How’s Your Empire Doing?


“The Empires of The Future are The Empires of The Mind.”                                                                                       Winston Churchill

It seems to me that today a lot of thinking in politics, economics, international relations, and many other areas of life is rooted in old paradigms and remnants of the past. We are imprisoned by the stone walls of our limited imaginations and aspirations. The world is facing perhaps its greatest challenges in history, and countless so-called leaders are bogged down in discussions about how big or small government should be, whether climate change or evolution are fact or opinion, and whether taxing billionaires is class warfare when the gaps between rich and poor are greater than ever before in human history. I’m not taking sides here, just suggesting that we are discussing the wrong things, asking the wrong questions, not recognizing that a new reality has dawned and this is the 21st Century.

In preparing my most recent Moneylove Club audio, I went back to one of those books that changed the way people viewed the world, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. He wrote it in 1970 and it was filled with some truths about the changes facing us–and the amazing thing is that some people are still stuck in the world that existed then, making a lot of what Toffler said as relevant today as it was back then.

Alvin Toffler said that future shock was:

The shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.

Do you see where some of this is happening right now, forty-one years after publication of the book?  Or how about this Toffler quote:

Idea assassins rush forward to kill any new suggestion on the grounds of its impracticality, while defending whatever now exists as practical, no matter how absurd.

This certainly sounds like an up-to-the-moment description of many members of Congress. But perhaps the Toffler quote that has the most relevance today, particularly with all the current talk about the lapses in our education systems and how to remedy them:

The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

This sounds very much like what Melinda Gates was describing  just today during a TV discussion on Morning Joe about education.  The fact that students need more great, dedicated teachers to prepare them for life in this new era. The Gates Foundation has put its money where its mouth is on this issue, pouring millions into various school systems to affect positive change. And where are most politicians on this issue? Arguing about the merits of teachers’ unions versus non-union teachers. Melinda Gates says their extensive research shows no difference in learning results between states with strong teachers’  unions and right-to-work states. It’s about the quality of the teaching. Did you have at least one great teacher you still remember fondly, who inspired you to reach higher than you otherwise might have? Most of us have had that powerful experience, but many students today can’t even relate to that situation.

We need to expand the empires of our minds in many ways and many new directions, or else end up future shocked into oblivion.




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