When people are asked about the main sources of conflict in the world most often cited is religion, ideology, political, ethnic, and cultural differences. The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and its prevalence in the Arab Middle East, the conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, as well as resistance to immigration in Europe and the United States, stand as just a few examples. Such are only the most recent instances that are part of a long and tragic dynamic when people are faced with ever-shifting conditions leading to their personal sense of identity being challenged or put in conflict with other people’s sense of identity.
The frequently used metaphor of an onion is particularly applicable to a discussion about the growing demand for authenticity. While it represents a layer that tells us something, it does not reveal all that we need to know. Talk of authenticity is a superficial representation of identity, which in turn is a more surface representation of meaning, the true point of our interest. It is this which embodies what our lives mean, and it is this that we seek to preserve and protect from the winds of change.
The July 3, 2015 post “A Leisure Society Ready or Not” presented Transitionalism as the best approach; specifically as it relates to pending large scale unemployment due to automation, but more generally in how technology will impact our lives. I concluded the post with three points. The first, Transitionalism was the best solution because it embodies a value system that not only anticipates but applauds such a development. Second, comprehensive automation would allow people to devote their energies and time to improving themselves as human beings and society. Thirdly, if we are to derive the advantages offered us by such a development we need to shift from our tendency to do enough just to get by and begin setting higher expectations for ourselves and the society we live in.