The Age of Transcendence

Everything has changed

It didn’t really start with the global financial meltdown of 2007-08. It just felt that way.

As was the case 100 years ago, political and economic uncertainty — change — is every day’s lead story.

And wide-spread change causes wide-spread anxiety.

The Age of Consumerism is transitioning into an Age of Transcendence, at least for western economies.

Materialism defined the 20th Century. The 50 years following the end of World War 2 saw greater consumption, of everything, than had ever occurred before in human history. Cars, homes, major electrical appliances, education, even food — conspicuous consumption captured almost all of us, and it drove our economy.

George W. Bush and President Obama each urged Americans to go out and spend money. Business was built around planned obsolescence and disposable goods. When it wears out, throw it away and buy a new model.

But even before the Great Recession, you could feel things beginning to change.

Sustainability is replacing consumption. The impact we have on our planet is giving us pause to reconsider how we live. More and more people are refusing to be defined by how much they make, what cars they drive, or how large their house is.

It’s early still, but it is discernable.

We are moving from the Mighty Me to the Global We.

And that should affect the way your station operates, the kinds of partnerships you encourage, and the voice of your community involvement.

Here’s some ways to get on the front edge of this wave of change:

I highly recommend the Ageless Marketing blog, which helped me focus on this subject, and which coined the term, Age of Transcendence (as far as I know).

You can also check out these books from your local library (saving trees) because each author speaks to this emerging trend…

Why We Make Mistakes by Joseph Hallanan
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer (about which I’ve blogged before)
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
and, Predictably Irrational by Daniel Airley (out long enough to have been revised)

Finally, just open your eyes and ears to all the conversations going on around you about waste, the environment, diminishing resources, and the increasing numbers of the mega-wealthy (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and even Mark Zuckerberg, still in his 20s) who have pledged to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity, to improving the common good.