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 8:03 pm

      HI Duff,
      On the idea of growth continuing on forever…did you see the ‘House of Cards’ they’re playing every other night (it seems) on CNBC or MSN or something? The folks that put together CDOs/Mortgage Backed Securities and sold them to Wall Street used models that assumed 6-8% growth in home values…FOREVER!!! Amazing.

      Honestly, I hope you’re wrong about the coming decades, no offense. :) I’ll have to take a look at that ‘Age of Reunion’. Not familiar with it. Thanks for the comment sir…since we’re practically neighbors, perhaps I’ll be seeing you around, eh?

      Reply
  • Ernie Foss AKA Yoshi_Matrix February 19, 2009, 1:39 pm

    Wow, great insight and unfortunatley right on the money. I am a baby boomer myself, and the feelings you have began with my generation I feel. I think in general we played more with what we had, but never felt particularly secure. At least not those who gave any thought to Big Business and the direction that the government kept heading towards. It is a sad statement as to values, morals, and whats really important in our lives. Hopefully with more realization, alternatives will arise that get us all back on track. Thanks for sharing.

    Get Ernie Foss AKA Yoshi_Matrix’s content here..Thursday’s kind of hmmmmm

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    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 8:07 pm

      Hi Ernie,
      Yeah, I think that’s the toughest part for me…considering the complete breakdown of values that is at the root of this problem. I take it so personally because I cant imagine behaving in that way, treating people so badly. Naive? Yeah, probably. Blessing and a curse, I guess. But I’ll tell you what, the true blessing of Twitter/Blogs/etc is that we can all interact so readily and join our collective energies in pursuit of something better. Good stuff my friend.

      Reply
  • kathryn February 19, 2009, 1:40 pm

    I agree - things will never be the same. I prefer to think they will be better. n It’s time to re-think the word civil in regards to civilization.

    Reply
    • Jeb February 19, 2009, 8:09 pm

      Kathryn, great perspective, thank you. At the end of the day, in order for things to improve, we all need to get past the mental/emotional struggles and believe in something better. I think I’m just about there. :) Thanks for the push. And thanks for being here.

      Reply
  • KarenTSmith February 19, 2009, 2:03 pm

    RT via CCSeed Jeb’s got a nice discussion brewing…what say you? http://tinyurl.com/bwtoa2 (agile living and the downsides of uncertainty)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • mfrancone February 19, 2009, 2:33 pm

    RT @CCSeed: Jeb’s got a nice discussion brewing…what say you? http://tinyurl.com/bwtoa2

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • Zoe February 19, 2009, 6:55 pm

    Jeb,

    You’ve cracked open quite the discussion here — I’m very impressed!

    I think you’ve very right to be careful of these changes — they have much positive potential, but they also risk losing the motivations that make them so positive. If this mobility is treated as a phase or a fad, it can’t offer as much substance. Perhaps the key is that we are true to what feels most effective to ourselves — because if we try to force ourselves into a different mode, it may end up producing only artifice…

    Get Zoe’s content here..Push Ahead With What You Have: A Video

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    • Jeb February 20, 2009, 9:11 pm

      Hi Zoe,
      Sorry for my delay in getting back. Your point is a constant battle for me. There is a knee-jerk reaction I tend to experience where I feel the need to change for the sake of change. I’m trying hard these days to recognize it before I act on it, and I think it’s been a positive effort. Not easy, but worth it for sure.

      As with most things, though, a work in progress. Thank you Zoe.

      Reply
  • philbaumann February 19, 2009, 6:57 pm

    RT @rainesmaker: @philbaumann [..] there’s no status in status quo any longer. [...] ==> http://bit.ly/Hw3OB

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    Reply
  • Detlef Cordes February 20, 2009, 12:49 am

    I just searched this HTML-Page for the word “politics”. It was not in it. Maybe it became a dirty word with those political marketing machines all around. Yet these are not individual questions, these are questions about how we are organizing our societies.

    As the states are bailing out big business (not only in the US) there have to be clear formulas about the terms and conditions. When, if not now, where so many big corporations can’t go on by themselves and depend on taxpayer’s money?

    Jeb, I agree about the great means we have in Social Media, but I think we will have to form a political will here and then do the lobbying/ compromising. I’m writing from Western-Europe, but I believe it applies to all our societies: we have to pick up the tools in our constitutions and start the political work.

    Get Detlef Cordes’s content here..Charly Was a Nonconformist

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    • Jeb February 20, 2009, 9:13 pm

      Yes Detlef, you are correct. A great compliment to your blog earlier, and I don’t disagree a bit. Eventually, one must rise from the ashes and rebuild, right? The alternative really isn’t much of an alternative at all.

      I’m ready for some heavy lifting…who’s with me?

      Reply
  • Michael Caranza February 20, 2009, 6:27 am

    I say you’re completely correct my friend. At the end of it all - the frustration, the hopelessness, the fear and the anger - faith in our systems is the only way. We must move beyond the paralyzing affects of all we have witnessed and find solutions.

    Each of us individually at first, until that momentum grows into something that we, collectively must share with others. And you know…I think that’s exactly what we’re doing here.

    Thank you Detlef, for advancing that movement.

    Cheers.

    ps…I’m sorry I left you feeling clue/hopeless.

    This comment was originally posted on Detlef Cordes

    Reply
  • Detlef February 20, 2009, 6:56 am

    Don’t be sorry, Jeb. You put that old engine on the tracks.

