Reactions to the Pace of Change

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Reactions to the Pace of Change

12 0 0 0Members ReportCOPENHAGENINSTITUTEF O RFUTURESSTUDIESReactions tothe Pace of ChangeNeo-Ritualizing and Third-Degree Reality


ContentsReactions to the Pace of Change- Neo-Ritualizing and Third-Degree RealityThesis 3Idea 3Introduction 4Complexity and Confusion 4Digital Pace of Change 5The Great Confinement 6The Natural Human Being- a Dying Species 8If it doesn’t kill you, it will cure you- and vice versa, too? 8The Fight for Attention 9Authenticity as a Tourist Attraction 9“Tourism” in Anti-modernity 9Adventure Tourism 9Stage Authenticity 10Stage Intimacy 10Wanting What’s Been Lost 11Happiness is What isn’t Availableat any Shopping Mall 12Reactions to the Pace of Change 12- History 12- Nature 13- Traditions 13Traditions – a Scarce Benefitin the Dynamic Civilization 14Stability as a Tool 14Up-to-date Traditions 15Viable and Non-viable Traditions 16Constancy of Flexibility 18Emotional Inscrutability 18Constancy of Rituals 19Scientific Rituals 19Rituals – the World Upside DownRebirthing the World 20The difference between weekdaysand holidays 20The Holy Place 20The basic formula for parties andseasonal holidays 20Rites of Passage 21Complexity and Risks– the Good Ones and the Bad Ones 22Illusion preparedness 22Unambiguousness – a scarce benefit 22“Product Revelopment” 23From given to calculated risks 24Is everyday life too dull? 24Attractive risks 25The risk gene strikes back 25Fictitious reality and realistic fiction 26The good part of the old and thegood part of the new 26Annexe 1: Invented Traditions 27Annexe 2: “Risk Society” 28Annexe 3: Judgement Stalled 29Appendix with diagrams 302 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


PrefaceReactions tothe Pace of ChangeThesisAt present we are faced with a high pace of change and complexity.If our attitude to this was “and that’s the way things are,” it would bevery easy. But the thesis of this report is that this is not so. We mustexpect a counterreaction. And it is already starting to show.This affects products and companies.When the pace of change accelerates, there will be counterreactionsin the form of needs for constants. Things that are what they have alwaysbeen and which may be relied on. Every day the media presentnews about things that are not what one would believe, that are notwhat they pretend to be. And furthermore, work is being done to alterthis state of things. We can define the pace of change as the numberof changes per time unit. Economic growth in Europe and the US –i.e. the technical and digital development – indicates an acceleratingpace of change.“Complexity” refers basically to the fact that everything surroundingthe Western human being is wrapped, developed, or debated. Basically,it is no longer possible to get one’s bearings simply by using one’ssenses, or to make anything from scratch. Technology has – at thesame time as it frees us from unwanted trouble, eases information andcommunication, and increases the individual’s scope of action – also“come between” consumer and goods, workforce and work, companyand customer.The futurist John Naisbitt has said that we spend half of our timemaking technology and the other half running away from it! Manymodern people dream of the simple life in the country, and forests aremore often sought out than theatres, libraries and cinemas. And holidaydestinations such as the wilderness, mountains and “untouched” natureare areas of growth. The counterreaction to complexity will, amongother things, be a search for “indigenousness.” When it comes to lowtechnologicalproducts, a growth in the market for products signallingorigin and authenticity is to be expected. Products that are easy torelate to as well as tools for experiencing stability and structure.With a little nerve, one could claim that rituals and holidays arescarce benefits because more or less everything goes and is possibleevery day: Food, wine, sexual intercourse, resting, fasting, shopping.There are no fixed schedules for doing this particular thing or thatparticular thing. How we divide up our time is individual and flexible.This reaction means that the focus should be on the fixed point ofthese changes. It is in relation to this fixed point that the company,the member of staff and consumer must be flexible.There is a need for mission statements and rituals that pinpoint the value,the purpose or reality in its extreme consequence. – “Because thereit’s more visible,” as the artist Asger Jorn has put it!C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E SMembers ReportNo. 1, 2000Prepared by theCopenhagen Institutefor Futures StudiesIdea and TextSigne AggerbeckCIFS ContributorsKristina SøgårdRolf JensenAxel OlesenCarsten BeckTroels Theill EriksenMartin StauberThanks toPeter EngbergElse Marie KofoedThomas MilstedKurt KørnerErik A. NielsenArt directorOle Gravesenwww.graphicdesign.dkPrintingTegnestuenThe Copenhagen Institutefor Futures StudiesMarch 2000M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 03


IntroductionThe more reflective one’s attitude towards life is,the more it seems that values and lifestyles arethings that are up for decision. Life is no longerunambiguous or simple. People can experiencethemselves as tourists between lifestyles, and lifeas something they have to form an attitude torather than participate in naturally.The sociologist Dean MacCannell has claimed thatmodern lifestyle with a high pace of change, freedomin relationships and a choice of values pavesthe way for “tourism as a way of life.” Life becomeslike watching oneself on a stage with props andscenery which might have been different – andperhaps should have been. A plot which is notnecessarily as interesting as the others’. Authenticitybecomes an experience – not a way of life.“Primitives who live their lives totally exposed totheir “relevant others” do not suffer from anxietyabout the authenticity of their lives…” ”The oppositeproblem, a weakened sense of reality, appears withthe differentiation of society into front and back.Once this division is established, there can be noreturn to a state of nature. Authencity itself movesto inhabit mystification 1) .The authentic life becomes an unattainable ideal,which the modern human being only dreams about.In fact, we have lost it, but may – ideally – win it back.Complexity and confusionGlobalization as well as information and communicationstechnologies mean that we are confrontedwith events in other parts of the world on a dailybasis. Complexes of problems we have no possibilityof making up our minds about or gaining experiencefrom. A large part of reality is thus handeddown to us by way of filters.We could call this phenomenon “illusion preparedness.”What is the news on biodiversity in SouthAmerica, the hole in the ozone layer, gangs in theBronx, or the working conditions of Finnish doctors?It would be difficult to form an attitude to all theseproblems if it were not for expert statements andassessments.1) Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976; University of California Press, 1999) pp. 93-1054 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


There are hundreds of processes between consumerand coffee shrub and between the live pigand the sausage. Even something as relatively lowtechnicalas a ball-point pen is impossible for its userto produce. If a photocopying machine breaks downor the server is down, we have to call a specialist.Specialists install, maintain and replace the toolswe use every day. In the same way, specialists andexperts tell us about the state of nature, the “evil”and “good” of war, healthy diets, dangerous foodstuffs,and critical political regimes. We tend to be“amateurs” in our own houses.“Product revelopment”The world becomes dull. Everything is “been there,done that,” the barriers have been broken down, andmost things are possible. If not in reality, then in virtualreality. And this distinction is already crumbling.In some areas, and for certain segments, theprinciple is “product revelopment.” Making productseasy to relate to. Products that make you feel comfortable.Glasses blown by mouth, tableware with theuser’s personal mark, a ball-point pen “the colourof plastic” (i.e. pastel, the colour of the first plastic)seems more “right,” unspoiled and “original.”The mark of origin becomes visible. And it seemssimple.Digital pace of changeThe fundamental “laws” governing digitalizationsuch as, for instance, Moore’s Law and Gilder’s Laware defended more vigorously than laws passed inparliaments. According to Moore’s Law, a microprocessor’scalculation capacity doubles every 18months while the price is halved. At the moment,this is rather true every 12 months. According toGilder’s Law, bandwidth is tripled every 12 months.A consequence of this development is the possibilityof communication irrespective of time and place.Today, e-mails and video conferences almost makethis possible, but in a few years from now it will probablyalso be possible for many companies and citizensusing virtual-reality equipment and the like,to create a feeling of almost being present at themeeting in Tokyo or almost being on a beach inPolynesia. Our five senses are digitalized or in theprocess of becoming so. Visual sensations and soundmay almost unproblematically be transferred digitally.When it comes to the sense of touch, “gloves” arebeing made (at the MIT Media Laboratory, amongother places) which make it possible to feel somethingthat is half-way around the world.Scent can be transferred digitally (www.digiscents.com),and so can taste. Even intuition is being digitalized.Recently an Israeli software programme(http://bschool.huji.ac.il/templates/) was placedwell in a competition about who could make thebest advertising concepts. When these technologiesare integrated and probably become more or lessavailable on the Internet, the world is literally at ourfingertips. And not just the present physical worldbut also the possibility of travelling in time and place.The pace of change is supported by the continuouseconomic growth. 2)Freeing ourselves from traditional human and physicallimitations may now be overcome on apparentlylarger scales than ever. From this point of view, ahuman life without digital props seems rather limited.Reactions to the pace of changeThis report takes a shot at pinpointing what happenswhen the pace of change is high. The first part takesits starting point in the changes caused by urbanizationand high-speed technological change, such asthe longing for what is genuine. The second partcontinues this complex of problems, examininghow technology makes the natural human beinginto a dying species. Both what is natural and whatis genuine is something we may only glimpse, forinstance as tourists. A kind of leitmotif is – as theheadline for part three reads – “Wanting What’sBeen Lost.” The report goes on to describe variousways in which that which has been lost is attemptedregained in modern society. In part four, history,nature and traditions are suggested as ways in whichoriginality can be preserved in modernity. Traditionsare also the subject of part five in which the messagereads that traditions can been viewed as a tool forcreating stability in the dynamic civilization in whichwe live. Part six elaborates on this dynamic, whichis about constancy for flexibility because flexibility– despite its many qualities – makes it difficult tomaintain one’s identity. Finally, in part seven, thereport explains how rituals can stage and functionas a focus in the complex society. In conclusion,the report provides examples of how the consumerseeks confrontation with the risks inherent in complexity.C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S2) Please refer to Appendix with diagrams, Diagram 4M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 05


