We are living in the age of the high-speed wobble

Below is Whisper #45 from my latest book, 48 WHISPERS, which is a collection of photographs and personal meditations created across a decade of travel to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the surrounding northern plains. 

In 2001 nineteen militants associated with Al-Qaeda hi-jacked four airplanes and brought society to a sudden halt.

In 2008 the housing and mortgage markets collapsed, propelling the world into a perilous economic depression.

In late 2019 several visitors at a seafood market in Hunan Province, China, gave flight to a virus that would create a global pandemic.

We are living in the age of the high-speed wobble quote bubble.

That’s three destabilizing events of epic proportion in just two decades. None of them were predicted or forecast. In each case the world changed in a matter of months, weeks, and even days.

Scattered between these exceptionally disruptive events have been periods of general economic strength and prosperity. Stability to instability and back again; that’s the wobble of the twenty-first century.

What does this mean for human institutions like families, corporations, and nation-states? It means we all need to be ready to withstand a pause, navigate chaos, and adjust.

Under such circumstances, how does anyone build a personal or business financial model spanning a single decade? How does one plan for retirement? How do corporations forecast investments or plan for expansion? Debt and risk take on a new level of precariousness when the cliffs of destruction keep appearing without warning along an otherwise lovely country road.

We are all connected. There is nowhere to hide. Instability anywhere is instability everywhere. This is why we must slow down, move with thoughtfulness, and identify win-win strategies that benefit everyone. Either everyone’s okay or no one’s okay in the century of the high-speed wobble.