So what clearly defines an end of an era anyway? 9/11? New leadership? Economic meltdown? Entering uncharted waters? Defining new paths where none have existed?
The information age is upon us, and the New World is defined by the ability to manage information - both harnessed and disseminated; both imagery and data; both perception and reality.
The day has effectively ended when an individual can succeed without the skills to absorb and manage information effectively. In the past era of humanity, a simple mind, a good heart, and a strong set of taught values were the norm - and sufficient. And yet our schools are incapable of teaching these skills....
While community leaders were developed from such stock based on the experience of a lifetime's input, respect was given for the knowledge developed over time, and a leaders ability to discern right from wrong, and use the combination of knowledge and experience wisely to make great and respectable decisions. Such leaders stood out easily in a group with the focus that was given them as they naturally rose to the top.
And then along came Google, and Yahoo, and the knowledge explosion. And suddenly the knowledge in one's head is no longer necessary to be gained from experience, or even intelligent focused research. For the first time in the history of mankind, more knowledge is available to any and every tuned-in human than can ever be absorbed. A simple search of any word or combination of words will turn up thousands to millions of references with every type of use, interpretation, application, example and perversion of such a word or concept. All in such a disorganized and useless fashion that is effectively worthless to the important priority based decision making process. Like noise, information overpowers the important thoughtful planning process that is necessary to strategic management of better plans and ideas.
For the first time ever, even for librarians - it is not a question of where the power is - which is in information - and the use of it - for or against people - it is only a question of how to dissect it, organize it, use it best and preferably most wisely - an important consideration apparently lost on today's governing decision makers.
And now at this critical juncture of information availability and management, we turn the corner into a new world that has never before needed such a new level of uncharted wisdom, and virtue while America's schools have fallen into the morass of infighting, stupidity, self absorption, political correctness (that they do not even know how to define) and blurred focus: completely bereft of all that is valuable and important in the use of all knowledge as they have wandered away (or run away in many cases) from all that is traditionally served as foundational - God, family and values.
This is a new era - which I see most clearly marked with hindsight as the turn of the new millenium - clearly highlighted in retrospect as the fall of 2008 (7 Biblical years after 9/11) with the meltdown of all major world economies and consequently most major governments in terms of maintaining priorities previously defined.
New leadership will no longer be defined by old foundational standards. New leadership will be defined by the ability to manage information and hence perception most effectively. And as has since been proven - without the need for a foundation of experience, new leadership will have no choice but to be both controlling and brutal to maintain superiority. Alternately, and optimistically governance might be overcome by more mature technology with even less skill required for the leadership role. But beware of the autonomy of technological leadership - it threatens....
The real power struggles in the world have become wars of perception control, and the control of the media and information management are two of the main pillars by which control is defined and managed.
We used to warn our children about the enemy because it was clear who they were. It is no longer clear for the majority of the world. Only those anchored enough in those old foundational principles of God, family, and values can have enough insight and discernment to measure the new world against old norms.
Whatever your perception of the future, you can be certain we have entered a new era.