Yesterday I went to a seminar about How to Write, Publish and Promote a Best-Seller. Teresa de Grosbois and Michael Drew did a great job with it, and I came away informed and inspired.
One thing that inspired me was Michael’s talk on the shift into a culture of authenticity and social conscience. (Michael drew some ideas from Strauss and Howe’s 544-page book, Generations, which talks about how American society goes in 40-year pendulum swings between individualism and social conformity.)
From 1923 to 1963, we lived in an age of conformism and civic consciousness. It was all about what was good for society as a whole. Socialism grew up in this generation.
Then from 1963 to 2003, we went through a cycle of increasing individuality, taking us out of the oppressive conformism of the 40’s and 50’s. The 60’s freed up young people to be themselves and explore their own choices.
Through the 80’s and 90’s, we went from individual expression, to outright narcissism. Free from responsibility to society, society began to fall apart while everyone tried to get what they could, regardless of their neighbor’s needs.
We ended up living with Madonna in a material world.
From the narcissism of “I can do anything” came the phony idealism of A-list speakers pretending to be perfect, telling us we can be perfect (if we buy their book) and ignoring the genuine imperfections that define our physical existence.
We had broken the bonds of conformity, but instead of healing our human flaws, we simply ignored them. We turned into a generation of plastic phonies, following the leadership of plastic phony icons and cultural leaders.
Today, you can’t get away with that for very long (thank God). Today, the phonies are starting to realize that we can see through their plastic armor, and that we are laughing at them behind their backs. James Bond, meet Austin Powers.
That’s my understanding of it, anyway. Have any of you read the book Generations? Any comments?
What I find refreshing about all this is that “real” people now have a chance. For years, I was repulsed by the thought of selling my services or professional speaking, because I thought I would have to become a plastic manipulator like so many A-list celebrity speakers out there. Now that’s changing. Those people aren’t drawing the same crowds. And when they do, it’s because they are giving away tickets to their old friends.
Watch for the authentic, trustworthy leaders rising among us.
Or maybe you’ll be one of them?