Back in 1980, Alvin Toffler predicted the coming of the Information Age in his book The Third Wave. In the book, he stated that a lot of people would be working at home using a computer in the future. Well, 37 years later, it is happening. Many people work at home whether they work for a company or work for themselves.
It enables us to choose wherever we want to live, and that includes a rural area. Han No Han X (a lifestyle of a half farming and a half something else) which I talked about in the last post will be more easily done.
According to Alvin Toffler, the first wave was the settled agricultural society, and the second wave being Industrial Age society, and we are shifting from Industrial Age society to the third wave; Information Age society.
During the Industrial Age, many people left the countryside and moved to the city, and the city has been our center of culture since then. New York, Paris, London, and Tokyo have been leading our trend, and one has to be living in those cities to be part of this creative energy which influenced the world. It has been cool to be in the city.
I think it will change from now on. As many people move to the countryside, naturally creative activities will emerge in the countryside: There will be a lot of artists, writers, musicians, designers choosing to live in rural areas; hence the countryside will be the center of our culture.
This kind of rural town will be what I call a Satoyama city. People are living in Han No Han X ways, engaging in Satoyama economy and bringing in stimulus through their creative work. Regarding the population, it is still small as today’s town or village, but it can be defined as a city in a sense that it is a source of cultural trends. With I.T. we can easily transmit information to the world.
Since the size of each Satoyama city is small, there will be millions of them. Each place can be a source, so, fashion isn’t centralized. Decentralization will be one characteristic of the new era.
Some people predict that most people will be living in smart megacities in the future, but I don’t think it will happen since this idea lacks balance and holistic view of the world.
This is an extension of growth-oriented mentality which keeps chasing convenience. We do need a certain degree of convenience but not too much. We have already seen drawbacks of our smart life such as SNS addictions.
Truly smart cities are based in Satoyama and having a good balance of digital and analog elements. In the book Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity, I talked about the importance of mental and physical health; when you live in just the digital world, you will lose balance, hence won’t be able to have the right mindset to build utopias which include sustainability.
As a matter of fact, to shift to the age of Satoyama cities, we need to change our growth and convenience-oriented mentality to circulation oriented mentality. If we continue our so-called progress with the conventional success philosophy, we will destroy our planet no matter how much A.I.is installed. We need to learn to share our wealth with everyone and break away from this fast-paced-never-ending competition.
By the way, if it is too convenient, it is bad for our health. Do you want to know why?
Come back to this blog tomorrow.