Our Fourth Age: A village elder’s story for young Homines sapientes about surviving their future history by Mr Terry Vernon Thiele
WHY THIS BOOK? Welcome to our Fourth Age. Our species already has survived three. For millennia we hunted. After the ice, we farmed. For the last eight generations, we manufactured. Our Fourth Age is upon us.
We are at teetering on the brink of a technological meta-revolution the likes of which we can scarcely imagine, driven by nanotechnology, synthetic biology, 3D printing, automation, instantaneous-always-on-global communication, artificial intelligence, and cheap ubiquitous off-grid energy, to name just a few of the disruptors. It will redefine everything that we know and do … and may take our jobs.
At the same time, we are undergoing societal upheavals on a scale never before seen. For the first time, most of us now live in cities. For the first time, the old outnumber the young. Within our children’s lifetimes, global population will peak and then start to decline. Half of all country populations are already declining. And the decline won’t stop….
Instinctively we fear the unknown . . . fear chaos. We formed groups that created cultural and societal norms to protect us from that primeval chaos. But all of those norms wither in the blast of the technological and societal changes that are accelerating us into a future our imaginations cannot grasp. For 7,000 generations, since anatomically “modern” humans emerged 200,000 years ago, children could look to their parents and grandparents for life lessons in how to confront the chaos. No more. The yesterday experiences of parents and grandparents will be of little help to today’s children in surviving tomorrow’s world. Our children have no cultural maps, no societal talismans, to guide them. Which leaves them with only their instincts to confront the chaos. Those instincts were crafted to enable us to survive in a world that we left millennia ago. That long-forgotten world hardwired us to overreact violently when we are frightened. Chaos is frightening. And chaos is about to engulf us.
Welcome to our Fourth Age.
Do we have the innate capacity to survive what is about to happen to us? This book explores that question for the sake of my grandchildren.