The Great Confinement1500-1840HorsesSailing-boats1850-1930The steam engineAfter having worked with urbanization and developmentof pace in the fields of transportation and telecommunicationfor many years, the French urbanplanner Paul Virilio predicts that we are about toexperience a heavy loss.The loss of our bodies, of local space, of distances,and of the sensation of nature’s immensity. Our mentalpicture of the world will be reduced when we cantravel halfway around the world in 14 hours. Withsupersonic aircrafts, it will take even less time. Thethreat is the great confinement: the globe in miniatureinside one’s head…and having it constantly overflown.The original dimension is raped and ruins the “planetaryhuman being,” who mentally loses the earth. 3)Boeing is carrying out research in the future conceptof “High Speed Civil Transport” – an aeroplanethat will be capable of transporting 300 passengersat Mach 2.4, i.e. around 3,000 kilometres per hour.Such an aeroplane will be able to fly from CopenhagenAirport to, for instance, Casablanca or Cairoin one hour. The flying time to Arlanda Airport orGardermoen, for instance, would be roughly 12minutes. According to Boeing (www.boeing.com) thenumber of flown personal kilometres has doubledworld-wide during the course of the latest 15 years.Boeing’s current 20-year prognosis predicts a 4.7 %annual growth in passenger flights based on an assumedannual global economic growth rate of 2.8 %.This will cause air traffic to be doubled once againin 15 years’ time. 4)1950sPropeller-driven aircrafts1960sJet planesThe World is Shrinking● 39 %, i.e. 150 million people, of WesternEurope’s population of 388 million, own mobilephones (more than 50 % of the Danish populationown mobile phones). 850 million peoplehave permanent Internet connections.● Many people predict that as early as 2003,there will be more mobile Internet connections(mobile terminals with far greater capacity thanthe largest mobile phones today) than stationary(PC, television, etc.).● Mobile terminals with SIM-cards can beused as navigational instruments, and it will bepossible to place the carrier with the accuracyof 10 metres. It will be impossible to hide orbe out of reach as long as one is online.According to Virilio, the technological connectionswhich provide telepresence are working quietly tomake us definitively lose our own bodies in favourof the virtual body: The ghost appearing in the“TV-pane.”Reality shrinks, virtual reality grows. The consequencewill be that physical presence disappears in favourof an immaterial and ghost-like presence. In reality,we love distance, to be able to move on quickly,but what we seek at a distance should appear to bepresent and genuine!“Implementing absolute speed…shuts us inside theworld…we will soon feel confined…I believe thattechnologies are causing us to lose our own bodiesin favour of a ghost-like body, and our own worldsin favour of a virtual world.” 5)Telepresence delocalizes the body’s position. Onthe Internet, our experiences are the same independentlyof where we live, who we are with, andwhether we are in good or bad shape. Virtual realitynegates the unity of here and now: Here is cancelledout in favour of a global, virtual now.Letting oneself be formed in youth by travellingand experiencing alternatives to localculture will become different. Much is alreadyknown to us, cultural differences willmore often tend to be religious attitudes,or viewpoints, rather than local culturalgeographicdifferences.3) Paul Virilio, Cybermonde, la politique du pire: entretien avec Philippe Petit (Paris: Editions Textuel, 1996).The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies’ translation.4) See the diagram “Number of flight passengers,” Appendix with diagrams, Diagram 25) Paul Virilio, Cybermonde, la politique du pire: entretien avec Philippe Petit (Paris: Editions Textuel, 1996).The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies’ translation.R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


1086420BillionsWorld UrbanizationUrban populationRural population1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030Source: World Development Indications, 1999Unlike prisoners, people are not confined in cages,but confined because of the speed of digital presenceand the superfluity of any physical movement.80 % of the French population live on 20 % of thearea. In 1997, 85 % of the Danes lived in towns, 77 %of all Europeans live in urban areas. The concentrationis increasing. The economist blames the increase inwelfare, which many people connect with towns.Virilio finds the reason to be that people are attractedto the possibilities of the town and therefore alsoto the virtual town, the town of telecommunicationsand the Internet. The town is on the verge of implosion.At the same time, households are becomingsmaller. In 1991 the average household in Denmarkconsisted of 2.2 persons, and in all of Europe, 2.6 6)Physical communities – living together, shoppingat the same places, performing the same tasks – aredisappearing. The exchangeable, regularly chosen,as well as the “absent” communities – those onebelongs to as multimedia subscriber and consumer– are growing.Virilio thinks that after having achieved real time(the presence of all events adjusted and in virtualreach of each other, i.e. when all time on earth maybe synchronized) we run into a barrier. From thispoint, we will no longer be able to accelerate. Andthen we will have to return to the spatial towns andto physical presence.According to the Danish scientific journalist TorNørretranders, digitalization means that absencebecomes widespread and cheap to the degree thatreal analogous presence will rank as something special7) Seeing the actual person or the musical instrumentplaying, sensing the smell of the salespersonone speaks with.Demand for what happens only onceand right here!The catch in connection with digital presence is thatalthough one slowly closes in on it, one will neverreach it. It is not there!The loss of being there is already showing: Ontheir dream holidays, people seek out beaches andjungles void of technology, unity of time and place,and the presence of those that they, by the way,are spending their lives with!76 % of interviewed Danes respond that “havingtime for each other (children, family, friends)” is avery important incentive for their holiday.When the physical world of atoms is known and overrun,there will probably be an increasing demandfor other dimensions to travel and have first-timeexperiences in.This could be in the form of• Inwardly – soul trips, dream worlds, own history,childhood extension, and crossing psycho-therapeuticdemarcation lines. You test your own DNA,guess its structure.• Virtual reality – computer games, HoloDeckworlds. Perhaps the computer-generated superintelligencewill be able to create worlds that willsurprise and fascinate us at the same time.According to http://www.hedweb.com/nickb/superintelligence.htm, computer intelligencewill exceed human intelligence in ca. 2005.In 2010, computer intelligence will be 10 timesthat of human intelligence.• Fantastic fairy tales in all shapes and forms.Imagine that you board a ferry from 1930 and sailto an island where everything takes place as itdid back then. The town on the island is Darrowbyand the day ends with a pint at the Drovers’ Arms.• Secret, non-traceable worlds where real-timeexperience is all there is. No films, no securityguards, no extras.• Renewable experiences: Constant places, interests,products with ever-new experiences speciallytailored for precisely this day, new scientificinventions, new experiments. An immediateexample is the delivery of the season’s vegetables.You always receive the same amount at the sameprice, but the content varies. Theme days andweeks.6) Eurostat Yearbook 19977) Article entitled “Nærvær fås ikke på computer” [Computers Provide no Presence] in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende,December 18, 1999C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E SM E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 07


