THEE respects observations and experience. I like that.

We live in a society where in a courtroom, for example, somebody’s experience won’t weigh against the testimony of an “expert” because the events in question don’t fit into their disciplinary theory. We live in a society where academics, politicians, and economists influence public policy. But the people such policy affects know from their experience and observations that it simply won’t work. We live in a society where science is gospel—even bad science.

 Doesn’t it make sense that what you observe and experience is probably true? That’s not to say that I’m a hardcore empiricist (in the philosophical sense) and all reality is only what you register with your five senses. There’s plenty of stuff out there we can’t see. It’s just that you should trust yourself when it comes to what you know to be real and true.

There’s a lot that I’ve seen, experienced, and learned about through conversation that supports the idea of an emerging enlightenment amongst us all. Some of it is in the work I do, some I just hear about through the grapevine, and some of it I witness during my travels. Here are some of my favorite examples:

  • The word “integrity” is quite popular on Twitter. I was surprised. I was looking up good hashtag words to use in the THEE Online Twitter feed and I found that a lot of people had a lot to say about integrity—something that would be a major, important feature of the 21st Century Enlightenment. 
  • People are coming up with their own solutions for their society’s/community’s problems: 
-I was talking with a colleague who lives in Thailand part of the year. He said that in the city he lives in, the lack of a good public transportation option forced private entrepreneurs to provide cheap and effective transportation without public support. Who needs government, right?

-This was particularly poignant to me because in my town of Boise, Idaho, mass transit is sorely needed and no one seems to have thought about a private option. We just assume the local government should take care of it—but of course no one wants to pay. I just hope this Asian attitude crosses the pond. 

-Also, check out how folks in Africa are handling their governments’ and social institutions’ failure to get them up to speed with the global tech revolution.
  • People are standing up against tired, irrelevant, cumbersome, damaging social institutions. From the Arab Spring to Occupy to protests in China (a scary prospect, but encouraging nonetheless) to two very interesting Czech men I talked to in Prague recently, there’s a worldwide attitude that “we’re not going to take this much longer.” Let me elaborate on my Czech friends. One was rather old—a man who had experienced Soviet oppression, the Velvet Revolution, the rise of capitalism, the European Union, and the rebirth of his city. The other was a young man, still in his early years of college. I talked to these guys separately and they both said the same thing: “The Czech government is corrupt, they are in the pocket of the EU, which is corrupt, and we’re not going to stand for it.” (A surprising number of Germans, French, and Italians I ran into echoed their sentiment.) 
  • I saved my favorite example for last. Look at the photo at the beginning of this blog. It’s on the side of a building in Berlin. I noticed it coming from the train station recently. “Thoughts Become Things.” It’s beautiful, simple, elegant, and so true. In fact, it basically summarizes THEE’s entire Personal Endeavor framework. It screams: “We’re the rulers of our destiny, each and every one of us!” 
It’s shocking how you can watch the world change in front of your eyes if you’re on the lookout for it. And as I returned to the U.S., turned on my favorite radio program this morning, and listened as two authors were interviewed about their book, The Death of the American Dream, I thought: “Forget these guys and their pessimism. Who cares about their PhD’s? I know what I see and what I see gives me hope.”

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