    This comment was originally posted on Detlef Cordes

    Reply
  • Iris Jumbe February 20, 2009, 7:37 am

    Hi Detlef, Thought-provoking blog again today.

    “I think to solve the current crisis we have to inspire trust at home and in the developing countries.” I like the sound of this but in reality, it is nigh on impossible. Take Africa, for example, the problems there, and the reasons that those who have it transfer their money abroad, is because the system (political and economic in many cases) is so fundamentally flawed, from root to branch, that to fix it will take generations at the very least.

    Few are willing to wait that long for something that may or may not ever come along so they go with the “sure” route. Which, of course, is now proving to be anything but.

    This comment was originally posted on Detlef Cordes

    Reply
  • Ryan February 20, 2009, 7:41 am

    Well, if I’m any measure of trust in the political system, then you’re absolutely right. The values of politicians and the values of the population are dividing. I think that is what breeds the mistrust. When I see people I elected doing the opposite of what I elected them for, my trust is shaken.

    This comment was originally posted on Detlef Cordes

    Reply
  • Detlef February 20, 2009, 11:25 am

    Hi Iris,

    I am not an African and I never was there, but I have the opportunity to talk to people from various parts of Africa and I watch the news. So I have no first hand knowledge but what I see breaks my heart.

    Trust is lacking, those who have the opportunity leave, capital leaves, qualified jobs leave. That’s the diagnosis. I don’t know what to do. But perhaps with the internet and social media Africa gets a personal voice and helps us make the experience that this is our one world. Simple, everyday contacts like “What are you doing?” - “I’m procrastinating my ass off”. Communication.

    This comment was originally posted on Detlef Cordes

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  • Detlef February 20, 2009, 11:33 am

    Hi Ryan,

    I know what you mean, same on this side of the Atlantic. And to hold politicians accountable takes a lot of work and energy.

    Iris has related the problems in Africa. If we don’t want to walk that way in the US and Western Europe we better try to be articulate - while we can. We still can, can’t we?

    This comment was originally posted on Detlef Cordes

    Reply
  • Kendall February 21, 2009, 10:41 am

    Excellent post, Jeb. You obviously struck a chord.

    Free will and personal responsibility.
    Isn’t that what we are talking about here?
    I totally agree that noboody can predict what the world economy will look like 5 years from now. One thing is certain. China will weather storm far better than most nations. Why? They, as a populace, lack much of the free will that comes with being part of a Democratic nation. Which explains how they are able to control their standard of living, undercut other countries on labor costs, and take the earning opportunities reserved for the middle class of this country. It is true that our rampant consumerism, corporate greed, and union greed are responsible for creating a labor cost structure that we, a consumers, are not willing to support. Let’s hope this economic shake up will shine a light on the companies that are trying to build here and provide jobs here. (see American Apparel)

    But, really, it all boils down to personal responsibility. There will never be enough blog posts to eradicate greed and rampant consumerism. In fact, the ease of access to information and new experiences will probably make the fight even more difficult. I applaude you, and others likeminded, for helping people to think about it differently. that is where the change will come from.

    Seems the focus is often placed on all the new tools and methods of information exchange as the reason for this. It is still free will and personal repsonsiblity that rule. I, for one, would not trade my added nimbleness or ability to alter my professional course for a more “stable” alternative. It is a gift. One I plan to use wisely.

    Reply
    • Jeb February 21, 2009, 8:30 pm

      Hi Kendall,
      Great point on Free Will. I wonder about this at times…the challenge free will represents. There’s such an enormous assumption that underlies it - namely, that we’ll all make good choices - and I cant help but imagine that whatever, or whoever, gave us this flexibility did so much as one sitting at a blackjack table might slide his large stack of winnings, accumulated from hours of luck and skill, onto the bet and risk it all on one final hand.

      It’s a gamble, this free will, and I think perhaps we’re seeing the downside of that gamble right now. But I’ve been a winner before, I’m guessing most people have. Can we remember that feeling well enough to keep the game going?

      I’m all in Kendall.

      Reply
  • Henie February 21, 2009, 5:44 pm

    Jeb…

    Well this post certainly got me thinking on so many levels since I could easily fall under the many situations you mentioned. I also claim no expertise on anything except for my own spark within. :~)

    I’ve experienced many cultural shifts in business as I’ve been in it for over 25 years now. I’ve held high-powered positions, owned my own companies; I’ve also been the corporate worker-single mom scraping by…I’ve been rich, I’ve been poor…but at the end of the day, what truly matters is the satisfaction and fulfillment of my core.

    And yes the grave economic downturn concerns me…but I believe the time is right for us to re-sculpt our values and our universe. Collectively, we can unite and we can make things right!:~)…we will be alright!

    I suppose the bottom line to what I am sharing is my ultimate realization: “I want to live to give…not live to get.” ~Henie~

    Best Always,
    Henie

    Get Henie’s content here..Sempiternal Glow

    Reply
    • Jeb February 21, 2009, 9:22 pm

      Henie, you are the light at the end of the tunnel. I love everything you said, love how you frame your experience, love how you rhyme. I’ve known only one or two people in my life who just radiate such a wonderful energy as you. Thank you for being here, and for sharing your take.

      I look forward to re-sculpting my values with you helping to guide the way. Cheers.

      Reply
  • changeforge February 28, 2009, 7:40 pm

    The end of the world as we know it (I feel fine) http://ff.im/-1gVSX

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

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  • larry_slo March 1, 2009, 7:02 am

    RT @changeforge: The end of the world as we know it (I feel fine) http://ff.im/-1gVSX

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

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