Near Death Experiential and Our Increasingly Strange Future
Expect haunted houses, roller coasters, or puzzle rooms that can quite literally scare you to death (after you’ve signed the waiver) and marketing that’s so in your face, it could kill you.
Our vision of the future is very much informed by our current cultural landscape. As we work together to create a more tangible version of that world, it's important to understand how social systems are coalescing. That's why we've created the Elements of Culture, a networked collection of 80+ macro trends that define the world at large. Broken into humanity, aesthetics, science/technology, ideology and media, this framework serves to guide everything we do at sparks & honey. We've just released a report detailing 10 of the most important elements of culture for 2014 (and beyond!). As part of this exercise we've imagined the extremes of these trends, viewing their trajectory into the future. Here's a sneak peek of four big ideas reflecting how this future may come to be. For six more, make sure to check out the full report.
Near Death Experiential:
In an effort to cut through social noise and the declining ability to surprise people, marketing and entertainment companies will push the boundaries of human tolerance. Expect haunted houses, roller coasters, or puzzle rooms that can quite literally scare you to death (after you’ve signed the waiver) and marketing that’s so in your face, it could kill you.
Ultra Anonymous Living:
Cities will spring up that take anonymity to a logical extreme (in opposition to modern panopticons, like London and New York). Names will not be allowed, citizens will be required to wear masks at all times, housing will only be temporary, forcing residents to rotate where they call home. No one will ever card you at a bar, because no one will ever know you existed in the first place.
The Longest Con:
Faking is gaining steam as a tool to create buzz and conversation. As this movement escalates, new examples will be forced to grow more and more outlandish in order to compete. Expect a long con, international in magnitude that presents something unquestioned as fact as an elaborate marketing stunt – for example, the entire North Korean military regime being a fictional setup for the next installment of Mission Impossible.
The sharing economy and interest in microbes have evolved in parallel. Look for communities growing more comfortable with the idea of sharing each other's best microbes for health and wellness. Pioneering entrepreneurs will take advantage of this shift by building businesses that specialize in the sale of exceptional microbes to those who are deficient.
Nate Graham is a Cultural Strategist at sparks & honey, a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.
- Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
- Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
- While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.
For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.
A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."
Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.
Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.
As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.