Thursday, August 25, 2005

Innovation Addiction

Things are changing so rapidly and in so many ways now in the early 2000s that one can actually pursue or focus on innovation or change as an entity unto itself. Since so much innovation occurs in technology, it is possible to mistake technology as the critical part, but technology is just an interesting substrate, the innovation is the key part.

Even though technology is maybe just the most active substrate, there is some causality at work in that the minds and value systems of the technology world are more geared to the pureness of thought and ideas, openness, inclusion and creativity in the way that other substrates such as business and politics are not.

Why is innovation so addictive? There are at least two reasons: innovation's inherent dynamism and capacity for transformation. Any phenomenon with dynamism and movement is intriguing, think of fire or coastal tides for example. Movement implies growth, newness, regeneration, the cycles and patterns of life. The property of capacity for change is also captivating, the unstated promise of progress, improvements to life, more effective ways of perceiving, of interacting, of being and doing and living in this world and others. Innovation is exciting because it suggests new experience.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Slacker Flatland's Meaningless Surfaces

Philosopher Ken Wilber, on his website and in his book, Boomeritis, discusses the interesting tensions and goals of the Boomer, Gen X/Slacker and Gen Y/Millennial generations. He purports that the appeals of leftist boomers for equality and consideration of all people, viewpoints, religions, etc. impassioned boomers at the time but had the legacy of flattening Gen X and Y to gray. Now, he suggests, Gen X's objective is to escape from "slacker flatland, meaningless surfaces everywhere, irony where happiness should be."

What is a Gen X'er to do? The sex and drugs Wilber uses in Boomeritis to texturize the characters' worlds don't work for everyone. Many teens turn to video games and online worlds (escapist or not?) but there must be other solutions. At the same time there is a growing sentiment that work must be meaninfgul (Daniel Pink's "A Whole New Mind," Ken Bakke's "Joy at Work," Tom Malone's "The Future of Work" and other early 2000s treatises). It's almost becoming a new human right. But the real world hasn't yet caught up with the thought stream. No wonder so many Gen X and Y'ers live at home and refuse to tune into the structured world as it exists even if the paradigm is slowly and unevenly shifting, and in fact requires their participation to evolve.

It's a challenge for everyone - how to be happy, and being responsible for being happy. And how to do and be to achieve the personhood and life we desire.