“Like it or not, your strategy must now take into account a growing number of people who are simply, comfortably dumb!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
It’s my grumpy face!
Every once in a while, my optimism and sunny outlook breaks, and I worry about ‘what comes next?’ That certainly happened a few months ago when I wrote this blog post, “The Dark Underside of a Usually Optimistic Future: How Bad Could Things Get? Pretty Bad!” I and even added into it a short video with a dark, disturbing video overview found below. You can find it at, of course, https://badthings.jimcarroll.com
What’s up? Here’s what I wrote:
I bill myself as an “Optimistic Futurist.” My running joke when walking out on stage was – and is – “I can’t tell you that your future sucks, because then I wouldn’t get many repeat bookings.” But all kidding aside, I try to force myself each and every day into a positive frame of mind and think about what comes next in terms of opportunity.
Right now, that’s tough. And throughout Covid, obviously, that has become harder to do, but I’ve done pretty well through the last year. In fact, just yesterday I wrote 7 pages about Optimism for my upcoming book, “Reinvention and the Role of Optimism in our Post-Covid Future”.
But yesterday, I gave in to the dark side and imagined our lousy future. I find myself concentrating more on our potentially darker future – the negative trends that could destroy our optimism, see challenges to our potential, and send us into a setback. Yesterday it caught up to me, and so I “filmed a thing.” It’s pretty dark, LOL. I even found some wonderfully dark music to go with it.
So with that in mind, here are some scenarios for your darker future. Each of these is possible.
If you go through my list, you might nod your head in agreement.
But in particular, check out the second bullet point:
Acceleration of mental illness **** See clarification below ****(Likelihood: Already underway). Here’s a trend: people are going to live longer. Related: society will be dealing with Alzheimer’s’ and dementia for far longer. That’s a fact, and the number of cases of dementia will be staggering. More dementia means more public displays of mental illness. This is bleeding into the political agenda – people scream, people vote, people subscribe to the craziest of conspiracy theories. Your crazy uncle is now everywhere all at once – you are surrounded by them. The results are found with all the older crazy people who are now around us, and who are spending their waning days within the newly emerged GOP cult (see 1. above). But hint —-> it’s not just old people <——- I suspect we are seeing a new form of collaborative mental illness driven by the connectivity of the Internet, and years from now it will be diagnosed as such.
Check that last sentence. Take a look at some of the people in the society around you. Who would have thought we’d find ourselves in which otherwise nice people find themselves drawn into the craziest of totally whacko conspiracy theories, who might in the next moment believe that Covid came from werewolf venom and can only be cured by singing the full version of Bohemian Rhapsody in the key of E?
Most of us are tired of it all, but we’re not quite sure what to do anymore, other than shake our heads in disbelief.
And yet, as a future trend that will have a significant impact, we’re all having to deal with its reality. And that is a future trend and innovation reality I never had on my forward-thinking bingo card ten years ago! I’m now having to continually agest some of my trends overviews to account for the growing prevalence of crazy.