Humans spend 93% of their time indoors. Ok. Actually, they spend 87% indoors and another 5%ish in cars (transportation). The % split is dancing on the head of a pin compared to the astronomically high 90%ish number in the scheme of things.

So. Let’s just say 90% of our time indoors. That seems like a crazy high number to me. That said, let me speculate a bit. Let’s say 300 years ago people spent 50% of their time indoors (I’m trying to find a spot before Industrial Age and maybe during agricultural Age). Let’s say 1000 years ago people spent 25% of their time indoors. You can see where I am going with this. This has to affect us. While all this indoor time certainly doesn’t mean that business (civilization) isn’t extracting the shit of the outside (we don’t need to be outside to actually harm the outside), but it has to effect, well, us, as people, inside.

But it’s possible I have a larger point to make.

Affect versus effect. Affect is a verb and means to influence something. Effect is a noun and means the result. While I believe, over time, spending more time indoors does create an effect, that affect takes time to create the effect(s). Change is layered.

As we run around this crazy world we tend to stare at effects (which are actually simple behaviors of the moment) and drive ourselves nuts on whether Armageddon is upon us in some way.

Kids watching too much tv, addicted to smartphones, even decline in organized religion, are examples of how we stare at our navels worrying over what we see as effects and tying ourselves into knots declaring some affect as the evil doer.

Most of the big change stuff, how we think, molecular, civilization, is slow moving stuff. Driven by some tectonic shift in the nature infrastructure of Life. That doesn’t mean things like smartphone technology can’t create change, because it does, but rather it most likely amplified an effect of a tectonic affect which occurred years ago.

Do I believe a shift from spending more time outdoors to more time indoors created an effect? Sure. And it most likely had cascading consequences – both positively and negatively. That’s the thing between affects and effects. It is often not some simplistic balance sheet entry but rather, because of pace layering, a nature affect ripples out and has multiple, if not infinite, effects.

Do I believe shifting from an agrarian society to an industrial one affected us? Sure.

Do I believe shifting into a world in which knowledge, truth & lies, became available 24/7 affected us? Sure.

Do I believe automation will affect us? Sure.

What I am less sure of are the effects. Well. Some of the older affects allow us to examine the layers, ripples, of consequences. But that said, in general, I am unsure of the effects. And maybe that is what makes science fiction so interesting versus some of the futurist nonsense we see and hear in business. Science fiction makes no claims of effect predictions, simply effect possibilities. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that not all science fiction, or fantasy, is all dystopian – or utopian. They reflect possibilities of both good, and bad, consequences. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out this is how you can assess business ‘futurists.’ The ones who predict anything are charlatans, tricksters, and the ones who are unsure and express possibilities and probabilities pose the most interesting thinking.

Lastly.

Not all affects are created equal in term of their effects. I say that because we often seem to treat all affects in equal terms – especially if one embraces a dystopian view of things. I encourage everyone who has any desire to ponder the consequences of an affect to sit and think through the layers and where it resides. A ‘fad affect’ is just that – a momentary glimpse of nonsense (and, yet, it will have an effect). A ‘nature affect’ is just that – a tectonic shift in the structure of all that stands upon it.

I’ll end with the fact about 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is watercovered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. If earth’s surface became 82% water covered, that affect would certainly create not just an effect, but cascading effects. Just as if 90% of a workforce was in offices and it shifted to 70% of a workforce was in offices is an affect, with cascading effects. Nothing linear in what I stated, but causal, and it should make everyone spend a bit more time thinking about affects because, well, in the end I am unsure of what any effect will be but I surely would like to be aware of an affect.

 

** note: to be clear, I am relatively sure I mangled affect versus effect somewhere within this piece, that said, I stand by the thinking.

 

 

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Written by Bruce