“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D Roosevelt
Economic historian Karl Polanyi called the emergence of our modern, industrialized world, The Great Transformation. And back in the late nineteen century, when modern culture first began developing, I’m sure it did seem pretty great.
Today, despite the fact that half the world lives in poverty and both the economy and environment are melting, there are many who would argue that modernism is still working. Those people can not be faulted as they are simply doing “the human thing”; they are clinging to the known past in fear of the unknown future.
But there are some who are shouting from the rooftops, pointing towards the future and joyously proclaiming that the new great transformation is upon us. And that the recent economic meltdown is even more evidence that we need to adapt. Or die.
“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place”
Every day our economy inches further away from the old industrial system based upon raw materials towards the new creative economy based upon human talent and ideas. More people than ever before are being afforded the opportunity to do creative work for a living. In fact, in the U.S. alone, there are now more creative workers – from architects to engineers to artists to lawyers – than there are traditional blue-collar workers.
As this transformation continues, our values – the way we work, the way we spend our time, our lifestyles and leisure, where we live and how we see our self – are changing in response. We are becoming more tolerant, more open and more driven to create the world we desire.
Creativity requires looking beyond the dollar to solve problems. Creativity requires you to seek what is inside yourself. It requires examination and awareness of your inner self; your ideas, passions and values. Encouraging this awareness in every person creates a great possibility for economic prosperity as well as the fuller development of human potential.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”
And now, as the world seems to fall deeper into our self-made hole filled with economic depression, ecological calamities, and social strife, human creativity is all the more important. Nothing other than human creativity will provide us with the means to adapt and survive. In a time of deep societal unrest it has always been the creative minority who trust forward with solutions.
“None of us are as smart as all of us”
Poverty, global warming, overpopulation, AIDS, every global issue has a better chance of being solved today than ever before. The old way of thinking, the thinking that created these issues, is slowly dissipating. We cannot solve today’s problems with the same thinking that created them. And we aren’t.
Our changing economy is the proof. It holds the evidence of where our future is heading. Our wealth will be measured in minds not money. And the more minds that are encouraged to flourish and grow, the smarter we will become collectively and better the global solutions we can provide.