The Natural Human Being– a Dying SpeciesVirilio visualizes an invalidation of the human beingwhen nanotechnology can support a person’s memoryusing minicomputers, genetic improvements andcapacity prostheses. “Technology colonizes the bodyof the human being as it has colonized that of theearth. Motorways, railways, and flight paths havecolonized the territorial body by organizing it. Onlynow, the human body is being threatened by micromachines…Technologywill reduce all living matter’sabilities by pretending to complement and assistthem.” 8) Virilio calls this “the prosthesis humanbeing.”Correspondingly, the British futurist IanPearson from British Telecom thinks that in50 years’ time we will no longer be humanbeings. Our genetic material will long be outdatedsimply because the fittest, as always,will survive, and the fittest will be those whohave replaced traditional human “equipment”with biotechnological medicinal and digitalequipment.This technical support will in much better ways thantoday remove unwanted consequences of “havinglived” such as symptoms of ageing, unwanted fat,and illnesses.Medicine can already penetrate DNA and interactwith the body’s circulation and will be able to do soto an even higher degree. 9) Biotechnology and medicinecan reinforce normal processes and will be usedby people who by today’s standards would pass ashealthy.Physical and psychological abilities will becomea commodity which makes our surrounding “reality”a very variable quantity. Authentic breasts and unmanipulatedgood moods will only sporadically bewhat makes up reality.Considering that computer intelligence in thefuture will exceed human intelligence, and that we,to an increasing degree, will be able to manipulatethe abilities of the human being, there is hardy anydoubt that we will occupy ourselves with brain-buildingand mind-building as well as body-building.We will “work out” in order to be able to make it inthe future, and it might even be acceptable to takeadvantage of various kinds of “steroids” to improveour intelligence or capacity. A direct interconnectionwith computer power is an obvious possibility. All inall, there are many things that point to our presentperception of the human as being something uniquebeing somewhat strained in the future. The geneticdifference between a human being and a chimpanzeeis less than two %, which is less than the differencebetween a horse and a zebra.If it doesn’t kill you, it will cure you- and vice versa, too?It is suspiciously easy to avoid radical, extreme situations,taxing on one’s strength, or working oneselfto death. Our attitude towards life is not in thebalance. This means that we only really know ourselvesand our work superficially. The sociologistRichard Sennett calls this “opaqueness.” “Whenthings are made easier for us…we become weak.Our relationship to work becomes superficial becausewe lack an understanding of what we are doing.” 10)When all we know about ourselves is the immediate,the easy and the comfortable, it may not be enough!Sennett’s example is discontinuous work, where theprocesses involve prerequisites and consequenceswhich we have no previous experience with. If thelevel at which we work is too superficial and discontinuous,it becomes boring and anonymous.Sennett’s thesis is supported by the increasingdemand for psychologists. In Denmark alone, thenumber of psychologists in private practice has grownenormously over the latest decades, and from 1997to 1999 the number has doubled to almost 700.8) Paul Virilio, Cybermonde, la politique du pire: entretien avec Philippe Petit (Paris: Editions Textuel, 1996).The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies’ translation.9) M.Sc., pharmacology, Ph.D. student Claus Møldrup, Den medicinerede normalitet [Medically-Induced Normality](Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1999)10) Sennett, Richard, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism(New York: Norton, 1998)8 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Seeing the foundationNobel Prize winner Sir Harald Kroto, who is a travellinglecturer on the crisis of science, complains thatwe no longer find the world interesting. We no longerspend time trying to grasp the wonders of technology.As the foundation of an ordinary weekday,we depend on many technological developments,the elements and functions of which we do not know,such as phones, artificial fibres of raincoats, and themechanics of the ball-point pen. Life has becomeso comfortable that we find it dull! In his opinion,schoolchildren should be forced to live one week,or a single day, in the 12th century, or in the 19thcentury, in order to realize what technology hasachieved. “Understanding scientific language is likereading one of the world’s great authors,” statesKroto.The fight for attentionThe price of digital cameras, and digital technologyas such, will drop so low that in the future it will bevery easy for amateurs, con artists and unwantedsalespersons to produce virtual or filmic productswhich resemble genuine products. President of CBSRobert Wussler estimated that in 10 years’ time theremight be millions of film producers and channels.Every day will be a constant fight for everybody’sattention, and it is possible that this will result in adisgust with the media. Some of the weapons willbe interactive TV shows. Watching TV all day longis boring – because it is one-way communication.Those who are children today will want to create TVand be creative on the computer. Passive feeding willcreate disgust. Viewers will want to be co-creatorsand actors. And soon this will be possible. Wusslerimagines the number of TV channels to be closer tofive million than 500 in 10 years from now.Lecturer in Psychology at Aarhus University,Thomas Nielsen, links the phenomenon of growingdemand for active participation to the need of individualattention. “The TV media is the candy-floss offame. It is the easy road to fame because seeminglyyou do not have to work very hard. You can becomea TV host…present tomorrow’s weather… Participationin the Robinson expedition [Danish TV show]and other island shows might be looked at as thebottom line of fame. Here it is possible to becomefamous just sitting around picking your toes andgoing hungry for a day or two on a deserted island”…“nobody can stop us from thinking that we are eachand every one of us great people who deserve tobe famous and looked up to by others. We becomemore and more self-centred because nobody isholding us back.” 11)Authenticity as a tourist attraction“Tourism” in anti-modernity:Urbanization, the accelerating pace of change, andindividual freedom have caused a continued growthin the entertainment value of, and the romanticismsurrounding, the contrasts to modern benefits:Romanticism surrounds that which is authentic,original, untouched and old. That which cannot bereproduced.Neither the Greeks nor the Romans had any ideaof progress. All progress equalled decline: It beganwith the golden age (Paradise) by way of Silver andBronze to the ultimately horrid Iron Age. That viewof history is ubiquitous today. If human beings havea tendency to idealize the time when they wereyoung and happy, or simply invent the present asthe cause of their disillusionment, there is alwaysgoing to be a market for other times. Maybe inparticular the past. (Because we may be absolutelycertain that it is not going to come back, and thereforeit does not demand that we do anything otherthan dream).Souvenirs and lampshades from a different placeor another time may be as ugly as they please, butthey remind us of experiences we once had.Not only time – place can also signalgood things such as1. A different world with greener grass2. A glimpse of the unknownApples from a particular region are special becausethey taste of their origin. The origin of place is anidentity factor which we can sense!Adventure tourismThe sociologist Dean MacCannell has claimed thattourism is the modern human being’s answer to pilgrimage.12) Modern human beings transport themselvesaround the world seeking authenticity. Beinga tourist is partly about seeing something new, partlyabout “uncovering” something different and gettingit. We seek life outside ourselves, among other reasonsbecause we want to expand our frame of referenceand our world. Uniformity bores most peopleafter a while, think of breaks in school every 45minutes, crises in even the best marriages and mostpeople’s need to change or upgrade jobs at certainintervals. As a survival strategy, the point of acquiringas many experiences as possible is that they arm onebetter against future experiences – there is simplya better chance of having tried something similarwhen one has “practised.”C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S11) Danish weekly Søndagsavisen, October 199912) Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (1976; University of California Press, 1999)M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 09


Stage authenticityBeing a tourist may be likened to contemplating astage. Just as we go to the theatre expecting toexperience something, we are surrounded by thetourism industry while travelling: Hotels, guides,brochures, prearranged bus tours etc. In our everydaylives we are surrounded by polite phrases,strategies and surfaces that shy away from conflicts.The most convincing experience for a full-bloodedtourist is the feeling of having moved further back onstage, perhaps even behind the scenery: The meetingwith a native who did not sell anything, who did notspeak English – a genuine Italian winegrower, a realchild of the streets, or a shy Muslim woman. The nonstagedscene where the staging is forgotten and wherethe attraction appears to be unaffected, natural andindigenous.Wine, cognac, whisky, cheese – foodstuffs inEurope and the US in general – which are presentedby a blushing local worker show the same authentic“credibility.”In actual tourism, package holidays are still themost common. However, it is interesting that duringthe 90s we began to express new motives for travelling.Whereas interviewed Danish travellers in 1987responded “relaxation” (66 %) and “doing absolutelynothing” (33 %), in 1997, a new category of motivationfor travelling appeared: “Experiencing a completelydifferent way of life” (57 %) and “visitingunspoiled places” (40 %). 13)Stage intimacyThis is also the case in restaurants. We are intimatewith the reality of the restaurant – staged as undisguisedreality – when we go with the cook in orderto choose our fish, when the waiter explains wherethe wine is bought in France and imparts to us hispersonal preference on the menu, which we, as his“friends,” may benefit from, too.This creates a demand for:Credibility and authenticity• Personal counselling such as service, staff thattake their time and are interested in answeringquestions.• Marks of local origin and explanations of thepositive differences.• Help in decoding specialities.• One-offs, hand-held cameras in all lines ofbusinesses.• Signalling origin: The virtual storewww.aarstiderne.com delivers vegetables at yourdoor. Every box of deliveries is season-dependent,the vegetables are described, as is the method ofcultivation, the environment, the preparation timeof the bread etc. The mission behind Aarstiderne[The Seasons] becomes an exciting acquaintancefor a customer, who also saves time and is giventhe opportunity to try new food.• Visible background variables: In sports this wouldbe either completely EPO-free competitions orcompetitions with the well-known backgroundvariables: Each competitor’s haematocrit, pulseetc. are available, and their performance is comparedwith the amount of dope involved. 14) Inretailing and provisions: Declarations describingall (relevant or interesting) product ingredients,all involved technologies, and the working environment.Cameras set up in the various parts ofproduction. Take an ice cream, for example:The ingredients being mixed, the plump and happystaff, and the island of the vanilla flower etc.• Participation: Anne Mette Olesen’s farm eggswhich are worth 4 DKK [£ 00.30] more thanordinary eggs bought at the store because thecustomer has to collect the eggs in the nestherself.The ecological wave in the beginning of the 1990sgave us – apart from the absence of fertilizers andapart from being – in principle if not in actual practice– more environmentally and animal friendly – a knowledgeof the background variables which make foodstuffsinteresting. Suddenly every product was enrichedwith a story. There were values to consider andthe consumer had a feeling of shopping in morethan one sense – of being able to affect things andmake a difference. This product characteristic canbe transferred to other groups.13) Analysis of Danish Travelling 1998, Danish Tourist Board, June 199814) This has actually been proposed by, among others, M.Sc., pharmacology, Claus Møldrup, The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy,author of Den medicinerede normalitet [Medically-Induced Normality] (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1999)10 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Wanting What’s Been LostWhen something becomes easy we tend to lose interestin it and be less fascinated by it. The feeling of everythingbeing “been there, done that” devaluates experiences.Ordinary events become banal and welong for discovering something on our own, forrediscovering something as being big, somethingwhich makes a difference. We will begin to long tomove beyond what is ordinary and banal.What everybody can obtain becomes banal.Consumption rises and interest drops.In cultural history, there are plenty of examples ofhow we always start dreaming about that which isnot at hand. The desirable is that which is rare, andthe fact that something is threatened makes it attractiveand worth preserving.In Western societies with material excess, youngpeople suffer from eating disorders, architects prescribeminimalism and the number of holidays todeserts, monasteries and Iron Age centres haveincreased relatively.Padding and material abundance provoke counterreactions:One example is that the Danish socialsafety net has never before been so well structuredand many-jointed: Hospitals, maternity and paternityleave, maintenance, welfare, counselling etc. Privately,we may insure ourselves against everything fromtheft to weak wrists. But never before have so manypeople played high-risk sports and suchlike. Artistsand commercial interests work full time to cross thefinal taboo that could affect us just the tiniest bit, suchas exhibiting stuffed puppies, butchered pigs in glasscases, or AIDS victims, robbers and murderers wearingBenetton garments on 20 X 25 metre posters inTimes Square.Young and old, same sex or not, can marry, divorce,have children or not. Moral prejudice and authoritiesregarding what one ought to and ought not to do areon the decline. And it is in this development that wecan trace a search for more traditional patterns, forcultivating tradition – at least at the level of experience:Old-fashioned weddings, home-cooked food,and political correctness. Destiny is something wedefine ourselves, but in the theatre we still find itmoving to experience two people in love, unable tofollow their hearts.With the increase of urbanization, nature becomesa still more attractive holiday destination. 80 % ofScandinavians respond that “enjoying nature” is animportant incentive for travelling. 15)Parallel to industrialization, a solution was found tothe problems caused by the population density intowns – catastrophic firebombs, illnesses, verminand terrible living conditions – namely, incorporatingnature into the towns in the form of parks. (Lifein the country was presumably worse, however,the benefits of country living were badly needed).The sociologist Anthony Giddens argues that regionalismand religious and ethnic fundamentalism areproducts of globalization. When everything is apparentlygeared towards globalization, regionalismand fundamentalism appear as counterreactions. 16)Thus, globalization results in re-ritualization. In the24-hour society of convenience stores, flexible workinghours and opening hours of day-care centres,and constant life on the Internet, florists, fishmongersand gift shops experience a new enthusiasm forchoosing positively to celebrate traditional holidays.In Denmark in the year 2000, florists expect tosell as many flowers on St. Valentine’s Days ason the old favourite, Mother’s Day, althoughSt. Valentine’s Day was only instituted as atradition by the florist business in 1995, andMother’s Day has been around for more than70 years. 17)During Whitsun in 1999, the Danish fishingindustry re-launched an old tradition in an attemptto renew our interest in eating fish. The fishing businesscame up with their own Whitsun Package dealwhich caught 70 % of the Danish people’s attentionand resulted in a definite, periodical increase in turnovers.18)Protestant families now find it amusing to walkaround the churchyard holding lighted candles onHalloween, despite their dead being buried in otherparts of the country and their own disbelief in eternallife and resurrection.Diagram of how the futuretown – the Garden City –incorporates the good fromthe country into the goodfrom towns in Sir EbenezerHoward’s Tomorrow(London, 1898)C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S15) Analysis of Danish Travelling 1998, Danish Tourist Board, June 199816) Anthony Giddens, Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives (New York: Routledge, 2000)17) Mother’s Day was instituted as a national holiday in the US in 1914 by President Wilson. It was instituted in Denmark in 1929.Originally, this day had a social purpose insofar as the profits from the sales of flowers were to go to poor and single mothers.This was soon forgotten, but perhaps the principle should be reinstated in order to take the sting out of the criticism of commercialization?In Denmark the day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, in Sweden on February 9, in Norway on the last Sunday of May,and in England on Mid-Lent Sunday.18) Press statement from the fishing industry issued in June 1999 and Detailfiskehandleren [a fishmongers’ newsletter] No. 6, December 1999.M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 011


