‘RUSH SOCIETY’ TEETERS ON BRINK
A search for moderation unites billions
This weekend’s ceremonies celebrating ‘Peace and Harmony’ in more than 200 global centers is the pinnacle of an informal movement that originated just ten years ago. It is estimated that almost one billion people took part – calling for more balanced lives and resistance to the ‘Rush Society’.
Somewhat reminiscent of the hippie movement of the 1960s, this is proving to be altogether more mature, and perhaps, more sustainable. The core of supporters are in their 30s to 50s. The movement’s strength is in its diversity not in conformity and it’s sheer global power is driving extremists of all persuasions to distraction.
The extremes of consumerism, economics and politics are now cast in the same mould as terrorism. London’s Bond Street traders report massively declining sales of luxury goods. In Manhattan and Paris the manifestation of a new social revolution is having its economic impact.
The extreme edge of capitalism has lost its public attraction – you may have it, but just don’t flaunt it. And, unlike any period in recent history, Muslims, Christians and many faiths are united around shared principles and values. The catchphrase is ‘moderation in all things’.
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ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be
Abraham Maslow is known for establishing the theory of a hierarchy of needs – and characterized these as Physiological – Safety – Love – Esteem – Self-actualization. He believed that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied.
Somewhere between esteem and self-actualization, humans between the age of 25 and 45 seem to become sucked into RUSH – a kind of mid-life vortex that is all-consuming. In the rush for ever-more money and ‘esteem’ in the eyes of their peers, they jettison the need for friends, family and love in the search for dollars, business networks and sex.
Perhaps it’s a kind of mid-life immaturity that also occurs at a national level. Today China is embarking on just such a mid-life journey, leaving the old culture behind in the rush to capitalist success, even while the old first world economies search for self-actualization, frustrated by the elusive happiness of personal and national wealth.
2004: The Rush lifestyles
Today, our material lives have never been richer. We all want glittering careers, take adult education classes to broaden our outlook and skills, work out regularly and read every fashionable book. But, our spiritual development has been lagging far behind. Although books on spiritualism and self-improvement are consistent best sellers world-wide, their consumption has to fit into our highly scheduled busy lives.
Carl Honore’s 2004 book titled ‘In Praise of Slowness’ contains this in its publicity material:
“We live in the age of speed. The world around us moves faster than ever before. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, every day. Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has taken complete hold and pushed us to breaking point. Consider these facts: Americans spend 40% less time with their children than they did in the 1960s; Americans on average spend 72 minutes of every day behind the wheel of a car; a typical business executive now looses 68 hours a year to being put on hold; and American adults currently devote on average a meager half hour per week to making love.”
Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. ‘In Praise of Slowness’ traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time, and tackles the consequences and conundrum of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time-sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down?”
We believe that the fast eat the slow – so we must rush in order to survive. Personal freedoms and choice often usurp community and family priorities. And what do we lose on the way?
2006: Gym ‘n Jog culture hit hard
Doctors world-wide seem to be ganging up on joint-jolting and muscle-straining excercises. They say that this won’t help you achieve a healthy old age and are calling for a focus on moderation and health rather than excessive excercise and short-term fitness.
Advertising standards are being changed to reflect the downside of strenuous excercise – not seen since the onslaught on tobacco advertising.
2007: Competitive Rush turns to rage
There is massive public reaction to the dominance of what is being called the ‘Competitive Rush’ lifestyle.
Work, play, sex, relationships – everything is on a schedule and done in a rush. Everything is becoming too competitive. Individuals compete for the best jobs, the best spouse and the ideal home. There is competition for the best diet plan and the best looks. When the diet fails there is competition to see who can binge the most. Parents compete for the attention of their children.
It is estimated that almost 4 billion people are constantly connected via mobile phones and the Internet. Speed dating has become a global norm for busy executives and students. Speed seems to be the necessary essence of the first world lifestyle. Impatience and rage are endemic reactions to anyone who doesn’t comply. Queue rage, air rage, car rage.
Deaths in motor accidents spiral to a world total of more than 1 million per annum – a slew of bad press serves to make the point “Why is this OK?” General Motors starts a consortium to push the future of driverless cars.
2008: Burnout hits 30-year olds
Burnout used to be an affliction of the over 40s, and now it’s hitting the 30-somethings. The World Economic Forum chooses ‘The Economic Effects of Stress in our 30-somethings’ as a theme for this year’s event. The new focus is rated by business as being ‘urgent’ and ‘important’.
‘Balance’ and ‘Moderation’ are starting to be desirable mainstream qualities.
2012: Muslims and Christians find middle ground
Everyone seems to be enveloped by ‘the quickening’ of everything, made to seem worse by increasing fundamentalism in all societies.
All over the world there is the rise of a massive middle-ground that crosses religious and tribal differences. ‘Moderation’ and ‘Balance’ are striking a chord of years of extremism in politics, religion and social styles. While fundamentalists still drive the headlines, there is a quiet revolution taking hold.
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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