Friday, January 02, 2009

Predicting 2009?

Around this time of year, many bloggers post their predictions for what the year ahead will hold. Without meaning to sound too cynical, I predict that most predictions will prove to be wide of the mark. We live in a world in which the pace is now so fast that things change far too quickly to accommodate accurate predictions.

Let's look at it this way: did your government see this recession coming? If so, why didn't they take evasive action? If not, well, what chance have we got of making an accurate prediction?

I suspect that we haven't seen the bottom of the economic trough, yet. A schoolfriend of mine IM-ed me on New Year's eve to say that '09 couldn't be as bad as '08. I responded as follows:

Sorry to say but it can and it will.
But that depends on what one means by 'as bad'. One thing I have noticed about affluent societies is a tendency to insularity. People don't know their neighbours and everyone pursues their lives in isolation. Everyone tends their own patch, and minds their own business to the extent that those of us from different cultures find unspeakably lonely.

It is in those cultures where everyone has very little that we see a greater tendency for people to bear one another's burdens, to pitch in uninvited and help one another out. From where I sit, an economic squeeze that improves our sense of community is no bad thing. After all, stuff is just stuff.

I often wonder if the open-handedness of the online community is not a backlash of this insularity as people seek to connect with one another in a way increasingly unavailable in the physical realm.

So my 'prediction' is that I have no idea what's coming. I just believe that we're in for a tough year, and as the roller coaster ride begins, let me say with all sincerity that, if I can help you in any way, give me a yell. I never feel more fulfilled than when I am providing a service to people - it's the cloth I'm cut from. Roll your eyes if you must, but it is what it is.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karyn,
You make two excellent points: one about the difficulty of making accurate predictions, and the second about our need for community, which may well be fulfilled online. Well said! Your post is different from a lot of the others, and I really like that.

The upsycho said...

Thanks, Claudia. I don't set out to be rebellious, but somehow, I usually seem to wind up swimming against the tide, or at least, branching off into a little side-sream all by myself.