Sunday, January 03, 2010

2020 Vision

Recently I’ve been reading various articles and posts about the famed visionary year of 2020 because, as the writers always point out, it is only ten short years away. Many are asking what we should be doing now in order to be sufficiently poised to usher in that decade prepared for perfect 2020 vision.


My reactions to these imploring “calls to action” run the gamut of considerate contemplation to gut-stirring anger. So I’ve been mulling over why I’ve had such a wide range of emotional responses. Now, I am a huge fan of irony and I have been especially tickled that everyone seems so enamored with the impending year of 2020 as a pivotal point in our culture. 2010 vision is actually sharper than 2020…so the idea of embracing 2020 as the benchmark for achieving perfect vision means our society will have actually experienced loss of vision while moving through this decade.

I just don’t understand the crowds of people wringing their hands over the future like we are all destined to fail. So many discussions like these are tinged with the element of fear and calamity for our future- which leads me to ponder, where is the optimism? Where did the “can do” mentality that our country was founded on go? The human race has been successfully adapting for centuries so why is our view of the future infused with fear and not hope? We hear various proclamations of; we aren’t going to be ready, our schools are failing, other countries will out-perform us in every aspect. I am not here to debate if schools are failing or not; I certainly agree that there are areas for improvement, but schools are achieving success in many ways as well. (This will have to be a topic for a different post) I would propose that part of the problem is directly related to our culture. Some may say our cultural failure is a direct result of years of bad schooling- but I don’t believe there is one culprit in this whole mess. Yes, we do need change and innovation and open minds and equal access for all- but please don’t count me in on simply standing around, wringing my hands, gnashing my teeth and wracking my brains for devising “the cure” for the 2020 benchmark. I say- engage yourself now. Our world continues to turn and all we can guarantee is that today we are all here rolling with it.

We’ve all seen the “did you know” series and we can only speculate on the technologies and jobs that will be available in the future. But we do know all these changes are certainly making the world smaller. I’m not suggesting simply becoming vacuous cows grazing blindly into our future- I’m saying we must all start consciously working towards our collective futures with the understanding of current change, opening our minds to the exponential potential for future changes, and comprehension of and appreciation for the changing world around us. Opportunities abound and the idea that there is only one winner in this world is just wrong and short-sighted. Collaboration is currently a big buzzword in our culture so why wouldn’t we work towards a vision where all humans collaborate ourselves into an innovative and productive collective future where everyone benefits?

Is this possible? Maybe you can write me off as a simpleton, someone who just doesn’t comprehend the complexity or enormity of challenges we face as a nation. Could be you are right. But for me, my 2020 vision is a work in progress starting with today. My vision is one where hope and motivation and engagement reside. I plan to move forward with rational thinking and consciously regard the world around me with my eyes wide open employing 2010 vision.

Is this an adequate plan for tangible long-term goals? Well, the good news is, I’m open to change and reflection on my path and I will strive to be flexible and adaptable. This is a terribly exciting time to be alive and I, for one, am very hopeful about our collective future.