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According to Alvin Toffler, the author of The Third Wave, the first wave was the settled agricultural society, and the second wave was Industrial Age society, and the third wave being Information Age society.
I think there will be the fourth wave of our transition within the next few decades, and we will be shifting from Information Age society.
What is the fourth wave?
At the moment, there seem to be three scenarios of how our future will unfold.
The first one is the continuation of Information Age society with further globalization and social polarization. Those people who manage to adapt to the change will grow, and the people who fail to adapt will be left out.
The second one is kind of going back to the settled agricultural society due to some catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or financial meltdown. Many people will be leading a self-sufficient life with about a quarter acre of land.
The third one is that people will be living sustainably in rural areas but are not engaged in physical labor so much since production will be managed by technology. More people will engage in types of work such as teachers or psychotherapists. Some people choose to lead a self-sufficient life because it will help them stay in touch with nature but not out of necessity. They will be living in Han No Han X style working just four hours a day. They will rely on machines for a certain process of farming. As a whole system, we will find ways to produce enough food and energy sustainably for all people whether they engage in physical labor or not. There will be no competition; we will learn to share the wealth with everybody.
The second scenario isn’t bad since it is a sustainable lifestyle suggested by Masanobu Fukuoka, the author of The One Straw Revolution. It is a way to live with low ecological footprint and share natural resources with everyone. I used to support this lifestyle and tried to practice it myself. However, what I discovered is that you need to work over 12 hours a day if you want to self-sustain completly. You work in the rice field, the vegetable field, make firewood for the wood stove, make fermented food, mill your grain, make bread and noodles, make oil, make clothes, fix your house, build your house, and the list goes on.
That is why our ancestors searched ways to make their life more convenient, which led them to the industrial age and eventually to the information age.
Simply going back to the past doesn’t seem to be a step in our evolution.
I don’t think the problem necessarily lies in the advancement of technology, but it lies in the failure to advance our consciousness.
For example, regardless of the current technological development, many of us are still motivated by materialistic possessions such as a Rolex, an Armani, and a penthouse suit, or wanting to be number one, which is the same mentality as that of 50 years ago. As a human being, we haven’t evolved at all.
Another thing is the system itself. Without changing our growth-oriented economic system, we won’t be able to utilize the development of technology beneficial to everyone. With today’s technology we should be able to produce enough food and energy for everyone, and yet, millions of people are starving to death every day. What kind of planet is this? It is clear even in 5-year-old children’s eyes; the system isn’t working.
If the society is led by E.I.; Enlightened Intelligence, we will create a system which will produce and deliver enough food and energy to every human being on the planet, while making sure that our production method is organic and sustainable. It is a joint task by the system and the people, because, to create a sustainable way of production, we need to consume less. We need to be able to be satisfied with our lot and consume moderately, which can easily be achieved if we raise our consciousness.
So, I don’t know which one of the three scenarios will be the fourth wave, it is all up to us, and for us to advance our consciousness and change the system, we need a new motivational success philosophy.