Money has no intrinsic value. As we enter this new age brought on by the Internet, our conditioned mind is now being confronted by this new paradigm as we reinvent new ways of doing business and move through life.
American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler describes this new paradigm in his latest book, “Revolutionary Wealth”, as the “Fourth Wave”. But there are even earlier “prophecies” that told of this new age dawning. Take your pick. The ancient Mayas predicted this new beginning in their ancient Maya Calendar and specifically dated it to begin on December 21, 2012. The ancient Hindu Yugas also prophetically forecasted this new era, charting out the end of a long descent of human consciousness, of which its lowest point in its 24,000-year cycle has just been surpassed, followed now by the beginning ascent of a new consciousness—in short, a rebirth. And then there is the new Age of Aquarius, leaving behind the 2,000-year-old Age of Pisces.
President Clinton seemed to have coined the phrase the "Information Age” when he often interjected it into talks about the future of the U.S. It amazes me that even today, a decade later, the U.S. media still talks about the “future” of the blue collar worker, as it strives to find new solutions to something that is ending. It’s as if the national media has regressed during the past ten years, refusing to accept the new paradigm presented. And probably for good reason for, in some ways, this type of media is also part of the past. WikiLeaks has given us a glimpse of this future as the traditional mass media is phased out as a manipulating but dying middleman.
In Toffler’s best known book “The Third Wave”, published in 1980, it described a post-industrial society transitioning into an age where information becomes the central focus to doing business. As I read it in the late '80s, I began to base my future upon its ideas, as I refocused my attention on what I saw happening around me. If there was any one message of the book that clobbered me more over the head, it was that blue collar careers were quickly becoming extinct. The way we did work was being replaced by a whole new paradigm. No longer were we just making products, but we were making a business out of information. Back then, the details of how it would take place were not so clear. But now I see it all around me.
So when Toffler recently published his latest book “Revolutionary Wealth”, I paid great attention to his future forecast in what he now calls the “Fourth Wave”, preceded by the First Wave (agrarian age), Second Wave (industrial revolution), and Third Wave (post-industrial, information-based age).
This Fourth Wave is similar to the Third Wave. But Toffler describes the Fourth Wave differently in how money that is exchanged in business is being replaced by a new way of distribution. In both waves, Toffler speaks of a new age replacing manufacturing goods by knowledge-production and information-processing as the primary economic activity. But how we pay for services is becoming much more interesting. Toffler describes how money is being replaced by a non-monetary “prosumer” economy. The book is very involved and difficult to explain, but sufficient for now is that there is a new way of doing things that is being spurred on through the processing of information over the Internet.
From my own experience, I have seen this transition. In the past, I used to belong to a couple of CD clubs. I would get these CDs in the mail and pay no money up front but later would be sent the bill with more CDs … followed by another bill and more CDs. … I returned most of the CDs sent to me, but the choice from their skimpy “catalog”, which was just a glossy one-page brochure, was not much better. In a short period of time, I saw that this business model was not good for me or my wallet, while a collection of CDs piled up and began to gather dust. To make matters worse, most CDs usually only contained about 2 maybe 3 good tracks. The rest of the CD usually was filled with grade B and C songs. Some so bad I had to force myself to listen to them at least one time. The “big three” record companies loved this model. They were charging around $15 for essentially 1-2 songs and had control over the market.
But then came Napster! And overnight, a mammoth record industry became irrelevant.
The same record industry that in 1976 arrogantly deemed Australian AC/DC's legendary "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" album not worthy, and decided not to release it in America, and finally being forced to release it, but five years later in 1981, only after the success of "Back in Black". Until then, Americans were clueless to "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", an album since then that has gone platinum six times! a historic rock album. Massive rocking songs was America completely unaware of, all because of these unknown, invisible controllers of information deciding to deprive us of great moments like this in music, all because they didn't like it themselves, I guess, because it didn't fit the mold of the Bee Gee's ball they were all chasing at the time.
So, when Napster came out, I didn't hesitate one moment to regain my consecrated rights. I remember in 1994 downloading Napster for the first time and never looking back since. My collection of CDs from record clubs has since then gathered dust on a wooden rack, like a time capsule of history. From a new paradigm of peer-to-peer sharing and the MP3 file format, the middleman and his huge overhead costs were taken out. Like many, I simply walked away from that old game, rendering it irrelevant. From that point on, new technologies spawned by the Internet have been rendering old business models irrelevant, one by one.
“I steal music over the Internet” has become the new anthem of those tired of being fed mediocre and stale material by bureaucrats with little vision of a new world beyond their regurgitated, snail-paced crawl. Overnight, these old plutocratic institutes are being brought down like the Berlin Wall. In music, long and foreshadowed independent artists have been coming to the forefront, presenting their tracks online for those looking for something new, and a plethora of new hybrid genres have been exploding. Music once again has become interesting, and now it’s more accessible. With MP3 players, no longer are purchased tapes required to record music … the collapse of another old and stale middleman paradigm that was only taking up space.
Looking back now, clearly a huge log jam that held our collective consciousness captive, was cleared. And this is a good thing! I say this with emphasis because amazingly there are still some who think this is a bad thing. Incidentally, there are still many Russian bureaucrats who are trying and succeeding to some extent in pulling their country back to the old totalitarian communist government of the past. Keep an eye on Russia. It may serve as a warning of how stupid we can become at throwing away a bright future for a tired and stale guaranteed past. Even when change is good, some resist. “Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking.” 1968 French Student Protests.
