2011: The Cliffhanger
New Years’ is always a time of reflection and looking forward. I find myself reflecting back several years, rather than on just this past one. It’s as if these last few years can’t be separated from the hum-dinger that was 2011. To me, they feel like plot-thickening paragraphs in the last chapter of “Humanity 1.0: The Old World,” and 2011, the cliffhanger that set the stage for the sequel, “Humanity 2.0: The New World.” Taken together, they’ve been quite the page-turner, leaving us in anxious (if not eager) anticipation of what’s next.
We are the Main Characters
I also find it harder and harder to separate my own personal journey from the larger one humanity is experiencing. I see the journey from “Humanity 1.0” to “Humanity 2.0” as just a super-size version of the personal one many of us are experiencing in our own lives, where we feel compelled to recreate ourselves in response to our rapidly changing world. Or, in response to an evolutionary impulse to rapidly change our world, whichever the case may be. My sense is that for many of us, it’s a little bit of both.
2012: The Sequel
It feels like the final paragraphs of “Nancy 1.0: The Old World” coincide with those that culminate humanity’s “1.0” story, with 2011 as the cliffhanger, and 2012 as the sequel, where the story of 2.0 is written as it is lived—for me and for all of us. My sense is that the “2.0” version of ourselves is what will bring forth the New “2.0” World, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that Nancy 2.0 will be right there in the thick of it.
Your Journey, My Journey, Our Journey
With all this in mind, my year-end reflections go back a few years and weave humanity’s journey—your journey and mine—together, and look to 2012 as a book we’ll write together. As co-authors of our future, I hope you’ll read on!
"Oh, Nan. It Ain't that Bad."
Years ago, when I started this endeavor to assemble a viable way for us to create a whole New World together, people thought I was crazy. I can certainly understand why. Things at that time were not perfect, but not nearly “bad enough” to warrant such a bold approach. At the time, individual crises appeared sporadically, like popcorn does just as it starts popping. For many in the U.S., these occasional headlines were simply “blips” on our flat screen TVs. These blips seemed manageable, within the capacity of our current systems and structures to handle. Surely, we could just touch things up around the edges, right? At the time, most people felt that a few tweaks in the system, the right policy, or a bold, charismatic leader might do the trick and get things “back to normal.”
And yet, there I was, blathering on about the need to create a whole New World—for us to live in fundamentally new ways, do a whole new body of work together, in a whole new way, in whole new space—without the limitations of the very systems that got us into the mess in the first place. Of course, I live out in the sticks, and don’t exactly have Oprah on speed-dial, so more cows than people actually heard me She's Gonna Blow!
I’d started by this point an intense process of connecting to, extracting, and organizing what seemed like a vast wholeness of information stored inside me. At times, this process was exhilarating. At others, it was excruciating. Trying to translate a huge formless body of knowledge into form, energy into understanding, and understanding into words, pictures, and activities was like trying to drink an ocean with a cocktail straw—too much volume through too little a conduit. This process would eventually produce the Architecture for Creating the New World™, but at the time, it was all still forming. Between the process itself and a world that seemed to be screaming for what I was in the process of creating, it was all I could do to keep my head from exploding.
Meanwhile, even though I could see the world’s hair was on fire and its rear end was catching, and even though I was actively putting puzzle pieces together, I often agreed with those who thought I’d gone a little bonkers. After all, the Old World had treated me pretty well. I had no bone to pick with it on a personal level. Why was I spouting off about creating a whole New World when the one we had seemed to be chugging along just fine? And, as an ordinary gal, how could I possibly believe I could make a difference at that scale? As my father reminded me, my task was a bit like bailing water out of the Titanic with a teacup.
Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde
To me, bailing the Titanic with a teacup made more sense than rearranging its deck chairs, which is what I saw happening all around me. All the same, I questioned myself mercilessly. I toggled between feeling like I could change the world and feeling like the only thing I was capable of changing was my underwear. I alternatively felt I was either insane in a sane world or sane in an insane world. Either way, I felt like a square peg in a world of round holes. Despite the world’s skepticism and my own, I kept plugging away.
During this time, I wasn’t the only one acting bonkers. The world was going quite mad, from the looks of things. Violence was being used to create peace, scarcity was produced in the pursuit of abundance, fear was preferable over joy, and oppression was practiced while freedom was preached. The “popcorn” of crises began to pop faster and faster, stretching our world’s systems beyond anything they were designed for. “Solutions” offered from existing thought and institutions became bigger problems than the situation that precipitated them.
Then, in 2011, all hell broke loose.
One huge event after the other occurred. One global crisis after the other—economic, political, social, and environmental. Individually, each of these situations is significant. Collectively, they’re profound. Strung together, the events of 2011 represent the last chapter of “Humanity 1.0: The Old World.” One by one, the systems, structures, and institutions of our 1.0 world have shaken, buckled, and crumbled under their own weight. Political, economic, social, and religious structures we’ve trusted and considered immutable revealed themselves as untrustworthy and unsteady as the doors of secrecy flung open and the light of day illuminated what was really there.
What Big Teeth You Have.
There, beyond the façade of the great halls of power and beneath the veneer of tailored suits and rhetoric, “We, the People” glimpsed the greed, lies, violence, and oppression that has lurked undetected in the deep, dark corners of our world’s systems and in our own collective consciousness. Indeed, we saw a reflection of a world of our own creation that no longer serves us. We saw a reflection of our collective thoughts, words, and deeds looking back at us and realized we no longer liked what we saw. People everywhere took to the streets.
No More Pretending.
Just as toothpaste cannot be put back in the tube, knowledge gained cannot be unknown. We can’t pretend we haven’t seen what we saw and experienced what we experienced. We can’t pretend our world is working or that we don’t know it must be recreated. We can’t pretend that our current systems and structures are capable of taking us forward—otherwise, they would be. We can’t pretend that the New World can be created in the same spaces, with the same consciousness, in the same ways that created the old one. We can’t pretend we can do what we’ve always done and expect different results—as individuals or as nations.
Suddenly, in 2011, the need for something fundamentally new became apparent to more people than ever before—enough to begin the world-building process. Humanity now sees it can go no further on its old 1.0 operating system, and because of this, neither can I. Humanity has been delivered to its cliffhanger, and because of this, so have I.
Radical: The New Rational.
This was the year the need for a locally autonomous, globally coherent world-building movement in which “We, the People” literally create a world that reflects our deepest truths and highest aspirations as human beings caught up with the design I’d been working on for just that purpose. Suddenly, the “radical” approach I’d developed became the most rational thing we could possibly do. And so, 2012 is the year Nancy 2.0 will share it with the world.
Time now to close the book on 2011, on the Old World, our old selves, and our old ways of being. We are all authors of the sequel that is 2012. Let’s make it a book of peace, abundance, joy, and freedom for us all, and a bestseller we simply can’t put down.