Unglued - A previously glued tight world is falling apart
Buckle up: you are in for quite a ride. Why? because work, jobs, politics, religion, society and everything we have become accustomed to the past 200 years has all become unglued.
Learn why we’ve all become unglued, what the new Conceptual Age is about, and the death of jobs, work and society as we know it.
Don’t look now but the world has become totally unglued. A previously glued tight world is falling apart daily. The problems we face today are due to the modern fact that the Industrial Manufacturing Age has become a thing of the past. We no longer live glued together as societies in an organized, compartmentalized, structuralized, quantified, hierarchal thinking world.
That world was ruled by left brains. Left brain compartmentalized thinking started in the Industrial Age and has carried through to the Technology Age. For two centuries we have devalued right brain, open, creative, cooperative, collaborative, imaginative, conceptualizing thinking. And, we have devalued right brain activities and right brain creative thinkers.
The Industrial age required everyone to become a cog in the wheel of the Industrial Machine. We had to think the same in order to assembly line manufacture things. We taught our kids to think a certain way and to act a uniform certain way. Free thinkers were ridiculed and tossed aside as they threatened the status quo of control, control, control. Control was needed and it served a purpose. Left brain thinking allowed everything to fit and be acted as a glue to hold society together.
But the Industrial Manufacturing Age is over. We have moved forward into a new era. The world has dramatically shifted and changed. It seems like everything is collapsing or falling apart. There is little order. Society has become “unglued” We are no longer mindless complying cogs in the wheel. We have become free thinkers. While politicians, business executives and the media have been sleeping a new age for mankind has arrived. The Creative right brain age, or as I and others call it the Conceptual Age has dawned.
In this new Conceptual Age, creative thinkers, right brainers; not left brainers will dominate this world, just as the left brainers did since the Industrial age up to today. This is not hype…this is the new world. We are not manufacturers today. We are creators and conceptualizers. The left brain compartmentalized, structuralized, quantified, hierarchal, thinking that was needed in Industrial Manufacturing Age thinking is a detriment to the new Conceptual Age.
Where before MBA’s, programmers, lawyers and accountants were the king pins, now imaginers, inventors, designers, storytellers, authors, writers, synthesizers and big picture thinkers and doers will now be the world’s shapers and leaders. Left brainers will not go totally away, but Conceptualizers, right brainers will now move up the top rung of the ladder to create and transform our future.
Creativity and Conceptualization will be the new age. I want to quote Daniel Pink as he said it quite elegantly. “For nearly a century, Western society in general and American society in particular, has been dominated by a form of thinking and an approach to life that is narrowly reductive and deeply analytical. Ours has been the age of the “knowledge worker” the well-educated manipulator of knowledge and deployer of expertise. But that is changing. Thanks to an array of forces — material abundance that is deepening our nonmaterial yearnings, globalization that is shipping white-collar work overseas, and powerful technologies that are eliminating certain kinds of work altogether — we are entering a new age.”
Alan Greenspan, former chairman of America’s Federal Reserve Board, recognized the role of conceptual creativity as early as 1997 in a speech at the University of Connecticut when he said “The growth of the conceptual component of output has brought with it accelerating demands for workers who are equipped not simply with technical know-how, but with the ability to create, analyze, and transform information and to interact effectively with others.”
For the past two centuries the Manufacturing Age shaped every facet of society. In the 21st century however economic growth and personal wealth and well-being will depend on how one makes use of the scientific and psychological advances and knowledge that has emerged in understanding ourselves, and the world.
Using knowledge and technology and creatively doing something with it to better our lives and our world is the art and science of the Conceptual Age. Think Apples “I Phone” versus Bell South’s telephone. Creative industries have become increasingly important to economic well-being with proponents suggesting that “human creativity” is the ultimate economic resource for the post Technology Age. Industries of the twenty-first century will depend increasingly on the marriage of knowledge and creativity for innovation.
