The revolution has been going on for some time now. It’s moving from the bottom up. As is usually the case, it begins with the young.

Neoteny is the process whereby the infant features of a species emerge in the adults of the descendants. For example, our chimpanzee-like infant progenitors had small jaws, big heads and big eyes, often walked upright and were extremely curious and playful. These features worked their way up in age with every descendant subspecies until, after several million years, they became features of human adults.

How “new” manages to appear later with time is a feature of the various scales of evolution or transformation: biology, society, ontogeny and biography. Very specific hormonal and neurological processes guide these transformations. Though the transformations of neoteny are all around us, perhaps because they are everywhere, they are difficult to see.

One of the most powerful characteristics of newborns and new beings steeped in the matrix of creativity and play is narcissism. This narcissism often masks the presence of the creative. This masking is particularly true when evident in adults, as we tend to pay less attention to the seeming selfishness of those lost in experiences of satisfactory self indulgence that accompany flights of creative fancy. There are ways that this narcissism protects or shields the individual from societal intervention. It allows the creator to reject society and just create.

New technologies, such as almost seamless cell phone communications, innovations on the web, social networking, sharing of music and other files and the integration of our digital lives with our friendships are encouraging a creative revolution. Masking that revolution is the obvious evidence of narcissism that suggests to the culture that these are indulgences, and not important. The backs of our young may be turned to us now, but that is ending as we speak.

In the way that the relatively large brains of our genetic forbear babies have blossomed into modern times, the creativity of early childhood is now exploding into our youth. The selfishness we’ve been perceiving in our young people is but a leaf casing now withdrawing to reveal the flowering of societal transformation. Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End is the classic parable for this process. Except, the future is not arriving in spaceships. The future is emerging in communications technologies.

Watching how the kids communicate, we can see the future now. Democracy will be transformed into an immediate experience as technology-enhanced personal empowerment compels involvement by all adults. Political change will be fun. Transparency will become a given. Corporations and governments thriving on secrecy, hierarchy and segregated operations will wither as massive synergies flow in the direction of communications habits characterized by transparency, horizontal communication and diversity.

News now tells us we are separate. News now won’t tell us the relation between cause and effect. And so, mainstream media is dying. As news reflects and suggests the ways that the world is connected, those new news sources will become revered.

Pay attention to the most annoying aspects of youth culture, where narcissism sits. Note the appearance of audacities and astonishments we never could have considered or imagined. Estimate the influence on the culture of this, this that is brand new. Realize the revolution is underway.


This entry was posted on Saturday, July 5th, 2008 at 7:35 am and is filed under 10-The Web, Future, Ontogeny, Play, Society, Web. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Theresa on April 26, 2016 6:44 am

    Excellent n02learni8g toy” – love that it can be hung 2 if lacking in space or encouraging to stand/walk – fab idea xxWho remembers fuzzy felt or am I just old?  LOL xx

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