Guess it's just that time of year again. The time to think about new beginnings and a few what ifs. But as 2014 is being born, so too are a few other ideas about what the future of this century holds. For those of us born mid last century, any year that begins with a 2 was always going to be the future. As children, we knew that there would come a day, in a new century, when we'd see so many things differently. That time is now.
Yes, this includes all the advancements in technology, the myriad forms that a computer takes, the advancements in health (note: not health care) transportation, and the general ease with which people spend their days. Yet, all is not Utopian in this advanced world we have long expected. The fact is that we're a much more divided nation now than ever before. We really are, as a culture, on a few different pages when it comes to core values and the principles and ethics with which we'd like to live our lives.
Just a soft peek at the issues that divide us and it's apparent that the polarization that divided us is built on value conflicts about the right to life and death, the role of government in our lives, church and state, our changing climate, and bits and pieces of everything from what we call entertainment or sports, or music...Maybe it's time to stop asking why we can't all get along.
Just as a point of departure, I was wondering what would happen if we decided to try something different. Something radical...something like dividing into two or possibly three different countries where people could live under the laws and values that they truly think are most worthwhile.
Oh, I know the reality of all this, but just indulge me for a second. The purpose of all this change would be no so much to see which society would succeed or fail, but rather to see what it feels like to live in a world where most of the people you live and work with share the same vision as you do.
Would it be less interesting, less stimulating? Would it necessarily be better?
What about immigration? Would there be great value shifts that people would exhibit with age?
Lots of possibilities here.
I'm reminded of that "Letter from the blue states to the red states" that was so popular a few years ago. Based mostly on political and social values, the blue states announced that they were seceding from the red and taking with them such wonderful resources as the Napa Valley, much of the Pacific Northwest, many of the National parks and, of course the progressive centers and cities like NYC and San Francisco.
When you look at this scenario, it's certainly amusing. But when you look at it within the context of our current malaise, it just might be more desirable than most folks care to admit.