“Happiness is What isn’t Availableat any Shopping Mall”A decrease in the demand for heating, anti-depressants,liver operations, or cold counters is hardly tobe expected. But the demand for the natural, theindigenous and, above everything else, for alternativeoptions will increase.The number of health food stores has increased sincethe 60s, the number of societies for the conservationof nature has increased, 19) young medical studentsdemand alternatives to chemical medicine, and thesales of ecological goods are stable. Since 1988, thenumber of ecological farms in Denmark has increasedfrom 219 to 3300 in 1999, in 1999 the production ofecological milk was 393 million kilos as opposed to39 million kilos in 1993, and the stock of ecologicalhens has risen proportionally from 11,693 in 1989to 495,497 in 1998. 20)In The Dream Society, Rolf Jensen describes howour need for having goods told and staged should beintensified and connected with the experience ofauthenticity, rawness, ecology etc. 21) The importantaspect is here to get the feeling of having “dirtiedone’s hands,” of dealing with an exciting reality, andof facing a huge drama.The culture critic Hans Magnus Enzensberger writesin an essay on luxury about reminiscences of abundance:“Luxury has…fallen prey to entropy, to thelaws that govern the equalization of extremes, tosimilarity and uniformity. In all former societies,abundance and wastefulness were the exceptionto the rule. But exactly the fact that luxury left alleveryday norms behind was the reason for its gloryand prestige. Mass production has secured its greatesttriumph and simultaneously signalled its decline…The morgues of luxury are either called Duty FreeShop or Shopping Mall.” 22)Having accounted for how we always turn our backson everything that is abundant – luxury negates itselfin the sense that what is owned by everybodycannot be seen as being special or interesting anylonger – Hans Magnus Enzensberger describes theluxuries of the future as being: “New priorities…scarce,rare and expensive benefits, elementary living conditionssuch as peace and quiet, clean water and adequatespace…Future luxuries part with that which issuperfluous and strive for the necessary, which wemay fear will only be at the disposal of a happy few.What really matters is not on sale in any Duty FreeShop”… Hans Magnus Enzensberger then speaksof: Time, attention, space, peace and quiet, environment,and security.“The future of luxury is not, as formerly, acquiringmore, but acquiring less, not piling up, but peelingoff. It will no longer demand an audience, rather itwill exclude it. Its logic will be just that: to becomeinvisible. In such a withdrawal from life, luxury wouldseem to remain faithful to its origin because it hasalways been warring with the principle of reality.”In many cases this means that a smaller amount willbe offered at a higher price.“Our lives today are marked by ubiquitous plumbing,central heating and music from loudspeakers, and bymankind being healthier and having a longer life expectancythan before. But the important things in life arestill birth and death, love and friendship, loyalty andother people, and the feeling of using oneself well inlife. And in that sense we are no different from peopleliving 200 years ago,” Tor Nørretranders thinks similarly. 23)Reactions to the pace of changeThe past stirs sentimentality in us when it is so distantthat it is almost gone, and in no way presses itselfupon us.We have several ways in which we preserve originalityin modern society. Three categories could be:History, nature and traditions.HistoryMuseums are places where “the authentic” is preserved.Either because it is old or because it is rare. In 1961,7.5 million DKK were designated to preservation on theDanish annual budget, and this amount had increased to471 million DKK in 1998. Preserving the past grows proportionallywith the acceleration of the change of pace.Insisting on identity by way of historic behaviouris an example of seeing the historically original asbeing better, as possessing something which itwould be disastrous to lose.In Denmark, modern families are queuing up to livein the Iron Age. The Iron Age is represented by theIron Age Village in the Lejre Experimental Centre inLejre, Denmark, where families can live almost aspeople did then. That is, without rubber boots, stoves,refrigerators, or electric lighting etc.. Today thereare about 30 places in Denmark that attempt to bringhistory to life with workshops, reconstructions andplays about the Middle Ages.19) The number of members of The Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature went up from 50,000 in 1974 to 270,000 in 1988.Since then, the number of members has dropped steadily. But this should be viewed as the failure of the passive form of associationsrather than a lack of interest in nature. Source: Lars Bo Petersen, The Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature.20) Eco Web Denmark: Ecological farming in numbers – http://ecoweb.dk/tal/2ba.htm – and a listing of ecological farms with milk quotas.21) Rolf Jensen, The Dream Society: How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination will Transform your Business (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999)22) Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Zig Zag: The Politics of Culture and Vice Versa (1997; New Press, 1999)23) Article entitled “Nærvær fås ikke på computer” [Computers Provide no Presence] in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, December 18, 199912 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


An interviewed test person at an Iron Age centresaid, “I got in touch with certain primitive instincts”…”When I am dressed in my historical costume I feeldifferent, not set back in time, but different in myroots. I feel Iron Age-like” – implying that this ispositive and authentic. 24)“These families of the past feel that they becomecloser to themselves, and that adults hand down truevalues to children: respecting things, knowing thatthey do not come easily but that one has to workfor them. That it is important to know where thingscome from, to help each other, to work together andenjoy what is at hand…touching the soil, what isright, healthy, growth, the crop, and the elements,”says anthropologist Johanne Steenstrup.One of the obvious benefits of a trip to the Iron AgeVillage is that reality becomes more transparent. Itbecomes more simple and one’s identity more apparent:It becomes obvious which skills and talentsone possesses. A good inventor or an expert on herbsand berries is respected. Families notice whetherother families’ children participate in the chores.The wave of nostalgia and retro comes also underthe heading of history: Selling the old days, even theBronze Age: The Aurion Bakery has launched a newcereal product, spelt. This cereal is treated as itwas 3000 years ago, and archaeologists have foundremnants of it from the later Bronze Age.At the end of the 90s, the UN opened an office forindigenous peoples and their rights. Primitive peoples’living conditions must be preserved at the lastminute or else there will be nothing left to preserve.NatureAs an apparent counterreaction to the large amountof time spent on digital distance-presence, Europeansincreasingly choose nature as their favourite sparetimewhereabouts, despite the fact that the numberof free-time activities in general has increased.• Whereas 90 % of the Danes visit the forest at leastonce a year, only 57 % visit the library, 45 % thecinema, and 32 % the theatre. Visitors to the forestemphasize the attraction of the silence. 25)• The hurricane in Northwest Europe in December1999 caused tumultuous reactions. Nature ruled,and its savagery was top news for a little while,and a rare experience.Biodiversity is threatened. Rain forests are replacedby deserts, and more and more species are either extinctor seriously endangered. Dying species are worthpreserving. The exception being diseases and bacteria,which we are fighting hard to conquer. Genetic technologywill advance certain genes and restrain others.But generally speaking, a selected part of biodiversityis worth preserving. And so we do so, in botanicalgardens and nature reserves. Botanical gardenshave set up banks for seeds and genes with the purposeof preserving threatened and rare plants. Dueto a special treatment, these seeds may keep theirviability and germinability over hundreds of years. 26)A Swedish survey from 1992 shows that childrenin nature kindergartens do better than children inordinary town kindergartens. Their well-being ismeasured in fewer sick days, better motor skills, anda better ability to concentrate. American scientistshave shown a parallel between well-being and nature.“Patients hospitalized in ordinary wards with a beautifulview of nature were in less need of pain-killingmedication and were discharged earlier than thosein wards without view of nature. Other scientists haveworked with nature as a “healer” of an increasinglycommon ailment called “psychological exhaustion”which is thought to originate from information overloadof the brain! People suffering from this diseasewere declared completely healthy after a stay in thewilderness!” 27)Considering the increase in visits to nature, naturekindergartens, and the free-time phenomenon of “enjoyingnature,” the psychologist William Hammit thinksthat inherent in this urge for the wilderness are needsfor psychological recreation. These are basically allcounterparts of modern city life. Two of these are:- Emotional relaxation: nobody watching orassessing one – a need which does not exactlyseem to be experiencing favourable winds withcheap network cameras in most public places.- Finding oneself, and one’s wishes, by way ofsolitude, because solitude is thought to stimulateone’s sense of self and self-respect. 28)C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S24) Article entitled “Jeg kom ind til nogle urinstinkter” [I Got in Touch With my Primitive Instincts] in Danish newspaper Weekend Avisen,September 17, 199925) Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute26) The idea of conserving nature arose simultaneously in a number of European countries and the US, which opened their first nationalpark in 1872. In Denmark, the Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature was founded in 1911, and the first law governing natureconservation was passed in 1917. This law was concerned with the protection of unique landscape values and the creation of recreationalareas for citizens. The Danish Outdoor Council was established in 1931, the World Wildlife Fund in 1961, and Greenpeace in 1971.In 1972, UNSCO was established with the purpose of protecting the world’s cultural and national heritage. Since 1989, the work carriedout by the Danish Ministry of Environmental Affairs to preserve nature has been supplemented with a new concept of “nature restoration.”In 1989, the UN adopted a resolution of biological diversity.27) http://www.dn.dk/natur_miljo/natborn.html28) http://www.isnet.com/home/getlost/kelly.html as well as article entitled “Isolation is the Answer” in Get Lost Adventure Magazine,getlost@isnet.comM E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 013


