Creative destruction is an economic term. While new products and systems grow, the old ones must die, making room for innovation. That is the essence of Joseph Schumpeter’s economic concept. While this is sensible, it doesn’t make living inside the change any easier. The shift is particularly rapid as Moore’s Law pushes us toward faster and smaller computing and into quantum computing by the end of this decade.
Such rapid fire “creative destruction” can be particularly bewildering to a boomer. I am a boomer. We boomers grew up on a ritualization of stories found in music albums, magazine covers, book covers, and photo albums. There was a tactile, emotional and meaningful connection to those art forms. Now all that hard, physical stuff is going or soon gone. I recently posted about Pope Francis being named Time’s Person of The Year with more than a few Facebook barbs called the magazine (now digital only) and the honor “irrelevant”.
The Parable of Frankenstein
At the age of seventeen, Mary Shelley rang the harbinger bell on the industrial revolution with her parable Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. One hundred and fifty years later, an American prodigy, Timothy Berners-Lee, was so inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s retelling of the Shelley story in Playboy with Dial F For Frankenstein , that it inspired him to create the “World Wide Web”, a different kind of monster force.
With all creative destruction, the inherent hope is that what we gain is significantly more than what we lose. There is no question that the internet and computing power has collapsed the notion of space and time and we are one world 24/7. The opportunities to collaborate without physical travel has created all kinds of productive opportunities. Yet, at the same time, the rise in communication without the awkwardness and drama of true one-on-one human interaction, is stunning. Most studies indicate we would rather text than talk. Other studies suggest we don’t like being human. How would Rod Serling write about this? We boomers still know who Rod Serling is.
I hope that the materializing Metaverse will not force the end of us bleeding, ineffective , irrelevant humans. For those of us Boomers who would like to hang on to our humanity and sanity , here are a few tips that I have found effective in keeping a balance between being and modern busyness.
Three Quick Tips
1) Love your Past – Your life and your time shall never be repeated or duplicated. The internet – Hulu, Netflix, YouTube – have given us many opportunities to reconnect with bright moments of our culture. It is great to reconnect with them.
2) Unplug – Disengage from your devices at select times and on the weekends. Control them, don’t let them control you. Most all of the devices create activity that releases the pleasure drug, dopamine. It is easy to become addicted. It takes a conscious discipline. Encourage those you love to try it to so you can have physical fun in the physical world with them!
3) Meditate/Pray/or Find Aloneness – It is important amidst this massive change to keep your spiritual life alive, and if your are not spiritual, a focus on mind/heart convergence. Everyone, not just boomers, need the down time from the noise and busyness. Take a walk in nature. Pray. All Blue Zones suggest that part of the quality of life is based on meaningful solitude.
History and Culture
Too often we seek the fruits of culture and the approval of culture. We are barking up the wrong tree. All culture is ambiguous . Man creates culture and man is ambiguous because he is conflicted. To step and unplug from a culture in the midst of creative destruction is critical. Jesus went to the mountain by himself, the Buddha sat alone under the tree, and Winston Churchill spent years in the wilderness painting before the free world called him back to defend it.
All of history points to the concept that when we give the beast a name, we start taming it. It is important to acknowledge what we are living in rapid fire creative destruction and we need to understand that years ago Mary Shelley called it the modern god.