When change occurs at too fast a rate to be readily assimilated by cultures and governments and individuals, people and groups emerge that are essentially just “against all of that”. The catch all term for this is “forces of reaction”.
In the film The Wild One, Marlon Brando, astride his motorcycle and having just invaded a quiet small town, is asked by a reporter, “What are you rebelling against?” Marlon responds: “What have you got?” That’s as good a definition of “the reactionary approach” as we are likely to get. Forces on the extremes of left and right have been known to adopt this approach, being called “anarchism” on the left, and “radical conservatism or extremism” on the right.
Today the US has given the reins of government to the forces of reaction, who have disavowed centrist notions of both left AND right. Instead the approach seems to be against whatever you’ve got…with little detail for solutions per se.
Instead absolute statements are popular about what they are “against”, and who is to blame, and who should be locked up, expelled, or get what’s coming to them based on their race or country of origin.
Whatever might be “wrong” in the current status quo, clearly what’s needed are realistic and pragmatic and practical solutions. not scapegoating and witch hunts and enabling haters.
What might the alternative to “pure reaction” be? Not denying realities, and we have a list of serious problems to deal with….but by providing models to solve the problems reality presents. Buckminister Fuller said it well, and perhaps best:
In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.
There are many versions of this quote, and “Bucky” was about as ubiquitous a “spokesperson” for intelligent change as was possible during his adult life, and especially in the 60s and 70s, long before the web.
It turns out he had a lot to say that helps us gain perspective on the world of rapid change we find ourselves in. Including the challenge of automation, and the opportunity it presents for people to find that activity that is most fulfilling for them, their family, their community, their nation, their planet, etc.
At the time Bucky was writing, and speaking, some of his ideas seemed notably impractical. Today, with cloud tools, they seem perhaps a lot more pragmatic.
His ideas about change fit into the framework of the mission of PSA…we are about creating new models of innovation based on current and near term inventions, that enable public services, and various groups that implement them in SNM, to do their work most effectively. This includes education, healthcare, family support, social problems, and more.
Such a mission sounds a lot like creating a new model(s) that makes the old one(s) obsolete.
For more background on Buckminister Fuller here are 3 articles written about him, one of which is from 1966. He also wrote an enormous amount, which is archived online, and available where books are sold. Or borrowed. Mr. Fuller lived from 1895 to 1983.
It should be noted, that Mr. Fuller was way way out there…and thus can’t be considered a role model for everything he proposed. He had some clearly too weird to be true beliefs, and some not useful eccentricities too. So it’s not a good idea to see him as the answer. However, it’s worth taking a good look around at his ideas about change, which were in many ways prescient.
In the end, Fuller’s greatest accomplishment may consist not in any particular idea or artifact but in the whole unlikely experiment that was Guinea Pig B. Instead of destroying himself, Fuller listened to Universe. He spent the next fifty years in a headlong, ceaseless act of self-assertion, one that took so many forms that, twenty-five years after his death, we are still trying to sort it all out.