Disclaimer: This post will be somewhat "philosophical". Don't expect anything about technology, engineering, leadership, cloud, or even behavioral psychology. What is it about then? My initial thought (when it was still an idea, not yet put on paper) that depicts it quite nicely was "a letter to my daughter" ...


My dear daughter.
I can't tell for sure.
But I'm afraid I may have some bad news for you ...

History isn't all about fairy tales that actually happened. It's a nearly infinite reservoir of knowledge - one can learn a lot from the mistakes and accomplishments of past generations. One of the most important lessons is about nothing being forever - empires do keep rising and falling all the time. The latter is inevitable, even if at some point it may appear unthinkable (ask Romans ...).

The reasons for this periodicity can be briefly described with the following citation:

"Hard times create strong men.
Strong men create good times.
Good times create weak men.
And, weak men create hard times."
-- G. Michael Hopf,  "Those Who Remain"

Even someone like myself - a history enthusiast, but a layman - doesn't have any difficulty bringing up examples that confirm the pertinence of these four sentences. Catastrophes do not come w/o a reason, out of the blue.

We, humans, are very resourceful and resilient when facing hardships. What doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger. But we also tend to easily fall into complacency and get addicted to convenience, even hedonism. What drives us forth is hunger, desire, ambition, curiosity. But once we reach a certain level of comfort, ...


I consider myself a member of Western civilization. Some do call it "Latin", or "European" one. It's ancient, has deep roots in Christianity (I won't deny that even if I'm an agnostic atheist myself), and has a very complicated history (you know: we didn't use to love each other much in the past, here in Europe). But it's definitely a single civilization, regardless of the differences between various nations.

Being a conscious, highly-aware individual, I can't resist asking myself that question:

"Where is my civilization now? What stage is it at today? What can the next generation expect?"

Maybe it will sound odd, but this question mainly bothers me because all my life ... things were continuously (& visibly) getting better.

I mean - I was born under the communist regime, but it has fallen ten years later (and frankly, at its sunset, it was far from the atrocities of its early days). All I remember was progress and development. Year by year, the standard of living was rising (not just for myself and my family, but the whole society - at least in my perception). There were no wars (in our region of the world). Streets became safe even in the middle of the night. Constraints and barriers were falling one after another.

In fact, one could simply forget that it was not always like that. That not so long time ago, there were world wars, famine, hyperinflation, skyrocketing unemployment. So, as everything is apparently so well, things will only keep improving?
Right?
RIGHT?


If you expect a clear answer (on where are we in this historical cycle of strength and weakness), I won't dare to speak my opinion aloud. Or even write it down here openly.

I can only share the observations (about the state of our civilization) that worry me a lot:

  • our primary way of self-expressing these days is making a photo of ourselves, typically imitating a kiss (so-called "selfie")
  • most prominent authorities, whose opinions make the biggest impact, are those who gained popularity by shocking others, exhibitionism, dazzling sexuality, pushing the boundaries of their definition of personal liberty further than anyone before
  • main topics in our daily news headlines are about two genders being not enough, or that someone has been identified by a pronoun she/he/whatever doesn't like (anymore)
  • scientific proof is not enough a winning argument in a debate

At the same time:

  • our production industry has been pretty much eradicated - we rely on supply chains leading straight to countries like China: autocratic, with their own agenda, who do not share the same, democratic values (which are essential as a common foundation for our civilization)
  • we'd rather rewrite the past (following the recent, apologetic kind of narration) instead of solving problems that are vivid and still lying ahead
  • the matters we care about most are purely about our everyday convenience: the idea of a 4-day-long workweek, working remotely, 1-click ordering & same-day delivery, personalized recommendation feeds, etc. (regardless of the price to be paid)
  • the word 'truth' has lost its original meaning - it doesn't have to be backed with facts, but beliefs and enough 'clicks'

My dear daughter.
I can't tell for sure.
But I'm afraid I may have some bad news for you ...