Society is Breaking

Posted on April 11, 2018. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This is a disorienting moment where society is reeling to adjust to significant contextual changes to the way things have been. Change happens all the time, driven by technology and regulation and capital markets and media and a host of other factors, but it doesn’t always happen at a layer that is fundamental to our concepts of self and reality. There are many implications of having a completely networked society, where information flows quickly and to far reaches, but perhaps the most salient is that we are not equipped to process the volume and velocity of what is coming at us today. That’s a narrative that you’ve heard for a number of years, as expressed by such concepts as internet addiction, but perhaps less talked about is our inability to process the transparency that comes with this data-abundent reality. It used to be that there was a set of things or premises that we could simply accept or take for granted, and another set that we knew were variable or in flux or unknown. With the base of what we could take for granted, the variable was processable to degrees. Today, however, people are reeling, in large part, because almost everything that we were blissfully ignorant to accept as true, is now in question. Everything is variable. There is no truth. And if there is no truth, certainly we can’t have a foundation of premises and beliefs that are static enough to process the variable. We can’t take it at face value that the government is stable. We can’t take it at face value that a publicly trusted figure is trustworthy. We can’t take it at face value that an article or an image or anything is as it seems. Everything is degrees of probability now. We see the bubbles we live in more clearly. We are aware of confirmation bias, what’s on the otherside of it, and increasingly the data and truths of that other side, and we can’t say for sure that things are the way they are anymore. These changes to how we see and understand the world are very low down in the stack. So many upstack systems, and social structures, and infrastructural elements, and applications, and products and services, are rooted in the notion that there is truth and that what most people believe to be true is…and when that belief is called into question or breaks, everything upstack breaks with it. I think this is the most disorienting moment in my 36 years on earth. I think we are all more disoriented than we even realize, and I think we are increasingly numbing this disorientation with pictures of our friends vacations and babies (and even those we are starting to understand don’t represent the truth of their lives). The good news is society tends to respond and reshape around big changes in context. It’s incredibly painful to those who lived in the old and now must transition to the new, but the out generations will develop different upstack systems to reflect the ambiguity and multifaceted nature of truth. As I watched the Zuckerberg senate hearing yesterday, all I could think about was this new reality, and how much people are suffering as they are forced to question that which they thought true. The upshot is that when systems break, and society responds, value tends to transfer from the incumbents of the old reality to the native products and companies of the new reality…and that’s a good thing for founders and entrepreneurs…if that’s any consolation.


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    About

    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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