“Industrial prosperity has reached its limit. Stagnation, decline, impoverishment and a general kind of misery mark the end of an era of one model of growth. A great reconfiguration of the global economy is inevitable.” – Umair Haque
What I interpret Haque as saying is twofold; 1.) We are living from a 20th century model. 2.) To steal a phrase from President Obama, we can’t “win the future” from there.
Haque does us all a favor by sketching the way forward in his Harvard Business Review column, but as evidenced by the budget debate, we’re not taking notice.
The problem is that Haque is part of a minority, a growing minority of which I’m a part, but a minority all the same. The rest of America lives aspirationally. They’re indoctrinated by marketers and DO want everything bigger, faster, cheaper, and nastier. To them, a quarter pounder with cheese is a tasty meal, and this observation is helpful since it exposes the average American’s limited contact with hearty sustenance; slow cooked stews, hand crafted salads, and knuckle kneaded breads.
Their senses have been deadened by a hypervocal and bratty consumer culture that thwarts their inborn connection with themselves and their tribe. They don’t know what it means to be truly fulfilled anymore so it’s difficult, damn near impossible, for anyone to point them in the direction of pathways that will take them there.
The difficulty in focusing their attention on the damage done by the bailouts and horde culture lies in the “me too” vantage point from which they view all dilemmas. You can’t critique someone who has a lot of stuff because the average Joe or Jane will robotically respond, I want that “too” or I would do that “too” if I had the money or the power. It’s an aspirational life lived from the perspective of someone who wants to be something else, someone who is living a life imagined, but not someone who owns the life they’re actually living.
You can’t very well convince someone to re-imagine a life well lived if they are totally immersed in an illusory world. Simply put, we must merge with our true selves before we can build the honest life that leads to a valuable life. We’re not there yet. But Umair Haque is helping us map the way forward.
- Umair Haque interviewed by Thinkers50 (serve4impact.com)