Traditions – a Scarce Benefitin the Dynamic CivilizationIn dynamic civilizations, traditions become a scarcebenefit. This happens because quick changes,improved procedures and fast development areexactly what being dynamic means, and traditions,in a certain sense, represent slowness. They arerepetitions, marked by routine and set patterns.They are that which is already known.Traditions are separate from habits because theyare ritualized behaviour, i.e. they are conscious,symbolically accentuated behavioural patterns thatare consciously repeated. 29)Apparently all traditions have been created becausethere was a need for them. And they also dieout as soon as the users no longer are able to identifythemselves with them, or are forced to use them. 30)Which traditions are alive?Those whose rituals are alive?Gospel services in the US attract large audiences,and so do Catholic Masses and Mosques. But this isnot so in the Protestant churches.Although the Protestant service is also a “festival,”the festivities are invisible and the rituals difficult tocatch sight of. The service features a sermon resemblinga minister’s soliloquy, some singing and organplaying. And only few participants attend. Only atChristmas and christenings when the festivities areobvious, and the myths and values are spelled out,is there a full house. At these times, we understandwhat is going on and what is being celebrated.In order that a tradition may live on and that ritualsmay be performed, the participants must truly beparticipants, i.e. recognize the symbolic content.A father who does not see the purpose of behavingat the table, of saying evening prayers, or cuttingdown a Christmas tree will not be able to hand thesetraditions down to his children as viable traditions.A company’s workers do not know how to celebratea success if they do not understand what isbeing celebrated or why. The purpose of a party ora ritual must either be desirable or evident for theparticipants if they are to be seen as participants.And without participants, there would hardly beany party.At sporting events, the participants are often dedicatedfans, and they certainly know how to party.They have rituals such as “the Mexican wave,” yelling,singing, and drinking beer. Party make-up is important:The participants dress up for this party. Theircostumes cannot to be mistaken and they can alwaysbe developed, replaced or improved. The sale ofshirts and scarves is excellent.In sports traditions, there are obvious milestoneswhich keep up the excitement and regularly occasionhappiness. These are for instance preparations, theplayers, whose exercises and statements are TVtransmitted,play-off games, advance booking,transportation etc. And finally there are the “relics”in the form of banners, video tapes, victory yearsknown by heart, pictures of the players, emblemsand logos to sew onto one’s clothes.Stability as a toolDuring unstable phases, e.g. times of readjustmentor sudden readjustment, tools to handle this “crisis”are stability created by key figures, stable rhythms,habits, and routines.Experience shows that people who are good atimplementing changes are the same people who knowhow to hold on and stay focussed on that which isnot changing. Thus, a good leader in a process ofchange is often a person who is close to the staffand someone they can turn to. Someone who constantlyreminds them of their rewards and knows howto keep the point and purpose clear. Just like the captainof a ship, charting the course and following it.Rituals are set behaviour. In connection withchanges, unknown situations, visits to strangers etc.,rituals provide behaviour we may fall back on. Theknown in the unknown. Knowing how to behave ina new situation, or in the period before such a newsituation, makes it easier to cope with. 31)29) Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)30) More information about rituals and traditions can be found in Else Marie Kofoed, Politikens bog om skik og brug: traditioner,overtro og historisk baggrund [Danish Handbook of Customs, Traditions and Superstitions](København: Politikens Forlag, 1999)31) Else Marie Kofoed, Politikens bog om skik og brug: traditioner, overtro og historisk baggrund [Danish Handbook of Customs,Traditions and Superstitions](København: Politikens Forlag, 1999)14 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Seeing Zeus on occasionAs a psychologist, Kurt Kørner 32) has experiencedthe expressed needs among the workers for meetingwith the managing director, or the board of managers,on a regular basis (once every six months, for example).To the workers, this means being in contactwith the management and focussing on the purposeof their work. The other way round, it is a good opportunityfor the manager to get to know his staffand find out the lie of the land among the company’sprime asset.Kurt Kørner labels this a need for “seeing Zeus”on occasion in order to understand where the companyis headed. Sports coaches, as well as managersand laymen, have first-hand experience with themotivation that this gives rise to, and with how muchmore people can endure when they are aware of agoal. When we know what the purpose of our workis, we can work more, and we feel better.As examples of traditions and rituals at Danfoss,Kurt Kørner mentions:• 25 and 40 years’ jubilees where the worker ispresented with either a gold watch and/orone month’s extra salary, and is picked up ina limousine etc.• Veteran parties.• Christmas parcels. This parcel functions as bonding,too, and is a topic of conversation on thesame level as the weather. When the managementproposed to cut away the Christmas parcel becauseit is too expensive for Danfoss, they were warnedby the shop stewards that this was absolutely notthe right place to cut back.• Family open days: The centrally planned familyopen days only attract about 12 % of the staff’sfamilies, whereas the locally organized open days,where the divisions take care of inviting andshowing their families around their offices, attractabout 90 %. The motivation is most probablycloseness. The participants arrange the eventthemselves and are thus ‘in the know’ about thefestivities.Traditions and fixed ingredients provide security ininsecure times. When we start something new, orwhen we are about to capsize, that which is fixedcan be terribly missed, just like an anchor or a compasson board a ship. In these threatening situations,we experience total flexibility, i.e. being without ananchor, as a lack.Up-to-date traditionsNevertheless, ritualized behaviour is also subject tochange, and it should change in order to remain upto-datefor the people performing the rituals – forinstance, the ways in which we socialize during adinner, or a party etc. have changed from 100 yearsago.The sociologist Anthony Giddens writes abouttraditions as one of the areas that are affected byglobalization. 33) We cannot exist without traditions,but it is not necessarily the old, rigid traditions weshould drag along with us. On the contrary, now isa good time to redefine society’s values. Letting goof traditions means freedom, but in order to use freedomconstructively, i.e. avoid that it turns into fear,new and up-to-date frameworks must be created.With the disappearance of tradition, the basis forpersonal identity changes as well. Personal identitymust be created more actively than before. Accordingto Giddens, this explains why therapy and differentkinds of counselling have become so popularin modern psychoanalysis. And why fundamentalismis so apparent these years when borders generallyare being broken down.Tradition may very well be defended in a nontraditionalmanner – and this is thought to be theirfuture.C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S32) Kurt Kørner is Chief Psychologist at Danfoss33) Anthony Giddens, Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives (New York: Routledge, 2000)M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 015


