The Conceptual Age
Society has gone through stages, each one spurred by the want or need of improving life. At the beginning of time, society was based on hunting and gathering and then it advanced to the agricultural age. Then we moved into the industrial age, and recently, the information age. But now we are heading into a new stage, the Conceptual age. To adjust to and prosper in this age, people will need to develop skills in creating artistic and emotional beauty, in detecting patterns and opportunities, in crafting a satisfying narrative, and in combining seemingly unrelated ideas into a novel invention, and people will also need the ability to empathize, to understand subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one's self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the common everyday things, in pursuit of purpose and meaning. Creative intellectuals will flourish in the new conceptual age because material abundance, globalization, and new technologies are making the information age's peoples' skills insufficient in a society that is searching to add purpose and meaning.
Abundance in social, economic, and cultural life is making qualities such as uniqueness, beauty, spirituality, or emotion a requirement of prosperity. The standard of living has risen dramatically in just the past couple of generations. It used to be that owning a home and a car was an achievement that signaled a successful life. Now it is common for any person with a license to own a car, or even more than one car. The self-storage industry is growing also, because people need even more space to house all their extra stuff. Abundance is evident in the amount of waste we produce, which America has more of than any other country, because we throw away many things we cannot store. So it is no longer enough for something to be reasonably priced and functional. Products require qualities such as uniqueness, beauty, spirituality, or emotion to make them stand out....
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