A short story about a big contrast
Being invited as a guest to listen in on one of the planet’s greatest think tanks discuss humanity’s future is indeed a rare occasion and privilege.
800+ intelligentsia debating humanity’s future….with heart palpitating and backside puckering….what was to be discovered from listening in? Some really interesting thoughts to be sure, however the two topical postings of the day, by the same author no less, were quite a stunning contrast.
One post spoke of spinning theory on humanity’s future way way out there, like more than 100 years out there. The other post lamented the burden of the intellectual in being unable capture the attention of and motivate the masses to the wonders of the future, the future seemingly beginning ~2045.
Advice was sought from Socrates before resignation set in, grinding away at sharpening the science and rhetoric by the intellectual, same ol’ same ol’, seemingly the only way forward. Real inspiring stuff.
One old roughneck who was supposed to be just listening just couldn’t resist, without much thinking about who all might be listening in, piped up with 2 cents worth mostly as follows: (names, titles and places changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike).
“Dear A Person,
……. I am thoroughly enjoying reading your posts and those of your learned colleagues.
I was struck by the contrast between this XXXXX post and your YYYYY post. At the risk of breaching protocol, I must ask your indulgence for an observation or two from a layman’s perspective followed with a question or two.
You speak of difficulty in capturing the crowd’s attention. That to me would not necessarily suggest that the science and rhetoric were dull. It would rather suggest that the message is dull. If the crowd cannot feel the message, their attention span will be short. A sharp message captures the crowd’s attention, the science underpins it and the rhetoric fuels it.
I think that esteemed astrophysicist and story teller Neil Degrasse Tyson describes articulately what it takes to capture the crowd’s attention and make big things happen. In his poorly attended appeal to a congressional committee on NASA’s behalf, he demonstrated the power of a generational vision with the man on the moon mission that spurred decades of extraordinary growth. Mr. Tyson contends that when manned space exploration stopped, the crowd could no longer feel the message and the vision died. Mr. Tyson proposes that a new manned exploration space mission and 1% of GDP will do it all again.
In the 60’s, the crowd was sporadically connected in a one way conversation. Today, the crowd is almost 3 billion strong, by 2025 everyone will be interconnected with multi-level conversational tools. The moon has been done, Mars is too far away to feel for most, I would suggest that it is going to take something completely different and back here on earth to inspire and craft a generational vision capable of capturing the crowd’s attention and motivating the masses such as you desire in this XXXXX post.
Contemplating and theory spinning on the YYYYY would seem to require having gone way up and way out there, way past (for simplicity) 2045 and way above 30,000 feet to look for plausible evidence one way or the other. At some point way out there, things must seem pretty stable and good for humanity, good enough to theorize further about YYYYY and such.
My questions would then be something like this:
When traveling back from such far reaching success scenarios, one could expect to see a rough best path and a few required milestones between then and present day. I would guess that you and others read and studied enough to be able to look down and back at things from those heights and distances would have been interested in having a look see at ~2025 on the way past.
Presuming that your future success case would mean seeing a success case in 2025 as well, and presuming that the connected crowd, ~8 billion by then, would have had to unite in a major way to support a success case in 2025:
What are the 3 most visible or even shockingly visible societal changes seen between your 2025 view and present day?
Is there a sharp message and generational vision of sufficiently disruptive (make it all happen) amplitude to to be found by looking at studied views of 2025 with the scope pointed at ‘what has to happen to make this view a reality?’
Can those insights, curated for varying segments of society, and shared with the crowd over a broad bandwidth breed the tipping point you search for in YYYYY …..”
So, just a short story from a seasoned old roughneck…..will A. Person write a sequel?