The Tail of Tragedy ...

Our Principle Violations

As a corporate strategist, it was my job to pick out social and economic patterns that impacted our business or that our business could impact. Many trends sat outside the bounds of our business. Some were big and scary. I was so affected that I left that company and started the Nature of Business, hoping to help. I remain hopeful, if for no other reason than that human nature is often at its best when things are at their worst.
Here are some of the biggies as I see/saw them …

Many things in nature grow at a geometric rate. So it is with the pace of change. Complexity, in its simplest definition, means that there is a lot of stuff, and that stuff is moving a lot faster, and all the individual pieces are having an impact on each other.

- - With complexity, you get lots of unintended, even unimaginable, consequences. The pieces are connected, so if you move one, you are impacting many. The way we behave today, will have consequences we can’t imagine – for better or worse. S--t will happen.
- - With complexity, we know more as a group, but less as individuals. As the body of human knowledge grows, proportionately, we have less of it. The wisdom of the group will become more important.

Nature creates complexity and thrives in it.
By comparison, we seem to be disoriented and confused by it.

When things that use to be in the middle start to move to the ends. For many of you, your first thought about extremism, was likely religious extremism; that self-righteous state of mind that makes others wrong. True, that falls into this category. But I’m talking about a face of extremism that looks more like the face we see in the mirror each morning. Extremism exists at home. We are one-sided in our views, more eager to talk than to listen, mired in false-hoods, disinterested in facts, and even less interested in finding common ground.

See “Complexity” above; the root of this evil. Although the human system is built for change, we resist it. Although we are designed for learning, "knowing" has become more important. Despite the fact we are capable of more together, we want to act alone. Complexity guarantees certain things; that the future is less predictable, our actions have unintended consequences, we have a decreasing amount of knowledge as a person, we are increasingly interdependent. … - all pointing to the need for commonality, shared knowledge and joint effort. Interesting then, that “polarization” is such an evident trend.

These twin issues have the power to block out the sun, literally. It is said, “we either face reality or ramp up our delusion". There remains two camps on most environmental and energy issues, each claiming the other is smoking whacky-tobaccy. Sub-trends here are the amount of behavioral changes being made, the innovation of energy sources, and the way our consumables are made, sold, used, and recycled. All are significant.

The more astounding sub-trend to me, is the debate itself. It speaks to our deep disconnect from the natural world around us. Grown-ups understand that you cannot run a car inside a closed garage. Most grown-ups know that earth’s air is contained within a little something called “atmosphere” which traps the air in a lot like a garage door. Didn’t it occur to us that after trillions of miles by millions of cars, we eventually might doze off? Science can be confusing but oxygen is crystal clear.

The fact remains that nature has an incomprehensible restorative power. But even a healthy system occasionally needs help fighting dis-ease. We have the choice to be the curse or the cure. Regardless, we need to stop saying we are going to "save the planet." It is untrue. The planet will do just fine without us. This is purely self preservation.