Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I'm considering the world from a different viewpoint these days. Do you ever thing about tipping points?
A woman at work loaned me this book.
The Tipping Point
She said I should read it because she considers me a "Connector". That's a good thing, apparently, and it's defined in this book as someone who makes many connections which then create the opportunities for inter-connections for the people in that group. In other words, I know a lot of people and I like to introduce them to other folks.
But what I'm also getting out of this is a realization that we're surrounded by tipping points. I tend to think of events as gradually building to a crescendo, but in reality, things build to a certain point, then they tumble madly together into an event.
The attack in Arizona: vitriolic rhetoric has been building since the Bush Administration - partisan anger reached a crisis point, and then tipped into violence. One sad, unbalanced, pitiful kid has destroyed his life and many others because he apparently bought into the zeitgeist. He came to believe that he had the right, maybe even the obligation, to kill.
This is not the start of a new day of peace and love. It's not over. The anger at Sarah Palin, the anger FROM Sarah Palin, it's there and building again. I read a thread on Facebook this morning that left my jaw hanging. The initial post called for reflection on the violence and the part that partisan rhetoric played in it - and specifically called for his friends in the Tea Party to find some middle ground with what he called the Bleeding Heart liberals.
The replies were astounding. The debate was played out right there, one comment after another, with escalating anger on both sides, accusation and the obligatory comments by someone who seemed, as we used to say, a few bricks short of a load. It was honestly scary.
Apply tipping points to anything - computers. They got small...a few folks got them, a few more...then everyone had them. Cellphones? Same. Fame? Most celebrities are "overnight sensations" - not because they suddenly started doing work, but because years of work hit a tipping point and suddenly everyone noticed. (The exception to this would be the fake celebrities of reality TV, of course.)
I don't have any wise conclusions on this - I'm honestly just surprised that I never thought of things this way. And once you see it, nothing looks quite the same again.
It certainly gives you a sense that you can see what's coming.