The question, “Because all historic societies have proven the failure of their original design, are we willing to sit and watch our own go the same way?” is a call to action. As a futurist who is steeped in the 30,000 years long arc of human social existence, I have seen what is coming, which has also been shared by many authors in the last 40 years. 41 What I have provided here is a blue print for implementing socially sustainable designs via the seven major social institutions of democratic societies.
One elemental factor that affects our willingness to change how we make decisions is dependent upon our expectations for the future. If the public expects that “business as usual” will continue, then there will be no willingness to make changes to adapt to new circumstances that the future will surely provide. As discussed early, and as Donnela Meadows and several other futurists are aware, the future is going to change and change dramatically. All that comes into existence when that occurs will not fit into our old expectations.
What is required in order to adapt to that changed future is the willingness to detach from historic expectations, and to personally invent sustaining expectations for that changed future. Those who refuse to change their expectations, those who cannot detach from traditional expectations, will become a part of the social-anthropological detritus along side those of all past cultures.
To change expectations successfully when circumstances change, it is advised that individuals and all organizations use the Schematic on page 167 to begin the process of making sense of those threatening circumstances in order to formulate expectations that fit with new circumstances. Those new expectations must also provide for moral and ethical decisions and outcomes to proactively aid the survival and sustainability of others.
All of life is defined by the decisions we make based on the innate values of our species and modified by our personal interpretations and preferences. What separates ongoing sustainability from the decline and collapse of organizations, societies, and nations is making decisions that intentionally add sustainable value to the present and future of our personal lives, families, and the organizations that support society. That today requires organizations to become learning organizations with the capability of adapting to changing circumstances.
As a futurist with some military inclinations, it is far better to be prepared for what is to come, and to have already anticipated what to do that creates a new, sustainable social reality for all people of democratic nations… than to be surprised and overwhelmed by the forces of our own creation and crushed by the cataclysms that have already begun.
The following was first published as a stand-alone paper. Here, it is eminently applicable as a cause célèbre that has the capability of transforming a potentially political tragedy into one that restores the greatness of the American Democracy. Democracy’s greatness has always had its origins from individual citizens at the local community level. They are the only ones capable of restoring its greatness.
41 - Meadows, Donnela, Jørgen Randers, Dennis Meadows 1972, 2004 Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. Chelsea Green Publishing Company and Earthscan.
Strauss, William, Neil Howe 1977. The Fourth Turning – An American Prophecy. Broadway Books, New York, New York
Martenson, Chris 2011 The Crash Course – The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey