Enlightened Conflict

awaiting the end of the world (as we know it)

August 4th, 2015


crap uh oh

“I don’t pay attention to the

world Ending.

It has ended for me

many Times

and began again in the morning.”


Nayyirah Waheed


Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide

In the strife of truth with falsehood

For the good or evil side.


James R. Lowell , 1845

<poem protesting America’s war with Mexico>


Is the world heading for another Global War?

As I read through the headlines on Yahoo News and other Media Outlets, it seems that there is a lot of anger, posturing, threats, paranoia, fear and distrust being expressed here in the US and elsewhere in the World.

The Iran deal, North Korea threats, Turkey and the Kurdish separatism, ISIS, Syrian revolution, radical groups in Western Africa, failed states in Somalia, Israel/ Palestinian continual war, Russian aggression and the European response.

Is this our reality, or just the manufacture of NEWS that the media creates to fill a 24/7 cycle? Are these all isolated situations or are they an early stage of a 20th century cycle that must repeat itself?

TED Discussion Topic








I admit.



oh no not youI am ready for the world to end … okay … not really … maybe only to stop reading about the imminent conclusion of Life as we know it today as predicted by numerous “experts.”



It seems a little crazy … but … we sometimes seem to always live on the edge of the end of the world. I thought of this again as I finished my Iran nuclear agreement post yesterday <and scanned the morning headlines around the world online>.



There is no lack of predictors of doom online, on television or on radio talk shows today.



But you know what?


Being good at predicting doom, and the end, seems like an uneasy contradiction … if you are actually accurate and good at your prediction skills … well … who will be around to actually give you credit for being right?





Who would actually want to give you credit?



In addition … more often than not the predictions are wrong <albeit the predictors are cannily good at <a> finding the random thread that actually did come to fruition or, <b> find the next phase of doom.



Here is the craziest aspect.


Doom prediction is not a generational thing.


Every decade, shit, every year has a new doom or Armageddon ‘thing.’



There is moral crisis <pick the 1740’s, 1880’s, 1910’s, 1970’s and now>.


2014 merry crisis

There is economic crisis <pick the anytime in the 1500’s, the 1780’s, the 1890’s & 1920’s, the 1980’s and now>.



There is unsustainable overpopulation crisis <beginning of the industrial age until now – every year>.



There is terrorism crisis <every decade in recorded history>.



There is political crisis <war of the roses time, 1780’s, 1920’s, 1960’s, 1990’s and now>






And religion all by itself has a long history of ‘end days’ predictions <242 dates list – the full list is below the header: http://www.bible.ca/pre-date-setters.htm >




I cannot remember the first time I heard that the world was going to end because of an existing crisis other than maybe the imminent nuclear attack from the evil empire of the Soviet Union.






Nostradamus and the Mayans as well as the Christians had the corner on the end of the world predictions until people came along trying to create a variety of manmade end of the world scenarios.



It has been my fortune that I have ignored the noise enough that no matter my age I haven’t stopped doing what I was supposed to do awaiting the end <I did my homework, I showed up for work, I didn’t quit exercising <thinking that being flabby isn’t the way I would want to go out anyway> and I still fulfilled the painful commitments which could have easily been shirked under the guise of “who will know I didn’t do it.”

thinking trying to



Maybe it is because at a relatively young age I understood that most end of the world conspiracy theories begin with some crackpot wearing an aluminum foil hat sitting in their mother’s basement teasing out “what if” scenarios from actually was.


Maybe I had parents who ignored the bullshit and the foil hat people <who they believed were kooks>.



So are there any real threats?



Most of the conventional ways you’ve heard of the world ending are pretty much speculative bullshit.



Even the original apocalypse, nuclear weapons, falls far short of what was promised/predicted.



There are simply not enough nuclear weapons to destroy every major city on Earth therefore the entire world as we know it.atomic bomb blast


Even in the 1980s, when the global arsenal reached its height, estimates were that 400-500 million might die in a first strike and perhaps double this number in total from famines, plagues, and radiation.


I will not bore you with real numbers but that means the vast majority of humanity would survive.




The same numbers apply to any other Armageddon like event you want to worry about.






Having recently worked with a bunch of highly qualified E physicians … I can factually state that we have them all the time.
Before you get all worked up over “what if pandemic scenarios” I will point out that not once in four billion years has a disease mutated to the point where it could wipe out every living creature on Earth.






We only get a major asteroid hit <one that can destroy all major life forms> about every ten million years. Ok. Maybe we are due. But. We are probably at a point where we could spot it and do something about it before it crashed into someone’s living room.





Solar Flare.




But lets say it knocks out every electrical device on the planet … at worst we would struggle with regaining our non-electrical footing and most likely set back the economy, the way we live and standard of living several decades.



Uncomfortable? For sure.


Extinction? Not so much.



aliens attack




Despite some of those TV shows speculating alien involvement with building the pyramid and such … the Earth has been circling the Sun for at least four billion years with no visitors to date. While there is a chance … it kind of seems like a Dumb and Dumber chance <one in a million>.







TV movie <see The Day the Earth Stood Still>.







We <people in general> seem to confuse a variety of common everyday occurrences with Armageddon and “the end.”







Let me share 3 reasons.



– Change <in general>



hold on let go changeChange sucks and most people balk at changing. As soon as some major innovation that creates a big sweeping change in the way things are done <farming instead of hunting & gathering, printing press, industrial revolution, TV, computers, internet> it is like a tectonic shift within civilization.

Everything gets affected.


People freak.


Some people freak enough to predict the end of the world as we know it.

Many others wonder of they are right.



– Different from us <generations>



Each generation sweeps into the world shoving aside that which was <and how it was done> and puts their own imprint on the world. Each generation doing what is currently being done gives ground grudgingly. And each grudging step, which includes giving something up, seems like a step towards the end of the world as we know it.


Some of the ‘I want to hold on to the way it was’ freak out enough to predict the end of the world.

There are enough ‘others’ within their age cohort who wonder if they are right <and comment on it>.



< I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of The 4th turning by Strauss & Howe which outlines the historical turnings of generations and how our freaking out is cyclical in theme>



– Different from us <culturally or ideologically>



This has nothing to do with generations or periods in time … this is simply a constant undercurrent of which current affairs can make the undercurrent bubble to the top.
What we don’t know, or understand, freaks us out.


When we see others who do, and act, significantly different from “us” <our country cohort> we freak. We freak because we believe we are living Life right <by the way … so do they>.



This is a constant and the freaking typically settles in at a ‘slightly uncomfortable feeling’ but nothing that makes us actually feel uncomfortable enough to say or do anything.


Most of us.



There will always be a few who will place the ‘different & differences’ up on a pedestal and start screaming “it will destroy us.” depending on what else is happening in the world at that time others may shift from ‘slightly uncomfortable feeling’ to “maybe we should freak.’







We confuse what time, in general, does to reshape the world and us:



New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,

They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.

Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;




Life naturally destroys what was, what is … and creates what will be.



This restless nature of life, which is constantly destroying, can create a sense that EVERYTHING will be destroyed.



Don’t panic.

panic degrees



The chances that everything will be destroyed falls into the Dumb and Dumber chances <one in a million>.





I will admit <using Orson Scott Card’s words>:



we do appear to live in a time when people like me, who do not wish to choose the extreme ridiculous, inconsistent, unrelated ideology, are being forced to choose – and to take one whole absurd package or the other.

We live in a time when moderates are treated worse than extremists, being punished as if they were more fanatical than the actual fanatics.

We live in a time when lies are preferred to the truth and truths are called lies, when opponents are assumed to have the worst conceivable motives and treated accordingly, and when we reach immediately for coercion without bothering to find out what those who disagree with us are actually saying.

In short we are creating for ourselves a new dark age – the darkness of blinders we voluntarily wear, and which, if we do not take them off and see each other human beings with legitimate , virtuous concerns, will lead us to tragedies whose cost we will bear for generations.

Orson Scott Card




Orson’s words resonate … and the sense you may get from what he describes is “Armageddon is upon us” but it isn’t.



It is simply the uncomfortable chafing of culture & civilization trying to find its way. I would also like to remind everyone of something I read somewhere in a book … “all these quarrels had been minor bumps and potholes along the road of a lifetime of respect and trust. When you stop and think about it, what good is a friend who agrees with you all the time?”



Uncomfortable but what good is a world where everyone agrees with you all the time?







Here is what I know.



Don’t panic



I would guess that if you could visit 2115 you would see a world pretty close to the way it is today.






Computers, technology and nanotechnology will most likely have evolved to some absurd heights but there will still be suburban barbeques, Amish communities, farm communities and a shitload of regular people doing their own thing.



So relax, maybe have a drink or go for a run and accept the likelihood that despite all the blowhards on TV and books about the ‘decline of’ or ‘the end of’ there will still be a relatively normal world for our ancestors to inhabit in a hundred years.

13 and new year predictions

December 31st, 2012

I am not superstitious. I have worn 13 <although 15 or 5 seemed to be what I wore all the time> and I seem no worse for the wear.

But we now enter a 13.


Here is the good news.

The ancient Egyptians believed that, on the last rung of a 13 step ladder to eternity, the soul would find everlasting life.

I like that.

And I personally believe this 13 will be a lucky year globally <especially now that we have resolved the whole Mayan calendar issue>.

I believe several things but mostly despite the fact there will be some disgruntling issues <slower economy than people really want, unresolved issues in the Middle East … crap like that>, that globally we will take a step up on the ladder to an everlasting soul.

We maybe even take a couple steps up.

Here are my 2013 predictions … or maybe better said … my thoughts for 2013. There are only 11 but that leaves room for 2 more to be added at a later date.

Let me begin with where I believe we will really need to step up <but probably will not>:

1. Youth unemployment

This is about hiring as well as what we do with them when we do hire them. The young are getting screwed in a number of ways. And while being unemployed seems like the biggest it is actually only the first domino in what we need to be sure we address.  By being unemployed there are 3 key issues we need to be prepared to deal with:

–          Lack of training: typically as we hire young people we have lower expectations for what they are capable of doing. We permit them some time for ‘on the ground training’ as they gain experience. The longer they stay unemployed the longer they miss out on this practical training. Now. Most unemployed youth are not remaining mentally idle … they are thinking, observing & improving personally. This translates into a new, different type of entering workforce. Existing management needs to think about that … very carefully. It represents a challenge … and an opportunity.

My main prediction? Existing management will fuck this up. They will remain with status quo thinking and get poor results … but most importantly … we will miss an opportunity with this generation of youth.

–          Lack of earnings: studies have shown the longer you wait to begin your earning history the less you earn in your lifetime <for a variety of reasons>. Short term this may not mean a lot but long term there is a huge issue with regards to earning history, savings and lifetime net worth.

My main prediction? Existing management will fuck this up. Mainly because they will only see the short term as an opportunity to get an older, more mature, cheaper employee and not recognize the longer term issues that will arise.

–          Lack of ROY <return on youth>: youth and young people are the cheapest innovation engine in any organization. While typically overlooked in an innovation model their innate ability to provide a fresh perspective through fresh eyes is invaluable. Organizations may not recognize their current loss with the ‘lack of youth’ within their organizations but it is having an impact. It has a domino effect within an organization. Without the ‘hidden youth engine’ more pressure will fall on older employees for innovative ideas … and these employees are more focused on ‘safe behavior to maintain employment” and … well … you can see where this ends up.

I have a much longer article coming up on this but suffice it to say this will be a big issue in 2013 … and it will be one I am not confident we will manage well.

2. Education

I call this the hollowing of education. And I believe it is the most overlooked issue with regard to education today. Everyone seems to be focused on “average scores” in assessing education. Silly. Education’s issue is actually the increasing hollow between the haves and the have nots. Richer kids are getting better educations. Poorer kids are getting worse educations. Richer kids are getting better scores and stack up well versus the best of the best everywhere. Poorer kids are getting worse scores and stack up poorly versus even the middle of the rest of the world. The average score looks worse because more kids are getting worse scores than the kids who are getting great scores.

My prediction is that we will continue to focus on the wrong things and the bulk of kids will continue getting a shitty education.


Here is where I think we will step up to the plate, the good things, and actually do in 2013.

–          Global economy

I admit that I have a different perspective on this. Mainly because I believe the past double digit growth was not normal but rather simply just a “good run” economically. In addition I also believe structurally the global economy is going through a renovation as emerging countries gain an economic foothold and the larger economies are subsequently playing a smaller role. I believe Fareed Zakaria calls this ‘the rise of the rest.’ Western economies need to recognize not that they are smaller but that smaller players have become bigger. People may be disappointed by what is perceived as smaller growth numbers but, globally, individual country’s economies will restructure to become more profitable & efficient and be in a position to have another ‘good economic run’ in maybe 3 to 5 years. Yes. I am suggesting 2013 will be a good year for global economy because it will pay off in the long term rather than short term.

