While I’m not sure which of your observations and mini-conclusions bother me, this one felt pretty negative. That may be justified. I like to think we are just at any major inflection point for life on this planet. I think that leads to anxiety. Perhaps the acceleration of life that is quite recent is the root of all the angst? Maybe the RATE OF CHANGE is what bothers an upright walking ape the most.

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Hi Mark, I do think we are at a major inflection point and it leads to anxiety. However, I think the risk we face keeps ramping up at each inflection point. The upside and downside both seem to grow larger each time. It is disconcerting, and I say that as someone who usually loves change. Not sure I am ready for this one, but we're on the train, so to speak.

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Oh.... that made me think.

I was merely a child in the sixties, clinging to the apron of a hungry, homeless, caring mother, too young to understand the history of a free loving England that didn't care. My adolescence during the seventies bore witness to a seemingly violent, grimey, England fighting to survive the loss of jobs in slowly dwindling inneficient industries, history before my eyes, unseen. As I strived to build a career in the eighties I purchased my first computer, Amstrad, history steadily speeding up under my fingertips, a sudden ability to watch history around the globe.

Fast forward 34 years, I have watched, I have listened, and I have learned, to be uniquely, I.

True enough, we do appear to be an 'all or nothing' culture. But the 'all' is never comparative to the 'all' of yestermorrow. What people aspired towards yesterday, what they will aspire tomorrow will inevitably change. Our equilibrium, and therefore our ability to balance is a choice, if we want to take it. Obviously, the outcome is to fall if we choose to not balance.

The USA was unique to the USA, historically it has leaked it's at-the-time-current-day virtues on democracy for many decades, other countries don't follow the USA rather they are sucked into its gravity. This is a sad indictment on those of us not living in the USA. The equilibrium you discuss, is fascinating to observe. But, I'm afraid it may be somewhat frightening to get wrong.

Extremism used to sit beyond +/- 2 std dev of a normal distribution. In a burgeoning digital world reliant on 'social' media we may have grown extremism to +/- 1 std dev, but that still leaves 64% of the populace acting as balance. Yes it may have moved to one side or the other, but it still provides equilibrium.

Perhaps, probably, no... necessarily, we need voices and articles like this to make us think, maybe to challenge, definitely to articulate, what is in the shadows of our vision of where we are right now.

I will continue to be uniquely I, you must continue to be uniquely you Stephanie. And the USA, well, in my humble opinion, it needs to get back to being uniquely and unashamedly brashly the USA, if it still remembers. The risk of moving in the wrong direction of an unsustainable tomorrow is not palatable.

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Mark, your comment is so thought-provoking and evocative that I created this account to reply (I’m traveling without access to my main account and won’t be back till Monday). The standard deviations visual hit spot-on, that’s another interesting way to think about it! As more people pull toward extremes, the extremes themselves encroach toward so-called ‘normality’.

The US needs to do admirable things if it wants to be admired or even feel proud of itself. It’s been shaky going since 9/11. (Not that there weren’t many bad periods before that too.) I do still have hope, but in the short term it’s tempered hope. Need to see what happens this year.

Also, I love this visual: ‘history steadily speeding up under my fingers.’ I feel that.

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