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Thoughts on Creativity -- Newsletter #30
Y2K - A Psychic Challenge

by Donald W. Mathews

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"Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power."

From: Tao Te Ching #3--Lao-Tuz
(Stephen Mitchell translation)

I suggest, as many others have, we are entering a time of major transition fed by exploding technology. It is a fast moving river of change with many rapids of uncertainty ahead. To navigate safely, we need a collective vision of how to use these tools effectively as we are swept into the threatening rapids of unfolding world events. As crew members in a fragile vessel, we must also learn the skills necessary to work together as there is no turning back on the river of life with its accumulating knowledge. This challenge pervaded by complex technology demands extraordinary relationship and creative resources if we are to succeed. It is a time requiring careful examination at both personal and societal levels by all wielding a paddle if we are to reap the benefits of the coming millennium!

Technology touches almost every resource we depend on today as individuals and in community. As we prepare for year 2000 (Y2K) and the new millennium, a lot of attention is focused on potential disruption to life by old computer software and hardware--the Y2K problem. In the past, programming methods and computer chips were limited by existing designs and did not provide for major changes. Furthermore, the relationships of these complex buried instructions were lost under the many layers of new designs.

To discover and fix this problem, our society is reexamining almost every aspect touched by computers--particularly those at the very heart of logistical systems serving the world. It is a difficult and costly enterprise, evoking great fear and untold difficulties for many. However, at the same time, the transition offers unbounded possibilities for new life styles using the very technology causing the problem.

I suggest the Y2K process may be used as a metaphor for the state of our own interior life! In every one of us, there are hidden glitches from old outdated values and choices hidden below our present level of consciousness. It is time for careful reassessment of our own capacity to make radical changes and lift our relationship and creative skills to a new level!

The key emphasis here is on deeper self-awareness of personal process and building relationship with what we find, thus taking responsibility for developing a more deeply satisfying life. Clearly life calls on each of us to be more creative and foster relationships with exploding global interdependence. Many of my Thoughts on Creativity have focused on these areas. Now, two authors of recent books have given me new vision into the changing process taking place in our culture--the force driving this comparison with the Y2K problem. Emotional intelligence has been identified by author Daniel Goleman as a significant element both personally and in contemporary society. (Emotional Intelligence & Working With Emotional Intelligence.) He suggests when examining competency in this area, the first step is knowing how we manage ourselves in the three areas of self-awareness (knowing one's internal state, preferences, resources and intuitions), self-regulation (managing one's internal states, impulses and resources) and motivation (emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals). Next comes awareness of social competencies. This includes empathy (awareness of other's feelings, needs and concerns) and social skills (adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others). The attribute of emotional intelligence can be developed and is highly sought after in the new developing style of cooperative organizations. A careful honest look in each of these areas will often uncover old glitches and hidden talents!

Harry S. Dent in his book, The Roaring 2000's: Building the wealth and lifestyle you desire in the greatest boom in history, describes the nature of organizations in the coming years. He says they will radically change because of their use of computers and the Internet for communications. Success for organizations will shift from those with managers in a top down hierarchy toward cooperative groups of employees using emotional intelligence, all contributing creatively toward a commonly developed vision. Managers, usually a person at the top directing and controlling the work of a small group, must become leaders who inspire and support work being done more creatively by all--many members autonomously interfacing directly with clients without typical supervision.

Supporting them is a layer of similarly connected experts, researchers and manufacturing facilities inspired by the new style of leadership. In addition, employees no longer must physically gather together for work, they will connect using the new communication web--the Internet! Again, employees must have a highly developed sense of integrity and trust with each other using emotional intelligence. Everyone in the organization contributes at many levels, paying attention to both personal and organizational needs.

I feel what is overtaking us at the end of this century is a quantum evolutionary event. Our ability to personally ride these rough waters depends on our willingness to participate as agents of change using creative solutions in relationship with others seeking a common basis for our existence. I feel this process then becomes a new secular spirituality in action!

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