For the old consciousness, life now is nothing more than the end of the world! And, ironically, they are right. But for the new collective consciousness, these times are wondrous! The old paradigm is coming to an end, but the world will continue on by Infinity's creation, and has already begun to manifest into a greater new epic that others are now realizing.
Money has no intrinsic value. The conditioned mind does not take time to think about this or the absurd money game it is caught up in, eventually leading to an old, antiquated win-lose paradigm. “The difficulty is that we do not make a world of our own but fall into institutions already made and have to accommodate ourselves to them to be useful at all.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. But this, as well as many other once-thought-of obligations to participate in, is a paradigm being left behind.
Human creativity is infinite; money is not. Money is often borrowed and often creates debt and interest. This becomes the huge hole the conditioned mind has found itself in. In short, the old American Dream was to make a lot of money … the new way is to make a great life. The old paradigm is interested in acquiring more things … the new paradigm is interested in acquiring more knowledge and using that knowledge to create new and interesting ways of doing things.
And new ways have been coming, one after another … Amazon … eBay … Monster … Orbitz … YouTube … Skype. … We now live in a new age where old paradigms are being extinguished one at a time. When was the last time you went to a travel agent to plan your trip? Or when was the last time you bought a newspaper solely to look through the job classifieds to eventually mail a resume to a company … or even bought a newspaper for that matter? Now, recruiters call you and resumes are exchanged through emails. Think about the killer application, email. When was the last time you, if ever for many, put a quarter in a public pay telephone, or made a call tethered to a box that hung on a wall. And now you can make nonmonetary phone calls on a mobile device to other countries when it was not so relatively long ago when such a call would have cost a small fortune and would have not been an option for most.
In the new paradigm, users become life-long students, gathering knowledge rather than gathering things that do not serve in providing a better quality of life. Toolboxes of specific software and Web services are created to work for users, rather than users working for things. And these new “students” become willing participants in creatively mashing up new Web services to replace old ways of doing things with new ways.
Take the old paradigm of TV, for example.
In this paradigm, the collective consciousness gathers around cable TV. Here, addicts of greed are hooked on a continuous urge to buy and collect a plethora of things with little thought in how to leverage these things into ways of making a better life, but simply to acquire the thing being pushed and the message being promised.
In the new paradigm, the collective consciousness gathers around the Internet, which is everywhere, 24/7. Here, humans of the new paradigm collect and process knowledge in order to improve existence creatively, freely participating, and on their own terms.
Everywhere you look through the lens of the old consciousness, corporations have taken over. TV has become completely dominated by commercials. Flip through your 200+ channels at any given moment in the day and you will see on the first dozen channels only commercials before you actually see content. An average one-hour program contains more than a third of commercials. Viewers’ attentions are continuously being interrupted by intentionally volume-increased commercials with mostly obnoxious messages that stunt the growth of creativity. Even the few non-commercial channels are full of movies that serve as vehicles to delivering messages of commercialism. It’s no wonder we live in a culture of attention deficit disorder.
Many commercials are nothing more than self-serving messages by corporations bending the collective consciousness to their way of thinking. Take Exxon’s or BP’s “clean energy” commercials that have been running throughout each hour of the day for the past several years—every day! It’s no wonder many people no longer believe 99% of the world’s scientists who say global warming is real and is being caused by humans, since the message viewers are bombarded with by Exxon’s and BP’s propaganda directly conflict with the science. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Joseph Goebbels. Never before in my lifetime have I seen such a disconnect from reality than I have in the past decade! It’s absolutely amazing.
Fortunately, the Internet is replacing the old passive, one-way paradigm with actual participation in the creation of something new, all collaborating around a central mechanism of communication whose possibilities in this endeavor are endless. Not since the invention of the Gutenberg press is the Internet having a greater impact on society. That is a bold statement. The Gutenberg press was invented more than 600 years ago. But you would have had to have been living under a rock for the past two decades to not, at the very least, start to realize this major paradigm shift occurring. And think that the Internet was created just a little over four decades ago and the Web only two decades ago.
We have merely only glimpsed at the beginning impact the Internet will have on civilization! Basically, every aspect of our way of doing things will be affected by this new revolution, and we are just at the beginning. We are lucky ones to have one foot in the past and the other in the future. How interesting our time is. But still there are some that have one foot in the past while resisting putting the other foot into the future. For these, only suffering awaits. Think back to the turn into the last century when horse and buggies shared the same roads with those new fangled automobiles. Then multiply that by ten and you start to have a conception of the times we are living in “to-day”.
It’s a very interesting time in human history. Many things are changing. We see the old consciousness of the past expressing itself in a new way. Now, with fresh new lenses, those that have not made the shift look odd but also teach us how to live in the new paradigm. That celebrity spending $20,000 just for a tent for her wedding becomes absurd, but also, unlike you, you see her still trapped in the old world, not seeing that it is so much more kaleidoscopic in greatness.
And this new consciousness is not part of some grand conspiracy to overthrow capitalism, as some from the old paradigm would want you to believe. And this message will only get louder as they struggle to hold onto their past, refusing to cross that bridge into the 21st Century. This new way is simply walking away from the old way of doing things. “Let the dead bury the dead.” Jesus. The new paradigm does not care about the old paradigm. Nor does it care if the old paradigm continues. The new paradigm is simply becoming in its own right.
I for one embrace this new paradigm of active participation through the Internet wholeheartedly. To me, these are very exciting times. What has developed in a mere two decades is astonishing, but only the beginning. I look forward every new day to see old ways of doing things collapse all around me, to be replaced by new ideas spurred on by the Internet and active participation around it by a truly one-world society. Through all of our active participation, the possibilities are endless.