The city held its breath, eerily quiet despite the sound of bullhorns, drums and hundreds of feet slapping against the concrete, all reverberating off the sides of tall bank buildings. These buildings housed “the enemy,” who no doubt looked down upon this island of bodies, making its way like a centipede through the narrow maze of streets with wonder and amusement.

In the crowd, faces not covered by black handkerchiefs or Guy Fawkes masks flashed passion and anger. They hoisted their signs with gusto and began chanting, “Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!”

Who are these people? Why are they willing to brave the looks of derision, fear and scorn? What drives them to take time out of their lives to try and change things far larger than themselves?

These are society’s fire starters. They are every bit as important to the overall good as the politicians, the entrepreneurs, the academics and the workers. THEE calls them cause-centered, and describes them as follows:

“Striving for some genuinely held greater good can be experienced as intrinsically beneficial, and such people build their social life accordingly. Their motto: Fight the good fight!” 

I wrote about my experiences with the Occupy movement in a previous blog. Over a year later, it seems to have largely fizzled. No more marches, no more mention in the press, but I would dispute that the message disappeared, rather it migrated to Facebook memes and classroom discussions, policy prescriptions and punditry. Really, it’s everywhere you look and it’s part of a giant rift in American society.

In a way, that’s fantastic! Nothing ever changes if everybody sits around and waits for someone else to do something—and America certainly has problems.

Now, I’m convinced—partially as a result of my research in THEE—that the best solution to many of our social problems, from poverty to inequality to crime to war and conflict, is hitching a ride on the road to prosperity. And much of that depends on entrepreneurs—or market-centered individuals. You know, the folks willing to try out new things and come up with new ideas and innovations because, well, they want to make a bunch of money. But these are the bad guys now!

Of course, it’s not the banksters (as they’re now known) or the corporate lackeys that I’m speaking of, but the regular enterprising people willing to front a risk and take responsibility for their own lot in life. They want to make money in a particular way: by responding to what others value and currently cannot get or can’t get at a proper quality or decent price or both. In a free enterprise culture, such people prize trust and reputation highly. Sleazy dealings are an anathema.

I can’t imagine a march to the Capitol Building steps to protest over-regulation, or the lack of individual responsibility, to promote free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s unthinkable! It’s so far removed from the current reality that the very thought of it seems absurd.

I could be wrong, of course. I’ve heard tell of a group of bloggers in the SF Bay area who seem to be promoting this particular cause, but if I am to call it as I see it, their influence pales in comparison to the movement to send us barreling toward bigger government, more bureaucratic control and subsequently, less individual responsibility/autonomy. We really need more cause-centered people to get after this issue if we’re to move toward prosperity.

Interestingly, (and this showcases some of the predictive powers of THEE), the social democracy movement is gaining steam as we stand on the precipice of two major shifts in society. The first, from Plutocratic Pluralism to Conventionalism, will come after a crash caused by, among other things, putting too much trust in the government’s ability to engineer society. The second, the 21st Century Enlightenment, will probably creep up on us, be much less stressful, and promote the virtues of responsibility, being authentic to oneself, and respecting a new kind of diversity. It certainly points to a powerful combination lurking on our horizon.

Grasping this stuff is systems thinking on a grand scale, and probably beyond me. I’ll leave it to you to click the links and put it together for yourself. But I do get an inkling at times as to the possible timeline of events. Government in the last 15 years or so seems to be taking more and more liberties, if its not Obama’s incredible number of executive orders, it’s the European Union’s encroachment on distinct political territories.

I’m sure I’m not the only one watching how society develops with increasing alarm, but I do feel fortunate that I have a much better chance at understanding it—and what’s to come—thanks to THEE. And I look forward to the day when the next sign-waving crowd to snake through my city asks that we put our destiny back in the hands of the people.

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