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Future Shock: living in the eye of the storm

The fabric and tapestry of American cultural is complex as it is simple. Our daily life is woven and projected through time and space as a series of how we react to opportunities and challenges, as well as order and chaos.

This article is about trying to understand some of the internal order and structure of how change and disruption occurs and impacts our daily living or what we refer to as normal. Quick and hard change is experienced as if one was standing in the "Eye of the Storm" of extreme weather events." The social scientist, Alvin Toffler's famous 1970 book, "Future Shock" defined how America would experience change for the next 50 years.

Extreme and intense physical storms are becoming more and more a normal way of life for millions of Americans. The year 2017 witness the impact of 15 storms that cost 1 trillion dollars to home owners, cities, states, and military bases. Whether the storms came in form of high wind, flooding, intense fires, extreme Artic cold or extreme heat (drought), they left sheer chaos.

There are three levels of change (waves of disruption) that impact the structure of all ways of our society and culture.

Number 1 is the physical shock of extreme storms.

This may be in the force of flooding, extreme heat or cold, mega hurricanes and tornadoes and massive fires with corresponding giant mud slides. Number 1 wave of change is a direct challenge to Command and Order of who we are as a society. This controls the space we live in.

The American Civilization is floating upon a very thin veneer of order. Planes fly on schedule as do trains on their routes. Command and control works as police, homeland security, and military protects the country and its cities and states. Utility grids perform every day in providing electric power as well as heating or cooling systems for over 300 million Americans.

The American Cultural works as long as the above systems perform each hour of every day. Major disruption to the above systems means great harm to the average American life. In some cases, this may mean actual survival.

Number 2 wave of change is based upon the impact technology to American cultural.

Constant redefinition of technological boundaries moves at increasingly faster speeds. These results cause hard mental and physical whiplash. For example, the current move toward cars that drive themselves and electric cars may cause the collapse of the oil industry, collapse of the auto manufacturing industry, collapse of living in rural areas with movement toward urbanized mass transit.

This wave of disruption may even collapse our "forever wars" in the Middle East. Without a need to protect the constant flow of oil out this region, America may decide that it is no longer a sound or rational strategy to be in involved in local tribal matters and civil wars.

Number 3 wave of change is about the restructuring of who we are.

This question is framed buy defining how change affects Americans as individuals, as a people, and as a nation. These are the social, moral, spirit, and dreams of all of us as Americans. This wave is powered by the brain as well as by the heart of our citizens.

We are the constant travelers in search of a better way of life for ourselves and our children. We seek knowledge on all fronts. We tinkered with societal definition on a daily basis. Political power is always in flow from one economic and moral concept to another in its place. This arena is where the poor versus the rich, corporations versus the individuals, city, states and regions seeking to grow and enjoy the wealth of America, collide.

Understanding the dynamics of change will allow Americans the ability to steer and structure vast, extreme shocks to our way of life and impact to the American civilization.

What we do, as individuals, as holders of elected offices, and as communities, will provide the answer to that future historian, who ponders how we survived these times.

That answer to that question will be written on each day, each month, and each year over the next decade. As of this moment in geo-spatial time, our future is being tossed high into the sky. How it lands will be up to good people making good decisions about meeting problems, issues, challenges, and opportunities head on.


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