"We're Looking for the Mouse!"

The title of this post is a quote from Clay Shirky's speech at the recent Web 2.0 conference: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus. But I think it could just as easily also be a cri de coeur in response to Tom Friedman's recent editorial, Who Will Tell the People?

Kevin Kelly actually placed even more significance, though, to the surprising success of Wikipedia, when he inserted the below image into a blog post earlier this year, with the caption, "A mind-grenade as iconographic for this generation as a nuclear bomb was for the last."

In fact, I think he may be much more right than he yet realizes. In "The Fourth Turning", the prediction is made, based on the 80-100 year inter-generational cycle in human affairs known since Ancient Roman times as a saeculum, or in modern times more often as a siécle, or sometimes simply a century, that we are today on the verge of the next great disruption in history, one on the order of Protestant Revolution; the American and French Revolutions; the American Civil War and Gilded Age; and the Great Depression, New Deal, and WWII. This last, of course, was the time that saw the development of the atomic bomb. Is it horribly reckless to hope that perhaps we are indeed on the cusp of another historic disruption of such magnitude?

Note: see also Kelly's most recent post, The Cell Phone Platform, too see why this is not just a bourgeois Western disruption. Especially as we anticipate the impact of WiMAX.

Note 2: see also Kevin Phillips' latest book, Bad Money, for a detailed description of another striking parallel to the last great disruption: a looming financial collapse on Wall Street. See also, Bourgeois Survivalism Hits Wall Street (accompanied by another mushroom cloud graphic!). Of course, you probably all remember Jim Cramer declaring "We have Armageddon", back in August, right? But don't despair—as Olga posted yesterday (thank Olga!), you can hear Rob Kutner, in person, later this month, read from his new book, Apocalypse How: Turn the End-Times into the Best of Times. That's right, put a big happy smile on that mushroom cloud!