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Connections: Patterns of Discovery

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Every since the fl int axe triggered the Paleolithic Revolution over two million years ago we have lived by a culture of scarcity. Technology shortfall placed innovative capability in the hands of only a few: those who provided their hunter - gatherer communities with tools for hunting and butchering; then those who could read and write; then, much later, the small number adept in the mysteries of science. For most of history the vast majority of the community, illiterate and uneducated, were excluded.

As time passed, institutions emerged in response to the requirements generated by innovation. The organizational demands of the Paleolithic hunt shaped our top – down command structures. The Agricultural Revolution of ten thousand years ago provisioned the fi rst cities and triggered the emergence of our legal and political systems. The printing press established our national languages and created the modern state. The 19th century Industrial Revolution introduced our fi rst grade schools to train farmhands for the factory.

Every social institution in the modern world was set up in the past, with the limited tools of the past, in order to solve the problems of the past. Few of these institutions will survive what lies ahead, as the new Information Revolution gathers speed and strength, and drives accelerating rates of innovation faster than the old ways can manage. If we are to prepare for the coming radical social changes, at every level from the personal to the global, we must fi nd ways better to predict, and to organize ourselves accordingly.
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