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Why focus on Positive Y2K Breakthrough Possibilities?

Simple. It is the most meaningful, productive, realistic and fun option available to 99% of us.* One of the best things about it is that you find some really interesting people working for a breakthrough in this historic moment.

We have to remember that we aren't talking about choosing between positive breakthroughs, on the one hand, and business-as-usual on the other. We're talking about significant disruptions no matter what. (If you haven't already read the background material given in this website and elsewhere, read it soon.) The likelihood of things staying pretty much as they are is extremely small. Something is going to change, and it could change in some very big ways, quite rapidly.

So what might replace business-as-usual? The following alternatives are considered quite plausible by professional scenario-builders like Douglass Carmichael who make their living exploring the future with top government, military and corporate leaders:

Individualist survivalist approaches* to Y2K make the first two scenarios more likely: Since only a minority can or will attempt survivalist approaches (latecomers will pay dearly for every can of food and every inch of country real estate), and since those approaches drain energy from efforts to prepare strong communities, all those individual behaviors will add up to widespread disruption that will evoke authoritarian responses. And then, ironically, the powers-that-be in those first two scenarios -- or desperate city dwellers -- or other survivalists who've run out of supplies -- will probably invade any survivalist enclaves, making the whole survivalist effort an ugly, ultimately self-defeating exercise in futility. (See Why Community-Based Responses Make More Sense than Survivalism ) (Although I have to admit a few die hards may just make it, and they'll be left to carry on the race. Somebody has to do it, I guess. But it seems to me about as sure a bet as the California lottery -- and quite a bit messier.)

The only sensible choice, really, for the vast majority of us, is building strong, sustainable, democratic, ecologically wise, locally-oriented communities. Soon. Any efforts we make in this direction will pay dividends whether the disturbances of Y2K are short-lived or catastrophic.

For me personally -- and for anyone else interested in co-intelligence -- there's an additional benefit for taking a breakthrough approach to Y2K: Y2K is a great laboratory to explore how human collective systems (organizations, communities, governments, societies) go about trying to deal with a major problem that is complex and time-sensitive. What we learn here, and the capacities we build -- assuming we do learn something and do build some capacities -- will make a tremendous difference in how we handle future social problems. As founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute, it is hard for me to imagine a more fascinating problem (although I have to admit it is awfully big and there isn't much time!)...

-- Tom Atlee


* A very few exceedingly rich billionaires like Bill Gates may be able to buy, supply and successfully fortify lush tropical islands for their private colonization. That's the only survivalist approach that I can imagine working if significant breakdowns continue for more than six months. Everyone else who is holed up will be hunted down by other people hungry for resources (food, water, ammunition) or power. There's an awful lot of us humans and, if our socioeconomic infrastructure breaks down, we'll be everywhere. For better and worse, there is no place to hide anymore.

See also Ready for Chaos or Community? by Sharif Abdullah. Three very plausible scanarios of what could transpire on Jan. 1, 2000. The third is very inspiring.