We are caught, says Sue Miller Hurst, between two ages. The one that is winding down was easy to understand. It was based upon a strict hierarchy of power, with much of that power based on information withheld.
It was an unsafe world in which competition was king. Well-intentioned people worked together in a conspiracy of fear. It was an age of conformity, self-censorship, and false agreement. The industrial model was based on the military model, and it worked, more or less.
If the world is changing, as it appears to be doing, the flourishing of information technologies, the fusing of far-strewn world markets into one single global market, and the democratization that both these forces tend to effect - we must take radical action to start seeing in a new way.
But old habits old cultures - die hard. Despite free flow of information through much of the world, our response is to reject much of it before it reaches us. Many of us are deciding we only want to hear opinions we agree with. There are talk radio stations geared toward single points of view, whole cable stations dedicated to one pursuit, even the Internet allows kill files, which prevent individuals you have listed from reaching out to you across cyberspace.
Though we sense the advantages of greater openness and trust in organizations, we have not succeeded yet in making our society or our organizations safe places to be ourselves and speak our minds.
Sue Miller Hurst cannot be dealt with from the standpoint of the earlier age. indeed, she is a radical warrior of a sort, doing all she can to subvert the lingering order that rules by fear.
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She envisions a new age in which people throw off the chains of
Sue Miller Hurst