ADD Expert Edward Hallowell Extends His Theories and Insights from the Specific to the General—And Concludes We’re Headed Pell-Mell Towards “Some Epochal Phase Change”

My buddy Paul Kordis of Fort Collins, CO forwards this excerpt from Edward Hallowell’s new work, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD:

Our peculiar times seem to be leading up to some epochal phase change, comparable to what happens to physical bodies when they reach a certain temperature or speed. How fast can we go, how busy can we get before we fundamentally change? Wherever we’re headed, we’re headed there fast.

We’ve heard predictions, most of which we ignore because we don’t know what else to do with them. Whether it’s economic distress due to global competition and our own overspending, or physical distress due to global warming and our own misuse of the planet, or pandemic illness due to a resistant virus, or political distress due to global power shifts and our own misuse of power, we are aware of the dangers that might soon cataclysmically change our lives for the worse….

Life today teeters on a pinnacle surrounded by a sea of uncertainty. And so it did well before 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Yet, buoyed by perhaps unreasonable optimism, we work harder than ever, trying to hold on to what we have and to make it better. You don’t see many people giving up. Just the opposite. Most people are working as hard as they can. Through hard work coupled with cockeyed optimism and smart decisions, we rise to the peculiar challenges of life today.

But the challenges are peculiar and daunting, more so than most of us realize. For example, how much do you really know about global warming? I didn’t know much, but because I wanted to get an expert’s view on an important issue I didn’t understand in order to show how busyness can keep a person (me) from keeping up with issues that really matter, I called Jim Anderson, professor of chemistry at Harvard and one of the world’s experts on climate. He told me he was “not sanguine” (that’s professorese for scared as hell) having looked at the latest data showing how much of the polar ice cap had already melted. As he went into the gory details, the part of my mind that can no longer hear about Big Problems I Can’t Solve went numb. And global warming is just one of the many challenges we face. AIDS. Resistant bacteria and viruses. Deforestation. A national debt like we’ve never had before, plus an emerging China holding so many of our notes. The unexplained rise in asthma, autism, allergies, and Asperger’s syndrome. Terrorism….

From physics to friendships, from cosmology to cameras and computers, from what we do and what our children do to how we keep track of what we do and how others keep track of us, from what your employer can promise you to the lifestyle you can expect, everywhere you look, what was familiar has changed. No one knows what will be, what to hold on to, and what to reject.

While politicians and policy makers offer simplistic solutions to calm our nerves and quiet us down, the wise among us know that this world is so complex and unpredictable that simplistic solutions will leave people lost, disappointed, and ill equipped to thrive in tomorrow’s world, like people who can memorize but who can’t think.

And a bunch of our most difficult problems, such as global warming, are likely to get worse. Sunday’s Los Angeles Times has a piece about how the economies of the developing world—in particular, China, India, Russia and Brazil—are growing at more than twice the rate of the economies of the developed nations. No one appears to be learning very much from the dangers demonstrated by the United States’ exploitation of the Achiever (as we call it at Brain Technologies) mindset, including we Americans. So, yeah, I’d have to agree with Dr. Hallowell that epochal changes have to be ahead. And the grim reality, when you look at nature’s trial and error engine of “creative destruction,” is that epochal changes leave a lot of living entities behind. The first major casualty of all this has been in the area of competent political policymaking and decisionmaking: generally speaking, our leaders—worldwide—are clueless.

Hallowell’s book can be ordered here: “CrazyBusy”. The LA Times piece is here: “Emerging Nations Powering Global Economic Boom”

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