I know … crazy thinking.

–          China & US

A lot has been made about the upcoming struggle between China & US for global leadership as well as some relatively wacky diatribes on the US dependence upon China fiscally.

In general I think 2013 will be a good year for this relationship. The truth is that each country needs the other economically. China has been a major funder of US innovation & infrastructural spending and US has been the number one consumer of China productivity. This mutual dependence may create some issues but I also believe it will create some good programs as each country tries to limit their dependence on each other. By the way … that interdependence also assists in foreign policy discussions. We should worry when neither is dependent upon the other … and 2013 is not that time.

–          Global poverty

Mostly because I am too lazy to look up the specific numbers I won’t quote specifics. But my memory suggests we made some significant inroads to reducing global poverty in 2012. And I envision that we will have another very good year in 2013 in addressing global poverty.

Poverty is attacked through education and ‘survival infrastructure’ <access to clean water & proper nutrients>. We seem to finally be taking steps to build the foundation globally so that people can lift themselves out of poverty.

And, while the media seems to suggest that the world is in turmoil, they are actually wrong. Poverty is being eliminated mainly because of stability & lack of turmoil. Many of the emerging countries are more stable <economically & politically> than ever before and that permits their population to survive <and be productive> rather than be transient & at war. So I imagine a secondary prediction to poverty reduction is increased peace globally.

–          Someone will break a meaningful sports record <and Messi will solidify his legacy>

2012 was a spectacular sports year … in fact … almost unprecedented.

Usain Bolt at the Olympics? A Brit in the Wimbledon finals? A baseball triple crown winner? A running back coming with 9 yards of a single season rushing record <and one year after tearing his knee to shreds>? Messi scoring more goals in one year than anyone else?

Records were broken. Things were done that hadn’t been done in decades.

So for 2013 I will begin with Messi. Scoring records are tricky things because most people just look at it as a “quantity record” and there will always be someone figuring out a way to diminish quantity. But every once in a while a superior athlete in their sport comes along and breaks a scoring record with quality. Wayne Gretzky did it in hockey. Messi just did it in soccer. In 2013 he will be recognized not for his quantity of goals but rather his wizardry on the pitch. His legacy will be solidified in 2013.

And someone will break some sports record we cannot imagine ever being broken. I will not even attempt to guess what it will be mostly because who would have ever predicted a guy who tore his anterior cruciate would actually get back on the football field the following season and run for over 2000 yards? That is why predicting record breaking is almost next to impossible. We are talking about sports freaks of nature.

–          Diplomacy will reign in foreign policy

War and death is at an all-time low globally. And yet it seems like we constantly teeter on the edge of war & death. I won’t comment on how media skews our perspective here but I will suggest that in 2013 global foreign policy will re-establish diplomacy as the key action to a productive interlocking global community in 2013.

I believe more soldiers in more countries will remain in their homes in 2013 than in previous years.

I believe foreign policy leaders <who will avoid politics> will rise above the din of the hawks & doves clamoring for ‘here is what you should do’ and collectively find diplomatic solutions for the globe’s most unsettled situations. Will it last? Geez. Skip down to the second prediction from here and you will see ‘power of the people.’ Foreign policy diplomats can only set up a successful infrastructure but it is the people who end up having the responsibility to make it work. I cannot predict people’s <populations> actions.

But I can predict foreign policy and I think it will be a very good year for foreign policy diplomats. In a government universe that often looks like a huge village of idiots they will rise above the incompetence and be incredibly competent on the world stage.

–          USA will begin believing in itself again.

We are a stubborn egotistical nation … but magnificently resilient. At some point we will remember what made US great wasn’t being number one … it was being number 2 … and trying harder. Frankly we are better as a country when we are competing and not being the prohibitive favorite to win. I think in 2013 <maybe later in the year rather than the beginning> the US will quit whining about what was and will get on with “what will be.” And they will begin believing in itself again. And it will start competing again.

I am not suggesting infrastructural issues will be resolved … but I do believe that people will begin believing they can beat the infrastructure. Beat the system. And you know what? The system can be beat. It is absolutely not a fair system in the US at the moment <the USA has a depressingly low score on social mobility … the ability to shift economic status upwards> but I believe people will just say ‘fuck it … if I wait for the system to get fixed I may as well wait until a woman wins the Masters golf tournament.’

