Steve Jobs famously said we cannot join the dots looking forward, only by looking backwards. And right now, there are an awful lot of dots to join.
There are many potentially significant changes taking place, and we do not know whether they are harbingers of what is to come or temporary phenomena.
Just scanning the news this morning, there are articles on people leaving old jobs requiring commuting, and moving to ones that don’t. The project director of the Olympics opening ceremony resigns one day before it occurs because of comments he made twenty years ago, when we were less aware that everything we do and say will be available in digital perpetuity. Americans are reporting higher levels of wellbeing during the pandemic. Climate change is wreaking different sorts of havoc, from wildfires to floods. Supply chains are unravelling as a consequence of all of these things.
There is an alchemy to systemic change, and it feels like we are at the beginning of a significant disturbance. We find ourselves towards the end of the first stage, Nigredo, reducing the industrial era to its essential elements, and the beginning of Albedo, extracting what is valuable from it that will be needed for the following stage, Cintrinitas, as what is to come next starts to form. We are in a liminal space, betwixt and between, in a hailstorm of dots we cannot yet join.
In the midst of this, we have a rare and vital chance to step out of the day to day and reflect. What are we going to do in the short time we are here? What does our current work, and who we work with and for say about us? How does our work enhance our lives and those around us and, perhaps most importantly, remembering we are not separate from nature; we are nature. What we do to our environment, we are doing to ourselves.
Before we can grow again, we need to repair the damage we have caused to the planet and ourselves.
It is not a time for analysis; it is a time for courageous conversations about what we can keep of our way of life and what we cannot if we are to emerge from where we are in better shape than we were entered it.