Conceptual Creative Industries presently comprise the following 11 categories. Architecture, Arts, Advertising, Crafts, Design, Designer Fashion, Film, video and photography, Software, computer games and electronic publishing, Music & visual and performing arts, Publishing and Television & Radio.
None of us can predict what will occur because of this shift to creativity. The good news is this right brain thinking age will help us move from outmoded simplistic solutions to our economic challenges, to deep thinking about the changes society must make on a large-scale to evolve and thrive. We have already passed the tipping point. Change is already upon. It is just below the surface to most, but it will all of a sudden seem to come from nowhere. But it has come from somewhere. And that somewhere, is from the sum total of the way people now think about what is, and what is not important in life.
The conceptual right brain
Let’s talk about Manufacturing Age left brain thinking and Conceptual Age right brain thinking. How many times have you read or been advised to be really successful, or smarter than your competition you need to “Think Outside the Box? It has become such a cliché we have started to almost ignore the advice. Or we agree with it, but “they” don’t tell us how to actually do it!
Well great news…today we want to not only show you how to think outside the box, but tell you why, especially in the Conceptual Age we all now live in, why it is so vitally critical to your emotional and financial well-being that you learn to “think” outside that proverbial box.
So let’s get started. The first question you should be wondering is ‘’what exactly is the box you want me to think outside of? Great left brain question. I just gave you a hint! The box is your brain. Well really half of your brain. The left side of your brain. Thinking outside the box, is thinking outside your left sequential thing brain, thinking with your right conceptual thinking brain.
Ok…. Before we go any further let’s maybe explain just a bit about our left brain and right brain. Your brain, and mine, and everyone else’s brain is absolutely amazing. I use this word literally…Our brains are nothing less than a miracle. How it got here is debated by science and religion, but no one disagrees that our brains are amazing.
Our brains have a complex and elaborate network of 1,000,000,000,000,000 (One Quadrillion) connections that allow us to think, act, talk, breath, eat, love, hate and mow the lawn all at the same time perhaps. Because of our brains we create stories that inspire and deeds that change people lives for the better.
Yet with all the amazing connections it is relatively elegant and simple by design. It is one big mass, divided into two equal halves. The right brain and the left brain. The bridge that connects the two halves is called the corpus callosum, a thick bundling of 300 million nerve fibers. Kind of like all those wires bundled under your desk connecting your computer with your printer. Anyway, your left brain reasons sequentially and therefore it’s great at analysis of numbers and words. Your magical right brain reasons holistically, recognizes patterns and interprets non word emotions and expressions.
To my way of thinking the left brain handles problems with a one size fits all ax, while the right brain approaches it with a discerning scalpel. They both work lightning fast, and in most times together, but the left leads first at least in modern society. Oh, but that is changing…we’ll get into that piece soon however. An interesting thing is that the brain halves are what they call “contralateral”. Each half of your brain controls the opposite sides of your body. Frankly I am not sure why, but it works that way. God’s joke I guess?
The left brain controls the right side of your body. The right brain controls the left side of your body. Another difference is that the left brain is the alphabet brain as it processes reading, sounds and symbols. That is why the left brain is good at recognizing sequential events or solving sequential problems like math or serial behaviors and skills like being a lawyer, programmer or CPA.
The right side to me…perhaps because I am more right brain than left and clearly bias… does not march in a row. It can figure things out by immediately seeing patterns in what others see as a bunch of separate unrelated facts. Your right brain forte is ‘seeing” many things at once. Seeing all the elements of a problem, synthesizing them and coming up with an answer that satisfies all the separate needs. The right brain is best at interpreting faces and emotions, but not suited for remembering long rows of numbers for instance.
In my case I while I have a hard time remembering names, I never forget a face…including the one my wife gave me 5 years ago when I looked puzzled at her new hair color. Daniel H. Pink in his great book, “A Whole New Mind” said it aptly and with humor. “Think of the sequential/simultaneous difference like this: the right hemisphere brain is the picture: the left hemisphere brain is the thousand words.”
