To shape the future we must know how we got to where we are and get an idea of where we’re heading if we choose to do nothing at all.
Western civilization has several cultural layers or narratives about who we are. Each layer involves different parts of our culture and evolves through a process of “current mainstream” creating anomalies that become subcultures. One of these subcultures eventually gains momentum and becomes the new mainstream. I call this process time pendulums, and it has been a very precise tool for predictions since I developed it 15 years ago.
These are the seven layers I use the most:
- Pendulum of trends
- Pendulum of ideals
- Pendulum of economic paradigm
- Pendulum of religion
- Pendulum of argumentation
- Pendulum of conflicts
- Traditionalism – pre-modernism – modernism – postmodernism - metamodernism
A sneak peek from the trend pendulum
Mainstream 2010-2020: Depression, unemployment, riots; negative focus. Collapses in many “big structures” such as national economies, financial sectors, corporations, trade networks. Distrust in supranational institutions.
Subculture: Authenticity, engagement in local communities, grow your own produce, sharing and creating smaller networks, creating independent currencies and economies, activism.
Mainstream 2020-2030: New creativity, focus on collaboration, environment, ecology and ethics; positive focus and building up, rather than tearing down.
Subculture: A coming together of groups that were self-absorbed/-centered earlier and a new global sense of community. An ability to see the value in “the other” and in pluralism / the coming together of particularisms / the appreciation of difference and diversity. (If for no other reason than because too much local focus becomes claustrophobic.)
That was just scratching the surface
To get the full picture and to understand the patterns well enough to be able to navigate safely through the coming 10-20 years, we need to count in the historical perspectives and look at all seven layers at once.
We also need to know about human evolution, how our brains work and why we behave the way we do. Because the future depends on it.