Most human beings crave and need stability, normalcy and predictability. We want our job to be there tomorrow. We want out kids to be successful. We want our spouse to remain faithful in multiple ways. We want to know next year we will be able to take a vacation. Hell we want our daily commute not be impended.
Throughout mankind there has been eras of huge change as the human race invents and innovates. Prior to the late 20th and early 21st century the most previous episode was 100 years before. The electric grid, telephone, indoor plumbing, etc. enabled the Industrial Revolution. This caused the greatest migration in human history as well as millions of Americans trading in a farm life for an urban or what was early suburban life. Of course the change was not easy. Extended families became immediate families only. Many people lacked the needed job skills and became unemployable. Immigrants were not always a welcome addition and seen as taking away jobs that should go to Americans. We've been here before even though the particulars are different.
The inventions of the time were not always greeted so enthusiastically. Some considered the automobile and motion pictures the work of the devil. Automobiles, horses and carriages didn't make for a good combination. Some claimed listening to the radio would make a person deaf.
Moreover, with the dawn of the industrialized age there was ample opportunity for more power and accordingly ease of human exploitation and abuse. This of course started the movement of the Wobblies. They were the original organizers of unions and civil rights. It also ignited the federal government as the watch dog of the people.
Ultimately we suffered through a decade of great income inequality, a decade of economic depression and two world wars before a feeling of normalcy and stability returned. In fact for the first 20 years after WW2 we craved, honored and expected it. Being different was frowned upon.
The generational divide of the late 60s and early 70s was the chink in the armor of normalcy. Suddenly we as a nation began to question authority and stated values and standards even if it was tilted towards the under 30 group.
Over the years technology advanced. At first quite innocently, for example a computer now at work or one of the first desk tops at home which allowed you to nicely type papers, and not much else. Over time technology became all encompassing. By the late 1990s the Internet was completely changing how human beings communicated and interacted with each other. Technology changed the workplace. Human thoughts were replaced by cold data. Job skills changed from the ability to lead, manage and think to being able to understand programming, reading and organizing data.
Like the early 1900s this has caused great human discord but on a much grander scale because the same technology causing the anxiety magnifies it to a much higher degree. People worry and with good cause whether human beings will have the ability to live peacefully when they can be so disjointing virally. People wonder and again with good cause how in the world are they going to stay employed with skill demand changing so often.
In short, we've entered a period of upheaval and uncertainty and it doesn't fit in well with our natural discourse. We crave stability in a world that is becoming more and more unstable by the day.
In the many times before the human race adjusts, at least for a period of time. However, as the old saying goes past performance is not always a guarantee of future performance. Can we successfully adjust to a world in which to stay employed we must job hop every 2 to 3 years? Can we accept a much more violent world in which crimes of horror can happen in the best of communities? Will we be able to survive a world in which we are attached to others only in a viral sense?
The truth is no one knows. We are in unchartered waters. We also have a world economy that is built mostly upon debt. What will happen if massive defaults occur? How would we economically fare through a jubilee?
It's real scary times. We might not see it clearly but all of what occurs is interconnected. A young 19 year old man that guns down 17 of his peers is not a sole outlier. He is a piece of a bigger puzzle we've yet to come to terms with.
The last period took nearly half a century to concur. Even at that the period of smoothness was very brief and still filled with uncertainty (the assassination of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the violence of 1968). It could take another 50 years, some of those years filled with social revolts and revolutions to find an era of peace, prosperity, calming and assurance. And even that again will be filled with the horrible and the unexpected.