Convergence of 30 Disabling Global Trends
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 23 July 2012
by Anthony Judge – TRANSCEND Media Service
Mapping the Social Climate Change Engendering a Perfect Storm
In a period characterized by a global crisis of crises, there is a case for exploring any means of articulating the set of those crises and the possibilities for their comprehension as a system. The following exercise identifies 30 trends which inhibit the capacity to engage effectively with those crises and which together constitute a dangerous system.
The exercise follows from related mapping efforts (Mind Map of Global Civilizational Collapse: why nothing is happening in response to global challenges, 2011; Map of Systemic Interdependencies None Dares Name: 12-fold challenge of global life and death, 2011; Mapping Paralysis and Tokenism in the Face of Potential Global Disaster: why nobody is about to do anything effective and what one might do about it, 2011; Mapping the Global Underground, 2010).
Of particular concern is the tendency to consider that there is far too much “bad news” and that the quest should be to set it aside as much as possible and focus on the “good news” offering hope for the future. Problematic trends do however provide a form of focus whose nature is more readily recognized than the greater subtlety of remedial possibilities. The question, as with the previous exercises, is whether any kind of systemic “holding pattern” can be elaborated from such a set of trends through which to engage more coherently with them. This could then offer insights into the nature of a possible holding pattern for a complementary set of remedial, corrective trends. This was the ambition of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.
The exploration here assumes that the binary juxtaposition of complementary “negative” and “positive” patterns is necessary but insufficient. It can however be used to frame investigation of possibilities of interweaving these two patterns as a means of eliciting insight into a more complex system which characterizes the dynamics from which more fruitful understanding could be engendered. The “holding patterns” together might then provide a more comprehensible “holding platform” on which initiatives of the future could be designed. The emphasis on a need for comprehension of system dynamics is the reason for which some experimental animations are included.
Use is made of the meteorological metaphor whereby current crises are often compared to hurricanes. This suggests that the understanding of their dynamic complexity could be used to distinguish the contrasting “cyclones” and “anti-cyclones” of the northern and southern hemispheres of social “climate change”. It could then be asked whether some form of “rotation” should be recognized with respect to the viability of the sociosphere (and the noosphere) — as being vital to their sustainability.
As with the previous exercises, the following checklist is a tentative clustering of trends which have been variously recognized by many. It makes no claim to be “complete” and “definitive”, nor is it necessarily as balanced as might prove to be appropriate. The articulation could be much improved. It could be subject to extensive refinement and fine tuning, adding or eliminating items and improving their wording. A justification for isolating a set of 30 trends is indicated in the light of the cybernetic work of Stafford Beer.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.