Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Dream (Era) That Is Coming!

A Think Tank experience in the Dallas area 11 years ago shaped the course and focus of my life.  I just didn't know it was happening at the time!
A sidebar article written by Watts Wacker a few years earlier in Futurist magazine caught the group's curiosity. Writing out of SRI International at the time, he projected the next logical era to follow the Information Age to be The Dream Era and listed the following characteristics:
  • Storytellers as Leaders
  • Downward Nobility
  • People Regrouping into NeoTribes
  • Spiritual Experiences as the New Status Symbols
Enough of us were there because we had futurist strengths or gifts ourselve that we didn't dismiss this utopia ideal as instantly impossible.  Rather, the discussion that followed around the cycles of history and what concrete clues and trends Watts was using to make those projections convinced me the article was worth holding onto through the next years of my life.
Or maybe it held onto me.
  • It followed me through the shock of the Columbine school shootings and the first major financial rumble of early 2001. 
  • It followed me into the devastation felt round the world on 9-11-1 and the impact it had on my own dreams—personal and professional. 
  • It followed me until it caught up with me around the time that the tragic combo of human error and forces of nature that became known simply as “Katrina” rocked the country. And that happened to be right in time for my own internal awakening to areas of major growth and change and possibility.
That’s when I began to realize that little tattered slip of paper from a Think Tank held in 1999 was going to define my life for the next few years–and be worth throwing myself into. Because finally in 2005 in those weeks and months after Katrina, I could see it. I could see that it had begun happening right in front of us—everything Watts had projected. Overnight, it seemed, national tragedies with global ripples awakened a sleeping mass of philanthropy and we saw those bullet points come flooding in.
  • Storytellers as Leaders? Our highly paid storytelling celebrities in sports, music and especially movies stepped more visibly out of mere entertainment and idol-like roles into Leadership roles, speaking out about social justice causes (sometimes to the detriment of their own careers) and leading the way in giving back to the whole.
  • Downward Nobility? Instead of seeming like a joke began to become the norm with consumerism taking a hit and Simplicity movements catching on.
  • NeoTribalism?  Groups started coming together to help each other heal and try to figure out new ways to balance individuality with community--new ways of pooling resources and even living spaces.
  • Spiritual Experiences as the new Status Symbols? Commentators started asking why the sudden influx of spiritual language into the public arena.  Major talk show hosts conducted highly publicized "spiritual" events. 
 Then came wikipedia and Google’s big explosion making the shift from Information Age to Dream Era much more plausible. In just a few short years it seemed like information as a commodity made the shift food did between the Agricultural Era and the Industrial Age. A basic we take for granted. No longer is it something we build our lives around trying to obtain for the security it brings. Now it’s just a given rapidly available enough at our fingertips that we can move on to putting it to use.
Then too explosive to find an anology for, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube took off and now for the first time in history a different kind of “tribalism” with global possibilities than has ever been possible—neotribalism, or the potential for it–--is strongly in play.
So now you know the story of this blog.  The point of why I’m dreamcasting.
  • Because I think it’s time to get this party started–-messy or not.  
  • Because I figure I can do my part if I use my core Strengths of futurism, maximizing and arranging to cennect global trends to the gifts of each world-changing member of my highly diverse network.
  • And because I want the pain of my personal story and journey to be transformed in a powerful way that makes a difference for those coming after me. 
The opportunities for world change are open as never before. And while the birthing process may still be painful for a few more years, that will not change the fact that never before in history has it actually been possible to do things like End Poverty, Build Social Business, and to start solving major complex global conflicts by learning how to recognize, admit and cut others slack in Being Wrong.
    The capacity for ushering in the Dream Era is upon us...ready or not.  What we do with this window of opportunity will define our place in history.

    I for one would like to be ready--and to step courageously into my role.

    And you?


    1. Fascinating thoughts, Mariah. I've never heard of the dream era, but I definitely see those trends materializing/intensifying & am excited for the changes that could come from these.

    2. It seems like a lot of the individual trends are gaining attention, but like you say, not much talk yet of the overall era itself. Something I'd love to see--and help--shift. Want this to become a forum for collecting resources, too, around not only getting ready for it but helping to catalyze it. With your gifts along those lines, if you come across links to organizations or info or anything else you think applies, I'd love it if you would share them with us here!