Viable and non-viable traditionsIt is easier to introduce rational traditions, i.e. traditionsthat set the stage for something that is actuallyuseful, or traditions that are connected with life ingeneral. For example, it would be easier to introducea tradition for drinking beer together on Fridays inthe afternoon rather than Tuesday mornings, andgiving each other presents after doing a good jobrather than cleaning out the basement to celebrate…!Danish lecturer in Nordic Philology at Universityof Copenhagen, Erik A. Nielsen, 34) writes aboutmodern culture, the industrial culture, having hardlyany games, rituals or traditions. Not that the old ritualsand traditions should have been preserved. Theold rituals and traditions should not be preservedbecause their meaning has become obsolete. Butin order to be able to institute up-to-date traditionsand rituals, we must be aware of the values we have.“…Industrial culture has demolished all symbolicconnections which tied the stages of our lives togetherand oriented people about their places in theirown worlds. Although the world has never beendescribed in such detail as it has been in this century,for an unheard number of people it still appears asa landscape in which it is all but impossible to orientoneself, in the same manner as it would be if all roadsigns in a country suddenly disappeared.”“With its irreligious nature, the industrial culture isunable to play the large-scale games that form theframework for an entire course of life, or an entiresociety’s manifestations of life. Industrial culture ischaracterized by strictly taking everything at surfacevalue, and by a systematic seriousness capable ofousting more playful cultural expressions. Its completelyserious way of thinking has contributed tomake modern working life so dull that it has beennecessary to invent all kinds of technological anddata-processing toys…And as true spoilsports, thevery same ways of thinking have demolished themore imaginative games and games with responsibilitieswhich former societies have used for expressingand rejuvenating their cohesive force…” [In aninterview in the winter of 1999, Danish Prime MinisterPoul Nyrup Rasmussen asked what had becomeof the “cohesive force” in Danish society! 35) ]Traditions are occasions for staging parts of liferadically and for limited periods of time. Like havingdinner together or playing games, traditions arecapable of being occasions for company and celebration,and for forgetting the worries and insecuritiesof everyday life.In a complex culture marked by freedom, traditionscan provide desirable structures and frameworks –attractive exactly because they are chosen andfunction at the same level as games. They are notbinding, nor do they take away freedom from any ofthe participants. More than anything else, traditionsmay be used in the same way as games.Professor of Economics and Social History at LondonUniversity, Eric Hobsbawm, predicted already 20years ago that new traditions would be in demandin modern societies, the more their new lifestylesgrew apart from the old ones:“Where the old traditions are alive, traditions needbe neither revived, nor invented.” 36)“We should expect it [inventing traditions] tooccur more frequently when a rapid transformationof society weakens or destroys social patterns forwhich old traditions and their institutional carriersand promulgators no longer prove sufficiently adaptableand flexible, or are otherwise eliminated:In short, when there are sufficiently large and rapidchanges on the demand or the supply side. 37)34) From 1971-1985, Erik A. Nielsen was a member of the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs’ liturgical commission and he is jointlyresponsible for its subsequent introduction of an amendment of the service of the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church.Author of Den skjulte gudstjeneste [The Hidden Service] (Copenhagen: Forlaget Amadeus, 1987)35) Danish newspaper Weekend Avisen, November 12-18, 199936) Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) p. 837) Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) p. 538) Interview with Marketing Director in Magasin du Nord, Martin Delfer, and Marketing Manager in Irma, Mette Frandsen.16 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Traditions in the workplace and in the labourmarket are successful when we can relate to theoccasion, because this is what creates the excitement.Country themes work better for food sales than hightechnologicalequipment. The consumer remembersthe food she had in Greece, and the cheese in Franceetc. Food from foreign countries can stimulate goodtravelling experiences and serve as a special occasionfor cooking this sort of food at home. 38)When it comes to country themes, the effect oftheme weeks is lower today than only 10-15 yearsago because at that time, the feeling of authenticitywas still intact. Today, it is necessary to be morecareful, because it is dangerous if consumers feelthat they are being fooled. But creating food themesis an obvious way of getting the customer’s attention.Martin Delfer, Marketing Director of Magasin du Nordexplains that consumers are attracted to themes.Themes provide a feeling of authenticity, a “psychologicaltrip” or a “mental break.” The imported foodgives people a feeling of being in the country. Thustraditions can have external advantages, and on topof that they also put extra focus on the store. Internally,theme weeks motivate the staff because theybring variety into their work and change the usualfocus. In the experience of Mette Frandsen, MarketingManager in Irma, the staff’s workplace becomesstaged.C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E SSee Annexe for more information about traditionsAnnexe 1: Invented TraditionsM E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 017


Constancy of FlexibilityMany present-day and future workplaces are basedon a company’s and its staffs’ talent for flexibility:Handling changing consumer demands as well astechnological development, individual timetables,periodic projects, changing business partners andforms for collaboration, fusions and organizationaldevelopment.In his book The Corrosion of Character, 39)Richard Sennett describes how flexible humanbeings necessarily gain an ironic perception of selfbecause they know that what they stand for at themoment is changing – and that in a while, they willthink and act differently. This ironic perception ofself is the inescapable consequence of life in flexibletimes without norms of authority or responsibility.We move away from a belief in no permanence to“I am not seriously real, my needs have no substance.” 40)Sennett mentions three kinds of flexibility characterizingthe modern labour market:1. Flexible specialization: The purpose of flexiblespecialization is to bring still more varied productsstill faster into the market place. Furthermore,flexible specialization means being capable ofreacting at a moment’s notice to changes in themarket place as well as in consumer demand– i.e. being prepared for constant renewal.2. Reinventing institutions and companies by breakingwith tradition: Loose networks are more openfor being completely reinvented than are pyramidhierarchies, such as the dominating networksduring the Ford administration. The links betweenthe central points in a network are looser.3. Power concentration without centralization:More control over own actions at the lower levels.We will not see less structure or less bureaucracy,but a more complex structure with more holesand more opaqueness.Flexibility means• An ability to let go: Bill Gates is the example ofthe ability to let go constantly and give in to thepossibilities of the market. A lack of long-termaffiliation.• Inscrutability – not freedom from limits, but morevaguely defined limits.Being extremely flexible might be a sound survivalstrategy, cf. Darwin’s thesis on the survival of neitherthe strongest nor the smartest, but the fittest.Flexibility does not in itself create identity nordoes it give meaning. We have words for invertedflexibility: Attitude relativist and turncoat.If a unity survives by constantly having a leadingedge over the desires of the surrounding world, itmay be difficult for this unity to maintain its identity.A company’s self-image, external image, and itsbrand rest to a high degree on a defined area ofcompetence, on an identity behind the flexibility.Planning is also a fixed point for all changes. Inorder to develop competence, a worker or companymust first of all have a tradition as well as a mission.This is the guideline, the “leitmotif,” to keep in mindwhile adapting, and during changing conditions andtasks.Compared with the success of flat structures,the incorporation of mission and tradition is alsonecessary if a worker is to form an attitude and feela responsibility to do so.Emotional inscrutabilitySennett illustrates his point by giving an exampleof a bakery where the workers 25 years ago had towork hard to knead the dough. They had to usetheir eyes as well as their noses, i.e. their senses, todetermine when the bread was done. The amountof time they used was not very flexible, and theyhad to spend time talking with each other in orderto co-ordinate their different work shifts and thetasks they had to solve together, or needed eachother’s help with.There were quite a few aches and pains connectedwith this job and therefore also a professional pridein being able to perform it. This gave the bakers asense of identity because they knew what their workdemanded of them, knew what it meant to be abaker and a good worker.Today, 25 years later, the bakery has been modernizedand is now run by computers. Operationally,everything is now rational and well-structured, butemotionally things are inscrutable.39) Sennett, Richard, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (New York: Norton, 1999)40) Sennett, Richard, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (New York: Norton, 1998)18 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


The bakery has undergone a “flexible specialization”in the sense that its computer features an iconfor each of the, not only Italian, but also Germanand French types of bread that the bakery offers.The workers, “the bakers,” no longer have aches andpains after physically demanding work. But they areless attached to the place and they say half-jokinglythat “We can do it all – be bakers, shoemakers, shopassistants, you name it” because the art of bakingis nothing but administering the computers andmachines installed in the bakery. Most breads arebaked without the worker as much as touching orseeing them. The bakers thus bake without actuallybaking.The weight of their work identity has become somewhatlighter. They can adjust the machines but cannotaccumulate craftsman’s skills. “Work is no longerclear in the sense that they can understand whatthey are doing.”So what happens is that by breaking down resistanceand problems (as technical facilities do), the road issimultaneously paved for uncritical activities andcarelessness among the users. They do not understandthe connections between their job functions.(If a machine breaks down, they do not know howto repair it nor how to bake without it either. Theyhave to wait around for a technician to come andfix it).Constancy of ritualsEyeing successes and milestones is actually onlypossible when one knows one’s mission. Pure flexibilityhas no success criteria besides its own survival,and this does not in itself make sense, nor is thissomething on which one can build a community,let alone a brand.It would have been a tremendous revolution forthe Danes to become christianized in the past if ithad had to happen overnight. But Christianity wasapproached very pragmatically. They kept to thethings they knew and understood: The blacksmithhad a mould for the Christian cross as well as for Thor’shammer. It was then up to the individual to decidewho he wanted to put his faith in this time around.The Danes did not break with all of the old traditionsat once. They acquired the new gods and dedicatedthem to be helpers in the old, safe traditionsthat had secured life’s blessings under the oldcustoms. The heathen horn was passed along inmemory of Christ, Maria and St. Michael with theold toast: To long life and peace. 41)Scientific ritualsAll indigenous hunting and agricultural cults havethe purely materialistic purpose of supportinglivings, production and fertility. [Read: plentifulreturns and profitable investments].Nature or the god is worshipped as a beneficialpower.The active participation in ritually performed traditionscan be compared with the scientifically founded behaviourof our day and time: The midwife washesher hands before she delivers the baby. There is nomumbo-jumbo in this, only the fact that we knowthis increases the mother’s chances of surviving. Ifritual behaviour is perceived as a guarantee for thegerminability of the field next spring, then the dancethat seems apparently meaningless to the uninitiatedsuddenly becomes meaningful.In the 1940s, the artist Asger Jorn devoted severalyears to studying folk art and reached the conclusionthat Christianity – contrary to former religions –rendered rituals passive and separated myth fromtrade. Ritual acts were toned down in favour of silentprayer and relatively passive wishes to God. Insteadof acting out our fertility, power and potency, thetheatre became the institution where people wouldsit passively in the audience and watch dramas thatwere otherwise removed from their everyday lives. 42)It is exactly this drama we need to re-establish in theworkplace, as well as in trade.C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S41) Vilhelm Grønbech, Kampen om mennesket [The Struggle for Man](Copenhagen, 1930).42) About the importance of staging and of ritual cult in connection with trade, Jorn writes about the magical art/attitude to life:“Imaginary action may provoke the actual action it imitates…Even if one does not become king simply by acting king, it is necessary,even for kings, to have played or practised their calling before they perform it in actual practice. Even the bird in the air is not automaticallyhit because one has drawn its picture in the sand and shot it full of arrows before the hunt, target practice is still useful practicebefore the real hunt because it has a cultivating, or what we here will term a cultic, effect if it is regularly repeated. Thus cult is ritualizedmagic. It is a means for cultivating “beneficial” imaginations and abilities in man.” Asger Jorn, Guldhorn og lykkehjul [Gold Horns andWheels of Fortune] (Copenhagen, 1957)M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 019