Additionally, your right brain is made to synthesize the big picture, while the left brain is made to analyze the details and take action immediately. While this is a generality, men use their left brain more where women use their right brain more. Men will think the answer to war is to build a bomb…and quickly use it. Women will consider all available options, take their time and shoot for peace talks instead. Again, just my view.
Now despite the fact our right brain and left brain are very different, both halves were designed to be used together like a great symphony. If just the left side or just the right side of a symphony plays it sounds terrible. Both halves of our brains need to work harmoniously together if we want to be fully human.
The left brain that is logical, sequential, literal and analyzing needs to work and be balanced by the right brain that is best at synthesizing, recognizing emotions and patterns, subtle context and seeing the big picture solution to a life or business problem. We cannot have whole happy and healthy lives or live together in a similar world unless we use the right and left brain.
Let’s recap. Unglued. A previously glued tight world is coming apart at the seams. The political, economic, religious, terrorist, racial, educational and global problems we face today are due to the seemingly sudden disappearance of the world as we knew it. It wasn’t perfect but at least it was uniform and predictable. This becoming unglued of a stable society and known world has come about because of the end of the two century reign of the Industrial Manufacturing Age. We are no longer bound or glued together as a society. The world is no longer structurally organized, compartmentalized, quantified, and hierarchical thinking any longer.
The left brain compartmentalized thinking started that came to be in the Industrial Age and has carried through to the Technology Age is now less in need. We now need people who think different. We now need Conceptualizers. We now need right brain thinkers. The big problem we seem to suddenly be facing is we have an abundance of left brainers and a real shortage of right brainers. Why? For the past two centuries of the Industrial Manufacturing Age we have devalued right brainers. We have not wanted outside the box thinking. We wanted followers not creators.
As we said the Industrial age machine required everyone to become a cog in the wheel of the vast Industrial machine. We had to think the same in order to rapidly assembly line manufacture things. We taught our kids to think a certain way. To not challenge authority but to comply to it. To be like machines and to perform in a uniform way. Free thinkers were ridiculed and tossed aside like broken toys as they threatened the status quo of control, control, control. Standards of control was needed and it served a purpose. It kept the cogs moving and producing. Left brain thinking made sure everything fit. Conformity, certainty and customary acted as a glue to hold society together.
But what has glued societies around the world the past centuries has dissolved. The over two centuries of the Industrial Manufacturing Age is over. Just as society became unglued when it shifted from the Hunter Gatherer Age to the Agricultural Age. Then became unglued again when it shifted from the Agriculture to the Industrial Age we are also becoming unglued as we shift into the Conceptual Age.
We see it and we sense it. Everything is collapsing or falling apart. There is little order. Society has become “unglued”. That’s both good news and bad news. The bad news is all shifts in society cause great pain at first. We are never prepared for the dislocations and disruptions of new technology. It will take a while to first even accept the shift. Then it will take time to think differently. Then it will take time for learning the language and adapting to the new reality. But eventually It will happen. We will adjust and we will move forward. Society and life never goes back. It also never stays the same. Change and growth forward is the structure of the Universe.
The good news is we are no longer mechanical, heartless and mindless complying cogs in the manufacturing machine. We can be free thinkers. We can become human beings instead of simply human doings. While politicians, business executives and the media have been trapped by closed thinking, a new age, a hopefully more human age has arrived. The “Conceptual Age” has dawned. In the Conceptual Age we will advance in medicine, neuroscience, transportation, wellness and yes, coming together. While the work, religious, political and social disruptions will be hard, humanity will shift ever forward. In the meantime, however buckle up: you are in for quite a ride.
- Steven Monahan is an Author, Artist and Animal Welfare leader. His books are The One Thing 66 Day Workbook, Chasing Love, The Art of Dance Art of Life and Rescue Renew Rehome. Learn more at his website at StevenMonahan.com