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Efiong Etuk

Founding Director, Global Creativity Network

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The threats to civilization are too daunting for humanity to continue to hold onto obsolete self-perceptions that no longer serve us well

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the dreadful situation the world is facing is not because the modern crises are impossible to solve; but because we have not yet developed, or found, appropriate conceptual framework for understanding and for tackling them. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, also, the modern crises are not “economic crisis,” “social crisis,” “political crisis,” or “environmental crisis,” per se. They are not separate crises, either. As such, they are not likely going to be resolved within the framework of the prevailing understandings.

A body of data no one thought and no one knew existed identifies the modern crises as, fundamentally, a “creativity crisis.” This is the inability of the vast majority of people to develop and to engage their natural abilities in significant and beneficial social and ecological actions and, resultantly, the global and spreading epidemic of meaninglessness of which most psychological, social, economic, political, and environmental crises are the symptoms or facets. Close examination of the data also challenge widely accepted beliefs that humans are inherently self-interested, competitive, adversarial, materialistic, and consumption-driven. Analysis of the data further suggests that many of the difficulties the world has been experiencing might be rooted in inadequate and misleading concepts we have created about ourselves and the institutional framework and operational relationships that have been erected on those concepts.

To the extent that this conclusion is valid, the best hope of resolving the modern crises is, first, to correct the misleading views we hold about ourselves and, second, to conform our economic, social, and political decisions and actions to our authentic nature as humans.

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  • Nov 2 2013: In past civilizations there was a vast array of self perceptions which would be totally alien to ourselves.

    eg Generations dedicated their lives to building pyramids.

    There are plenty of examples of past ideologies with those who lived through them, with our hindsight, having been wildly irrational. I expect there always will be a shift, a flux to the way we see ourselves as we react to the changes and the challenges which we face as a species. Now we address consumerism and the knock on issues of environment and distribution. We change, we fix, and move on to the next challenge.

    Going sci fi here, in 1000yrs time we are hurtling through the universe somehow guiding a conquested sun and utopian planet through galaxies in search of a communicating star. We have issues of keeping the regenerating population healthy in order to reach the goal which may be a few generations of time away!

    Just a bit of fun there but you see we will be re-identifying ourselves in the future as we have done in the past.

    At the moment the idea of having to change our ideology in the face of unfair distribution and environmental concerns is a valid debate. Its my view that responsibility must be encouraged by developing an online ethical reputation system, similar to TED electronic reputation scheme. Ethical reputations can be built by consuming environmentally efficiently while producers can build their scored ethical reputations by delivering on the objectives of the consumers. see my full essay on www.goviralbaby.com
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      Nov 2 2013: Greetings, Conor:

      I apologize for the delay in responding to your comments. My email notification did not show your post until this afternoon.

      Thank you so very much for sharing not only your wit and wisdom but, equally important, your humor. Your comments remind me of the old adage: “Many a true word is spoken in jest.”

      Sadly, I am not a big enough fan of sci-fi to comment meaningfully on that part of your post. So, please, pardon my ignorance, and permit me to skip to the next part.

      The “ethical reputation system” that your wisdom has proposed strikes a vital chord; and you can count on my discipleship. The more I travel the world, the more urgent it seems to me. I also believe the crises and tumult we are currently experiencing are the “birth-pangs” of the delivery or realization of that system. How else could we explain the spontaneous emergence of so many social and ecological movements around the world – all, in one way or another, advocating or converging on basically the same ethical principles and goals as you have so well articulated!

      Tit for tat: I return fun for fun regarding the “ethical reputation system” you have proposed. A world famous philosopher and psychologist once suggested that humans could achieve the really important goals of life (human happiness and fulfillment) constructively through self-denial. He suggested, for example, getting into contest to see who could do without more creature comforts, who could endure more hardship than the next man/woman, who could make the most personal sacrifice for the greater good.

      Sounds utopian? Not exactly. Yesterday it may have been optional; today, it is becoming increasingly importnat; tomorrow, it could be an imperative!

      Best regards,

      Efiong Etuk

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