Rituals – the World Upside DownRebirthing the WorldRituals may be defined as staged and consciouslyregular behaviour with symbolic content. The individualis rewarded for observing rituals and punishedfor breaking the rules. Ritual behaviour is clearlystructured and performed according to specialrules. Rituals are motivated, repeated behaviour.Mythically, their contents are symbolic and theirpurpose is to stabilize and maintain balance in oureveryday lives. Rituals always refer to a “myth” atindividual and company level: A dream, a mission,a world view serving a purpose.As INSPIRATION for the staging of companyculture and products, the formula for ritualcelebration is given here:Primitive peoples begin and end work periods andessential phases of the year with magical celebrationswhich are in fact identical with the work itself. Thisis the reason why the oldest work calendars were alsoautomatically calendars of festivities, and why runestaffs were marked with seasonal holidays accordingto the rhythm of work, festivities and passages. 43)“Traditionally, what separates days of celebrationfrom normal life is that they are in fact different.Shrovetide is a time of celebration, of eating, drinkingand speaking our mind in contrast to the followingLent which is a period of fasting and sober, modestbehaviour. Lent is also a rite of passage by which thebody is emptied of all content from everyday life, andin a state of clean susceptibility prepares itself for ahigher life while being cleansed waiting for the celebrationof Easter. Ritual ablution and changes of dressshare the same meaning… Former “saint’s days” demandcertain changes in one’s way of life: Duringcelebration, people must abstain from many actionswhich are natural in daily life, such as sexual intercoursebetween man and woman; bickering and disagreementthat in daily life are only considered irregularitiesbecome deathly sins during the time of celebration…Thelocation for the festivities is isolated fromthe daily place of sojourn, or it has been cleansedand isolated by way of various ritual actions…”The Holy PlaceIn heathen times, people had a holy place where theycould go when in need of advice in a difficult situation,or needed new strength for necessary undertakings,and at this holy place some of the ceremonies meantto strengthen kinship were performed. Such a holyplace might be a tree or a well, a hill or a mountainwhere people had gone for generations.Christianity prohibited sacrificial worship of natureand in nature. One was supposed to go to churchand find strength there. 43) Today we no longer go tochurch. Then where do we go?According to cultural anthropologist Eva Brendstrup,shopping at malls is a ritually performed element ofeveryday life for many people. Eva Brendstrup, whohas just finished a report on everyday life in shoppingmalls, thinks that our traditions and ritual behaviourfor a large part have been transferred to the role ofconsumer. 44)“All-day stays and family excursions to shoppingmalls provide opportunities for self-expression whichcompare with many modern people’s ideas of whattheir needs are…A life of consumption has becomethe dominating form of life…a norm and matter ofcourse…We stage ourselves and our lifestyles…ouridentities are constantly changing and undergoingtransformation. We may use shopping, and the productswe choose, to signal lifestyle and identity…Today’s shopping mall functions as a forum or a stagewhere we may show and reflect our lifestyle in comparisonwith others.” The malls provide temperateclimates, an occasion for leaving home, seeingsomething else, relaxing, drinking, eating and sharingexperiences with those one may happen to be with.Furthermore, they are stable (location, opening hoursas well as indoor climate can be predicted so that onecan make plans accordingly). Sources of irritationfor the participants of mall culture are: Long queues,lack of parking space, and the absence of special offers.Ritual behaviour in this connection is: Shoppingfor necessities, having a drink in the bar, creating ashared experience, breaking out of the confinementof one’s home. Shopping may also be seen as a riteof passage between work and spare time, home andlife away from home.Compared to the amount of active pursuit andconscious, symbolic content, one might think thatthis mall culture tends to lack vitality and flavour.The basic formula for parties and seasonalholidaysThe anthropologist E. R. Leach has examined whattakes place during the performance of rites and rituals,and what the basic elements of customs and rites are. 45)First and foremost, in order to celebrate and stagea day of celebration, it must be made to differ fromeveryday life. Rules and limits must be turned upside-down.In times of material need, lots of light,expensive fabrics, scents, and plenty of food create a43) Vilhelm Grønbech, Kampen om mennesket [The Struggle for Man] (Copenhagen, 1930)44) Quoted from article entitled “Storcentre er populære udflugtsmål” [Shopping Malls are Popular Destinations for Excursions]Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, Section 4, February 9, 200045) Illustration and description from Carsten Bregenhøj, Helligtrekongersløb på Agersø: socialt, statistisk og strukturelt [Twelfth Night Mummingon the Island of Agersø, socially, statistically and structurally) (with an English summary) (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1974)20 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


BBfestive atmosphere. Being off-duty and not having tochop time up into small intervals makes the holiday differfrom everyday life, and constitutes its special time.At New Year’s in medieval times, the bishops letall the parish clerks wear bishops’ hats, stick out theirtongues and make fun of everything holy, even inthe choir, as a kind of restoration gesture. Lettingeverything die in order that it may be born and ableto stand once again. There is a deeply-rooted beliefin balance through counterbalance and quid pro quoin many of our traditions and ritual rules.A good reason for drinking to Christmas was to avoidscarcity. By giving thanks to the gods, i.e. the naturalforces, for this year’s abundance (even if more wouldhave been welcomed), one shows symbolically thatthere is plenty, and that one will gratefully acceptthis again next year.In Norway it was every man’s duty to celebrateChristmas night with an ale-feast thanking Christand Mary, and in harvest, at the latest around Halloween,the village was supposed to gather for a collectivedrinking feast for Christ and Our Lady. Thisfeast was to consist of a company of at least threepeople, one for each peasant and one for his wives.For anyone who lived alone, this company was necessarilysubstituted by drinking beer for three. 43)Any person ignoring Christmas and the Christmasfeast had to pay a fine of three marks, and if he missedthe blessing of the ale-feast three years in a row,he was bound to stay beyond the King’s jurisdiction,and the King had to see to it that such a heathen didnot stay in Norway.The pietistic modesty of being frugal even at timesof celebration means – seen in this perspective – thatone paves the road for continued scarcity, and thatone does not know how to administer abundance!Rites of passageBetween everyday life and celebration – the normalcondition and the exception – there is a passage whichmust proceed as a shift between the two opposites.Masking is an obvious way of signalling these shiftsand helping them along, and traditionally it has thereforebeen used for this purpose. Masks are wornduring celebrations, for instance at Shrovetide, NewYear, Christmas and Twelfth Night mumming etc.,and being disguised, people are free to do festivethings – here festive in the sense of reversed affairs,unusual actions, where everything is turned up-sidedown– and at the end of the celebration, the unmaskingand identification takes place. The masks ensurethat the participants do not have to be their usual selvesand are allowed to behave differently than usual.In return, disguise demands someone and somethingto disguise oneself for. If one’s behaviour is thesame irrespective of the mask, the masking serves no purpose.Then wearing a mask becomes boring and drab.ACelebrationCTimeEveryday life that is never reversed also becomesdull, cf. Enzensberger’s rule about the excitement of“what is contrary to the principle of reality.” What isa weekend to someone who is bored, mountain climbingto someone who always climbs mountains, orpork roast to someone who eats it every day?The basic formula for rituals are A: Preparing the “party,”the exception, the rite, intensifying the formal aspect– making a caricature of or stressing one’s fake identity.The culmination B equals the occasions when theparticipants appear as the exact opposite of what theyare in reality: Men performing as women, women asmen, children as adults, gentle personalities as witches,kings as beggars, waiters as masters, parish clerks asbishops. In the course of regular orgies like these,normal social life is acted in reverse, and all kinds ofsins such as incest, adultery, transvestism, sacrilege,and lese-majesty are considered the natural order ofthe day (an exchange of roles).And C, which is the opposite of A, is the phase ofunmasking when the formal and exceptional fadesinto the usual condition of normality.In customs of disguise, masking provides the individualswith opportunities to act other roles than thosewhich society expects from them. Their symbolic deathbecomes their rebirth. By having passed through aperiod as a different person, it is possible to returnto one’s everyday role as a “new” human being.We may choose to regard the search for holidaydestinations so different from everyday life as thewilderness, or the search for high-risk sports as Bphases where everyday life is turned up-side-down,and life is radically pushed to extremes.In life forms with opaque or complex structures,it is not possible to set up the binary opposition ofcelebration vs. everyday life unless we view theexception as a primarily “set structure.” That wouldmake basically any kind of ritual behaviour, set ofrules or clear strategy attractive and festive.In this sense it becomes natural for a modern,Western and individually free and tolerant society toadopt customs and festival traditions from all partsof the world irrespective of their symbolic contents.At this level, it is the only the form – the presenceof rules and a clear structure – that is attractive.So what is it that rituals and traditions can do thatwe need? TheyStructure and put everyday life into perspectiveAre a means of uniting and creating communitiesAre occasions for a renewed staging of selfFree us from dull, inflexible patterns of behaviourKeep the focus on constants during changes• Maintain areas of competence and thus create abasis for developmentAEveryday LifeCelebrationCC O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E SM E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 021


