I was living a rather odd life on Monday, October 19, 1987, when the market crashed, with the Dow dropping over 22%.  I was 34, working 70-hour weeks running a sales firm specializing in gifts, calendars and greeting cards.  Fully invested in gold, using a trigger system to catch frequent upticks, I was doing well enough that all the profits from my thriving repping business were being used to pay the taxes on the investment gains.

It was an odd life I was living in that I was painting when I could, looking forward to being able to retire from business to paint full time.  So, I was working myself sick, saving like a maniac to become a full time artist.  After three years of this routine, I felt I’d saved enough to get myself halfway there.

I lost a lot of money that week in 1987, but the market came back.  I didn’t.  Expecting the market to fall, I’d become emotionally committed to societal catastrophe.  I couldn’t believe our economy could continue with anything like health while committed to the Reagan/Bush doctrine of no transparency, no regulation and little accountability.  I expected repercussions.  Then they came.  When the world reflected my expectations, I felt terrified.

Following the crash, I was rocked by a succession of panic attacks.  I visited my doctor to find out what I could do.  He recommended changes in diet, more sleep, less work, exercise.  I hired two more employees to bring my hours down.  I started eating right.  I exercised and slept regularly.

I started to feel good.  Then my life began to change.  Then life changed.

The economy has not yet hit bottom.  I say that because I think I know what bottom feels like.  Having been there and having accepted my doctor’s evaluation of what was necessary to achieve health, and having acted on that evaluation, I am now wondering what the doctor should be telling our economy.

Yet, with no universal experience of panic, I’m not getting the feeling we’re ready to realize how much has changed.

We are deep into the transition to a wholly new consciousness characterized by attention to one another and our environment.  New communications technologies embraced by youth are channeling our ways of thinking into community consciousness.  American independence is being quickly redefined into an experience of global interdependence.  Online gaming with partners across the planet has become a daily, familiar experience to youth with access to a laptop or a cell phone.  The number of contacts with an immediate group of friends has exponentially increased from perhaps a dozen to over a hundred in one day’s contacts.

We are building both a safety net and new social infrastructure with ourselves, our cell phones and our laptops in this new, vast, horizontal world.  When the economy hits bottom, it won’t be a cement sidewalk but a vast webbing or net that cushions the impact.  The nature of what we are building now will inform the directions we choose as our economy re-emerges.  The new economy will be characterized by connection.

It can take a crash to appreciate the present.  Vast resources are available in the now.  The United States and world economies are in transition.  It is the young people that are leading the way.


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