THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF AN UNBENDING CITIZEN
I was born on October the 5th, 1988, in Brussels, Belgium, one of the six founding member states of the E.U., where a deeply wired Western-European culture reigns –or at least, used to. Therefore, as you can tell, I lived my childhood in the 1990s and my teenage years during the mid-2000s.
Back to the present, October the 21st, 2016, Hong-Kong – one of the only cities I never get tired off, even after an eighteen hours’ flight. I’ve freshly turned twenty-eight, still have most of my hair and as I write those words, mankind is undergoing a fierce mutation of its environment.
We, as a specie, are experiencing a major shift from the « 3th industrial revolution world » we know into the « 4th industrial revolution world », blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. With the disastrous result of burying us under a tremendous amount of « data » (Ever heard of « Big Data », « Small Data », « Fast Data », etc. ?).
Let’s talk a bit more about « knowledge » or « data » :
Until 1900 the « amount of available data » doubled every century ;
By the end of World War II data doubled roughly every 30 years ;
Today the knowledge landscape is doubling every 9 months !
But it doesn’t stop there ! As recent studies have shown, the stunning rise and shine of the « internet of things » will lead to a not so far away future where data will double its size every 12 hours.
FROM 1985 TO 1992 : THE BIRTH OF THE « CROSSROADS GENERATION »
Over the last decade (2006-2016) the world has evolved like it never did before. I was born at a time where the « Global Economy » wasn’t that global. Fact is, I came alive while our world was still torn between the Free World at the West of The Berlins’ Wall and the Soviet Unionand China at its East.
And that fracture induced by the Cold Warwas what kept under leash the awakening of the Global Economy. That leash took a serious hit on November 1989, with the Fall of the Wall and got its final knockout in 1991, which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the opening of China, paving the way for Globalization.
Therefore, I consider myself as belonging to the « crossroads generation », which I vaguely describe as « the children born between 1985 and 1992, the ones who grew along with the rise of the Global Economy ».
MORE ABOUT THE « CROSSROADS GENERATION »
Take my case, by the time I reached my majority, we were in 2006. Now, I get that 2006 doesn’t really sound like « stone age » but trust me, compared to 2016, on a social and technological level, it was.
Let’s face it, between 2008 and 2012 our environment has transformed like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, skipping the chrysalis stage. Below are some key periods of my «crossroads generation life » during the first part of the world metamorphosis :
First internet connection I got was when I was fourteen, back in 2002 ;
When I began my career in 2007, I drove more business over fax than by email ;
Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube appeared around 2008, I wasn’t twenty yet ;
The first iPhone appeared in 2007, and the first « real game changing iPhone » appeared in 2011 ;
The iPad and all the tablets derived from it emerged in 2010.
Of course, I could also have brought up all those other services that became natural extensions of our beings over the last decade (2006-2016). Services such as Amazon, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Wikipedia, Twitter, Alibaba, eBay, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress, TripAdvisor, Netflix, WhatsApp, Candy Crush, Angry Birds or Clash of Clans and the list goes on and on and on… and on.
How would I define the « crossroads generation » precisely ?
“It’s the generation that has built its core-identity during the clash of 2 eras. Born soon enough to get full scope experience of our parents and grand-parents way of living, their reality and, at the same time, born late enough to fit-in and follow the unbelievable pace of this « blurring of the lines » between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”
Remember, this generation had its childhood in the 90s’ and its teenage years in the mid-2000s !
Therefore, as our parents : we know what it means to play outside all day long with friends, to meet in person or roaming the neighborhood on our bike. We know what it is to live without a computer or a smartphone nailed to our hands. We know what it is to wait the whole week to see our favorite show on TV. We weren’t in that « fast gratitude need » scheme we’re witnessing nowadays.
Butat the same time, we were young enough to grow along with that clash of 2 eras. Most of us use technology with ease, spend most of our leisure or business time behind a screen, build and conceive the world based on technological improvements, practice online shopping and presentations, live in parallel « game worlds » and use pictures, video and sound to share our lives with the world.
That generation is « the primary hub for change ». If you consider the generation that precedes my birth in contrast with the one that succeeds it, you can not help but notice a gigantic gap in mentalities between their perceptions of the world, personal aspirations and the immediacy of the need for gratification. An almost total intergenerational disconnection, a one that’s growing even faster with the birth of new generations and the never-ending-supply of new technologies.
THIS SITES’ PURPOSE, MY PURPOSE, THE WHOLE THINGS’ PURPOSE
To make a long story short, I’d like to loop back to my introductory quote.
« WE’RE NOT HERE JUST TO LIVE, WE ARE HERE TO CHANGE THE WORLD ».
Ever since I was a child I felt this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. I’ve always assumed that my purpose and duty as a human being should be the genuine and best development of my full potential to inspire the men and women surrounding me, those whom I collaborate with and now those who follow me.
And as facts remain facts, the gap between mankind and its environment has never been broadening so critically fast. World population is undergoing an unbearable growth, absolutely not in line with the natural eco-constraints our planet imposes. We act regardless of the consequences in the long run – high rates of consumption are no longer sustainable because they exceed the carrying capacity of Earth.
Now, I don’t like to sound all « doom and gloom », but every time mother nature has to deal with overconsumption of its bio capacity, it doesn’t really go well for humanity. Think about the « Bubonic Plague » in the 1400’s. The growth of population has been on a constant increase since. Between the time of the plague and the 21st century, there has been hundreds and thousands of wars, natural calamities and man-made hazards.
The way I see things, there’s an urgent call. A call to do whatever we can to bring our world back on the tracks of kindness instead of selfishness. To bring it back on the tracks of reason instead of this never-ending-quest-for-more. To anticipate and conceive sustainable solutions to answer the effects of overpopulation/consumption – Think about : depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation, conflicts and wars, rise in unemployment, high cost of living, etc.
I really do believe that the « crossroads generation » I belong to has a duty. This website and its blog are here to support that duty. I’m not interested in preserving status quo ; I’m here to overthrow it.