Geography of the Mind

Just when you thought...

Nothing else could happen, something does and we all know about it immediately.

For a moment in time, the year 2010 seemed to give us and the world a brief respite. It felt as if, although thinking people realized it wouldn't take hold, we may not be in a fully sustainable economic recovery but at least there was a pause or suspension of things getting worse. We were lulled by overkill of good news of small magnitude. The wishful hope I think most of us had was that the economic crisis would not get too much worse and we could stabilize as a people and begin the laborious task of slowly rebuilding. It seems though the dawn of 2011 has brought home to society the realization that we are not going to get out of this universe changing crackup so easily. On the economic front in the United States, a large segment of Americans now recognize that we are indeed in a genuine depression. We'll likely skip spring and head straight into long, hot summer afternoons followed by cold fall and winter nights.

We've been recently jolted by big, bad news. Another shoe may drop. Anything can happen. Things happen in threes. We will all know about it at the same time.

There are uprisings all across the Middle East, which at a minimum threatens our oil supplies and is bound to cause global economic problems. Even larger than that, the turbulence of the Jasmine Revolution, is far from over and more is to come. There is now the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, taking a terrible toll on the people of that country. Worse, nuclear meltdown is a very real possibility, bringing to the people of Japan the horror of revisiting a different nuclear disaster reminiscent of the Second World War. Japan is the third largest economy in the world and this event will have a financial effect on all of us.

What is next? One of the Four Horsemen? Conquest, War, Famine or Death? We will know within minutes if a White, Red, Black or Pale horse arrives.

Any number of things could bring another cataclysmic event to us soon. The debt of the European nations and the US government is one. The Currency Crisis could suddenly make itself obvious as the insolvency of governments reveals itself. Is a widespread incurable global disease possible in this day and age? A technological meltdown? Food shortages everywhere, including first world nations?

No one knows. Nothing could happen since so much already has. The world is random. Everyone will be aware of it instantly.

In the long course of history, Classical Ancient, Middle Ages and Modern, humans have suffered and thrived simultaneously but in the first two periods, news and knowledge was local and took a long time to spread. In the Modern era globalization began and technological progress, for better or worse, advanced and is omnipresent in our lives. The breadth of communications that span the globe is a critical component of input into our minds with a subliminal effect. The social web is the epitome of oversharing personal thought. 

This is the period of Too Much Information. Media Saturation. Information Overload. Whatever you prefer to call it, I maintain one of our highest priorities should be managing the flow of current material that enters into our brains. We may be people of the latest Modern age but I'm not sure that as mortal souls most of us have caught up with the rapidity of the advances science and technology have made. Especially those of the last thirty years.

I believe the effects of instant connections have altered the psychology of the larger population, affecting the economic crisis and the way people perceive and react to it.

Mass marketing of mass communications isn't necessarily good for the masses. It's unlikely that progression of widespread communications is going to slow down. The effect of globalization, technological innovations and communication has been one of the major reasons why the impact of this economic depression is different. Prior to the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression of the thirties, drastic economic downturns were referred to as Panics. Just a Panics came to be called Recessions and Depressions, the nomenclature of economic crisis has changed to Disruption, due to instant messaging. This is not only an economic depression and change of a way of life but also a disruption of great magnitude because we are at a zenith of communications. The progression from local news and knowledge to global information is made complete. All that remains is improving the tools that transmit it.

Know your own mind. Guard and protect it as securely as you would your body. Consider what you feed into your head as much as you consider what you should eat.

Understanding that this economic disruption is not only a life-altering physical endurance contest, it also is a groupthink mental challenge, is pivotal to understanding how to survive relatively intact. Stress is a demanding thing, it eats you up, that is why it is important to learn how to cope with it and prevent it from distracting you as much as possible. Learn it, live it, to do more than survive it, but thrive in it.