‘Pale Blue Dot’ this iconic photo of our home planet ignites an ineffable language of emotion. In the wisdom of Carl Sagan, “There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” With Carl Sagan still in our living memory and, for some, in our dead history, what would it take to address his sentiment? Let’s consider a few deeper questions and potential actions.
- Culture: What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? Such as, what rituals or taboos do we honor, how do we embody empathy for sentient beings, and what are our measures of success?
- Boundaries: What are our sociocultural constraints, such as social norms and values; and our human species restraints, such as insatiable mental desires and knowing when to stop?
- Aesthetics: What factors will drive us from mapping problems on the planet to taking bold actions? Such as, fear of facing social stigma; recognition that basic survival is overwhelming time for beauty, or that we may be reaching sociocultural devolution or plateau.
- Innovation: Develop a collective vision and values to create an environment for the 21st century. And, design a ‘fit’ for a transitional sociocultural evolution bridging the 20th and 21st centuries.
- Governance: Board-of-Directors organizational governance to meet the existential threats of climate disruption, and the ethical dilemmas unfolding with the advances in technology. And, at an individual level, develop independent thinking, critical analysis, and decision-making [requires personal flexibility, adaptability, and emotional capacity].
- Leadership: Scholarly in the text books, such as laws, equality, justice, and enforcement; complicated in practice with incongruent actions spanning from rhetoric to reality. Need leadership who model trust, have the courage to care, and the strength of character to act.
We live in tumultuous times, and, to paraphrase Robert Browning, we have an opportunity to reach beyond our grasp. This is not about academics, it is about humanity.
Ready to make a difference? Let’s start a conversation to discuss fresh ideas and approaches for today and tomorrow.