The people will take matters into their own hands and begin believing in whatever it is that US believes in <just do it, do it myself, whatever you want to call it>.

The economy will improve not because of more government or less government … in fact the government & taxes & stimulus is irrelevant … it will be because people’s attitudes will change. They will just believe it should be better and will set out to make it better … regardless of the system they are asked to operate within.

Which leads me to the next … power of the people.

–          Power of the people

There are 2 aspects to this belief for 2013.

People themselves and the impact of the people.

First. People.

Western countries have the non-humble belief they are constantly teaching every one else … well … everything. I actually believe western countries will be applying learning from others in 2013. In fact they will learn from the Middle East. We watched the past several years as people in countries began standing up and topping their leadership. Now. I believe we are less focused on the toppling and more focused on the fact people are standing up and speaking out for their beliefs … and getting some traction and action. Therefore more and more people will be less silent and more active.

This will obviously create some issues because most existing countries populations are not aligned and therefore it could end up being more divisive … but in the end people will become less ‘silent majority’ and more ‘speaking majority.’ It will not all be productive but it will certainly produce some action.

Second. The impact.

I almost created a separate prediction called “the continued rise of the nation state” but realized that this is but a subset of the power of the people. If you haven’t been paying attention there is an increasing trend of devolving larger nation states to smaller nation states. This is a natural evolution of countries but it is also a reflection of a more vocal ‘people.’ Sudan splitting. Yugoslavia splitting. Catalonia discussing splitting from Spain. States with secession petitions in the US. Regardless … as people step up and speak out they also think more ‘nationalized’ in a smaller tighter way. It is natural. We tend to forget that Germany as it exists has only existed since 1871 <not counting the split between East & West after WW2>. Italy has only existed since 1861. USA in its current 50 state form since 1959. Heck. Poland didn’t exist for 100 years in the 1800s when it was part of Germany/Austria/Russia. Countries evolve and devolve. I believe we are in a devolution phase. Where will it happen next? I do not know. But I predict it will <or begin to> in 2013.

–          Purge of the politicians

I believe it is going to be a very bad year to be a politician in a western country in 2013. Mostly because of what I just wrote <power of the people> and also because … well … they have shown no indication they can do what is right to date. And with pressure from people? I cannot envision their lives getting any easier.  From Argentina to the US to Germany to Spain … people are sick of politicians and their ineffectiveness. At some point politicians will have to step up and explain to people why they are worthy of representing people … or they will be purged … or just become irrelevant.

Which leads me to my last prediction … about a new breed of leaders.

–          The rise of leaders

I do believe it is going to be a great, not good, year for new leaders. Now. We may not recognize them as true leaders in 2013 but I envision 2013 as the year our next generation of great leaders will arise from the turmoil.

I believe I will call this new leadership group … the sifters. They will have the ability to sift through the loud voices, the silent voices and their peer’s voices … and decide what is right … and do it <whether it is ‘popular’ or not>. For example … in the USA it is going to be the ones who stand up and go “we need to raise taxes <on everyone not just the wealthy> and we need to make spending cuts and we need to revamp entitlement programs and we need to regulate businesses until they can prove they can be trustworthy and we need to make government departments accountable … or we eliminate them.” Basically we will find a new group of young leaders who will explain common sense … even if it is some unpopular common sense … and tell people the truth … and do what needs to be done.

This is going to happen not only in the USA but also France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and a number of other ‘developed countries.’

This is one prediction I will put money on.

We may not reap the full benefits of this group for another 5 to 10 years but I believe we will look back on 2013 as the year of the rise of the great leaders.

I purposefully ended my 2013 predictions with that last one on leaders. And I did so as I circle back to how I started this post … globally we will take a step up on the ladder to an everlasting soul.

I believe 2013 will be a very good year for our global soul. Will it be easy? Nope. Because nothing as important as this ever is. But collectively we are grasping the concept of global citizenship. That doesn’t mean we will think less ‘nationally’ but rather we are beginning to understand the fact our individual actions impact the global community more and more.

When we speak there is someone miles and miles away who hears.

When we act our actions echo in far corners of places we cannot even pronounce the name of.

When we listen we hear wisdom from places we never knew had wise people.

We have a ways to go but I do believe we will take a step up on that ladder in 2013.

Enlightened Conflict