Creating Realities

Tired of Doom and Gloom? What You Can Do Instead

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Narrated by the author.

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The COVID pandemic is the latest horror now added to climate change, authoritarian government, conflict everywhere, and other end-of-the-world threats. The Global Health Security Index recently rated nations at an average of 38.9 points on a scale of 100. They concluded that “every country, including the US, remains dangerously unprepared for…future pandemics.” And a PEW Research Center poll finds that only 17 percent of people in democratic nations are confident in the US as a role model of democracy. No wonder we often feel a sense of doom and gloom. 

I have studied the direction of the world’s crises for years, and my work suggests that a feasible path through this turmoil is possible. What we’ve learned is that the Knowledge Age is now fading as smartphones, social media and artificial intelligence automate knowledge.

Knowledge is still crucial, but the digital revolution is driving the world beyond knowledge into a new frontier governed by emotions, values, beliefs and higher-order subjective thought. This means we are entering an Age of Consciousness. Henry Kissinger wrote in Time: “… what fascinates me is that we are moving into a new period of human consciousness which we don’t yet fully understand.” 

Can Consciousness Be Wrong?

“Consciousness” is usually thought to foster enlightenment, but now we see that it’s a lot more complicated. Just as information can be wrong, consciousness is a vast new domain that can include lies, hate and delusion. The Gutenberg printing press unleashed a flood of information that led to decades of war and the Protestant Reformation. In a similar way, today’s social media has provoked a wave of “post-factual” nonsense, conspiracy theories, climate deniers, vaccination skeptics, political gridlock and other sources of disinformation that pose an existential crisis.

The promising thing is that an Age of Consciousness implies the world could overcome these threats to become a mature civilization. It’s roughly the way teenagers struggle with doubt and confusion before finally becoming responsible adults. In fact, critical trends today seem to be leading toward global maturity.

Hopeful Trends

The Business Roundtable announcement that firms should serve all stakeholders is historic. The New York Times called it a “watershed moment ... that raises questions about the very nature of capitalism.” Leading corporations like IKEA, Nortel and Unilever collaborate with employees, customers, suppliers and governments to solve tough problems and create value for both the company and its stakeholders. 

Larry Fink, who runs the biggest investment firm in the world (Black Rock), directed his companies to address social issues. The McKinsey consulting firm forecasts that business will invest $9 trillion per year alleviating climate problems.  

Other trends are also hopeful. Almost all nations have agreed to impose minimum taxes on corporations avoiding tax evasion. The Black Lives Matter protests are shifting attitudes around the world as young people across the political and racial spectra demand racial justice. The #MeToo movement has empowered women to oust sexual predators. And the pandemic has forced millions to question working conditions, so employers are forming a virtual workplace where employees can do their jobs anywhere if they perform.  

Social Evolution

The shift to an Age of Consciousness is based on careful academic studies and a science-based model of social evolution using historic data supported by abundant evidence. Many of those to whom the research is presented find it reasonable and they welcome the optimism.

Yet others simply cannot accept the possibility of anything good. This inability to believe in positive outcomes is rampant today, and a major reason these crises continue. Negative attitudes themselves can become self-fulfilling prophecies because they discourage action. Doom and gloom are self-defeating. 

Try Faith and Hope 

To find our way through this critical test of civilization, it would help to preserve our faith in the universal forces that have brought us through interminable obstacles. Civilization survived the fall of Rome, the Dark Ages, various plagues, World Wars I and II, and a cold war bristling with nuclear weapons.


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Today, the rebellion of Trump supporters is alarming, but a similar rebellion came from left-wing radicals a few decades ago. During the 1960s, the US was struggling to contain social conflict so severe that it flared up into riots, takeover of public buildings and bombings. That too passed. 

Now it is incumbent to have faith in the powers of social evolution that have proceeded invariably from an Agrarian Age to an Industrial Society to a Knowledge Age, and is now moving to an Age of Consciousness. We also need to draw upon a faith in the redeeming goodness of humanity that drives this evolutionary progress.

If we can find these sources of faith, we can also find the hope that allows us to make bold changes. Otherwise, prepare to face disaster.

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Book by this Author:

BOOK: Beyond Knowledge

Beyond Knowledge: How Technology Is Driving an Age of Consciousness
by William E. Halal.

book cover of Beyond Knowledge: How Technology Is Driving an Age of Consciousness by William E. Halal.The Knowledge Age of the past two decades is passing today as the digital revolution and artificial intelligence replace knowledge work. Halal’s study of social evolution explains how this marks the passage to a new frontier beyond knowledge that is poorly understood – an “Age of Consciousness” is here. But more pandemics, climate change, gross inequality, gridlock and other threats form a “Crisis of Maturity” that is blocking this historic transformation.

This book provides a wealth of evidence and leading examples of an emerging “global consciousness” now driving the world to grow up, resolve this global crisis and develop a sustainable world order – or perish. With foresight and hard work, we could see the triumph of human spirit, once again.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of William E. Halal, PhDWilliam E. Halal, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at George Washington University. Professor Halal has published seven books and his articles have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune, and other major media. He consults to corporations and governments and is a frequent keynote speaker. He was cited by the Encyclopedia of the Future as one of the top 100 futurists in the world. He also served as a major in the US Air Force, an aerospace engineer on the Apollo Program, and a business manager in Silicon Valley.

His new book, Beyond Knowledge: How Technology Is Driving an Age of Consciousness (Foresight Books, August 27, 2021), explores a vision for the next stage of human evolution. Learn more at billhalal.com

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