They say every age is characterized in its own unique ways. From egalitarianism, to the megacities of today. From a preoccupation with the natural world, to a shift in focus to the virtual. I think what is lost in all this however, is that for many people an age isn’t defined by technological marvels, mass cultural events, or the ramblings of plutocrats. It is defined by how much the world in which they live in allows them to grow and flourish, and ultimately allows them to reach their full potential.
If theres anything that truly defines the 21st Century, it is potential. The potential to unlock the mysteries of consciousness, to harness the fundamental forces of nature in unprecedented ways (perhaps even space itself), and expand our collective knowledge to places few of us can imagine. In lieu of this fact however, lies the giant shadow of uncertainty. Every time you increase the potential in something, you increase the level of uncertainty in how it will operate. That is a principle founded in quantum physics, and it relates to life as a whole as well. Because of this uncertainty in the face of potential, combined with an increased acceleration of technological advancement, we also live in one of the most tumultuous and sometimes frigthening periods in human history.
Even though that can lead to stress and worry, i also think it brews a kind of excitement within our generation that is unknown to those that came before us. Its a big gamble, but if it pays off well be in a whole new world. After all is said and done, what will be the legacy of the 21st Century. What will be its soul? Whatever it may be, there is no doubt it will fundamentally change our species in ways that will make us question not only the nature of the world, but the nature of ourselves as well. I can’t wait to see what happens.