Complexity and Risks– the Good and the Bad1,81,61,41,210,80,60,40,20Illusion preparednessWe live in an “information society.” Global and freemedia daily transmit thousands of items of news,sensations, scientific, political, and opinionatedanalyses to all subscribers to TV, newspapers,magazines, networks etc.Danish Household Survey on the Consumption of Printed MediaShare of total consumption1955 1963 1966 1971 1976 1981 1987 1996Source: Statistics Denmark20 Education per person in years.1816Books, newspapers and magazines (DKK total)Changeddefinitions350030002500200015001000500Europeans spend more time learning in their sparetime than ever before. The sales of how-to books toprivate individuals about body, mind, relationships,parenting and child-rearing have increased considerablyin recent years. Modern people typically viewlife as a project to make progress in, with, amongother things, help from professionals, media andhandbooks.The expected time a Western child spends in theeducational system today, from the day he or sheenters first grade, is approx. 15 years. The number ofyears in school has increased constantly since 1820.Please see diagram 1.USA France Germany The Netherlands The UK Japan0The German philosopher Odo Marquard callsthis phenomenon “illusion preparedness” 46) andattaches it to the pace of change and the increasingcomplexity of society. We are presented with muchlarger amounts and different kinds of informationthan we can gain through experience, and we areleft with “illusions” from which we form our opinions,i.e. from other people’s statements, and second-handinformation.These are, for instance, journalists’ presentations ofthe war in former Yugoslavia, Lester Brown and JulianSimon’s respective views on the greenhouse effect,47)and the result of the food inspection on the freshnessof meat compared with the local butcher’s version!Although statistics show a decline in crime, wehave difficulties believing it: Every day brings headlinesstating “Elderly lady murdered,” “30-year-oldraped in South London” or “New gang warfare harriesvillage.”The more advanced our approach to “reality” becomes,the more “prostheses” and devices we have to beequipped with in order to reach the most preciseresults and the greatest amount of knowledge, andthe wider the gap between our knowledge and thatwhich we witness with our senses.The feeling of being able to trust one’s own powerof judgement and having internal standards ratherthan external becomes a scarce benefit.Danish scientists have until recently had problemsconvincing Greenland whalers that the arctic whitewhales, which are numerous off the west coast ofGreenland, are actually endangered. The whalers’eyes see that there are plenty of whales, but Danishscientists’ figures show that the population is decreasingand their living conditions are endangered. Inthe coming years, the Danish Polar Center is thereforegoing to include the whalers in the work ofregistering the population.141210864201820 1870 1913 1950 1973 1992Diagram 1. Source:Angus Maddison OECD Economic Outlook 199946) Odo Marquard, In Defense of the Accidental: Philosophical Studies (translated from the German by Robert M. Wallace)(1986; New York: Oxford University Press, 1991)47) Lester Brown has published several doomsday scenarios and is the editor of the Worldwatch Institute’s annual report on“progress toward a sustainable society,” The State of the World.. Julian Simon is the author of The State of Humanity (Blackwell Pub., 1996)and The ultimate resource 2 [Rev. ed.](Princton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), providing facts concerning the so-called truestate of the world which is very positive.22 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Unambiguousness – a scarce benefitBefore eating a tuna fish sandwich, there are principallyvery many things to make up one’s mind about.Not just whether one is hungry, likes tuna, and hasfood enough for tomorrow. We might stop to thinkabout: Heavy metals in the fish, the fishermen’sethics, the tin’s potential residue of chemical combinations,the amount of monounsaturated fat, onlyto mention a few important things that we cannotassess with our eyes, noses or ears, let alone tastebuds. Please also refer to Annexe 3.As ordinary consumers, we have become amateursto the “state of the world.” Victims of rumours!It is possible, however, to stay informed by way ofthe media, but for several good reasons they areambiguous.In the debate about the greenhouse effect, manyexperts on this matter have thus admitted that theyhave to exaggerate the problems and threats in orderto make themselves heard – i.e. strive for a changeof attitude by saying things that are not quite true.“The number of critical and aware consumers isincreasing. We pay more attention to ethics, andconsumers seek out more information. They askquestions about whether child work is involved,what the environmental consequences are etc.These things have become more difficult to check inour big global world with open borders and the freeflow of goods,” explains Chief of Public Relations inthe Danish Consumer Information, 48) Hanne Dam.The consumer ombudsman has recently proposedthe setting up of a database in order to make clearwhat people get for their money when buying insurance– in an attempt to create a qualified overviewof a very inscrutable market.Future products will necessarily have to take fundamentalscepticism as well as illusion preparednessinto account. It plays an important role in the sale ofgoods whether the product is followed up with theright labels – those inspiring confidence, statingwhether the product is free from that somethingwe have heard bad things about, whether the shopkeeperunderstands his or her role in providinginformation and taking responsibility, and whetherthe marketing is trustworthy. Transparency as somethingto handle positively is a joker here. Here wellknownbrands, traditional types of goods and storiesfrom real life (if one knows someone who manufacturesthe product, a friend who recommends it etc.)play a decisive part.“Product revelopment”The gap between producer and consumer has becometoo great. Formerly, producer and consumer werealmost one and the same, and although the conditionsfor this happening once again are definitely not onthe want list, this distance must be compensated for.This is a matter ofthe experienced authenticity.”• “Product revelopment”: Karl Marx founded aphilosophy based on the value of a product beingequal to the amount of work put into it. Historyhas taught us that this is not so. But there are plentyof examples of how the mark of human energyactually increases a product’s value: Hand-carvedwood (who would want an automatic haircut?), atailored wedding dress etc. The product’s valuebecomes more visible when it signals the stagesof its process in the shape of its history, mark oforigin, seasonal changes, deviations in deliveries …• Challenge the senses – with colours, wrapping,tastes, statements from trustworthy people whoinspire confidence. Rather a charming nerd thana slick one…• Trustworthy behaviour: If you provide personalcustomer service, it is not trustworthy to tonedown the fact that you are dealing with a humanbeing. Over many years, personnel in banks, forexample, have tried to look as little as possible ashuman beings with good days and bad, probablyin order to add to the impression of just and equaltreatment for everybody. But the result is dullnessand non-authenticity. A clerk with an accent, privatepostcards stuck to the walls of his or her “cell”who speaks with conviction is more fun – and givesway to a better feeling of them being a real personand that ‘what you see is what you get.’ “The owlsare what they seem.”Diversity and personality in the workplace are encouragedto be visible in an individualized and emotionallygifted culture, cf. the Arthur Andersen company– an international assurance, business consulting andlegal services firm which has recently informed itsentire staff that they no longer have to wear ties! 49)• Documentation – showing the stages of theprocess, i.e. by way of digital transmission andvisits from schools.• Control labelling – several such labels exist already.Illusion preparedness means that there are certainthings we have to form opinions about and act inaccordance with at the same time as not being 100 %in control. The consumer needs help here.C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S48) A relatively new Danish institution, separate from The National Consumer Agency of Denmark. The overall function of the ConsumerAgency is to create clarity for consumers.49) Professor of Occupational Psychology at the Institute of Science and Technology at Manchester University and Manager in Chief ofCommunications at AOL, Matt Peacock, gives an explanation of the shift caused by e-business: The Internet revolution means thatmany old attitudes towards business, including the uniform, are being challenged. But this tendency can also be explained ascompensation for a more stressful working life! Source: Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende February 21, 2000.M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 023


From given to calculated risksTechnological developments have not only removedheavy burdens but also elements of danger fromeveryday life. Seaworthy ships, lightning conductors,weapons and medicine have improved the safety ofour lives. We now have vaccines against formerlyfatal diseases, and we carry out research to find curesfor the ones there are no remedies for yet. The averagelife expectancy in Europe is steadily increasing(women 80.5 years, men 74.0), and the infant mortalityrate has been reduced (Europe: 9.2 % in 1986to 5.6 % in 1996). 50)Today, the things we connect with danger are ofa more indirect kind, namely manageable and calculatedrisks which we can actually read about, prepareourselves for and insure ourselves against.In the 18th century, mathematicians discovered theadvantages of taking and being able to calculate risks.Although risks were dangerous, profits would beproportionally larger if one could handle them.From1725, the British government profited from sellingannuities while mathematicians competed aboutsetting up the best tables of life expectancy. Seainsurance became a flourishing and advanced lineof business particularly in London.Today, we have social, health, economic, legal,psychological and environmental safety nets whichdeprive us of experiencing everyday life as risky,exciting, and thus victorious, as we would if wehandled our difficulties on our own.Apparently, in this area it is also the rule that ifsomething is scarce, we seek it out on our own.Risks become positive and something we approachvoluntarily and learn to master.To a large extent, modern people compensatefor this “banal” safety by turning to high-risk sports,unpleasant amusements in amusement parks, hikingin areas where scarcity of water is a daily problem,and entertainment media spelling out in detail theold drama of something real being at stake.Is everyday life too dull?In the US and Europe, one of the traditional AIDShigh-risk groups has once again started to practiseunsafe sex. Surveys of gays in San Francisco in theUS have shown that while one third of the gaypopulation practised unsafe sex five years ago, thenumber had risen to half of the gay populationbetween 1998 and 1999. According to UNAIDS,this development is a consequence of the newfoundtreatments for AIDS. “In Northern Americaand Western Europe, we have seen signs of theavailability of life prolonging treatments contributingto people practising safe sex to a lesser degree.The prospects of keeping AIDS at bay longer thanbefore have lulled the risk groups into a false senseof security, disregarding safe sex.” 51)In the US and Europe, so-called high-risk sports areon the rise, i.e. activities with no or very little marginof error such as BASE-jumping, 52) paragliding,snowboarding, mountain climbing etc. Hobbies thatseparate themselves from everyday life by confrontingreal dangers and primarily being executed outdoors.BASE-jumping is at the height of its popularity.New people sign up for this sport daily even though46 people have died ‘in the act’ in the course ofonly 18 years. In 1997, in the US alone, 33 % morepeople (48,000) were submitted to hospitals withskateboard-related injuries than the year before.The consultant agency American Sports Data Inc.confirms that participation in extreme sports isincreasing, and the common denominator for thisgrowth area is that all these sports are more challengingthan soccer. A phenomenon such as skin-diving,which is so dangerous that the Danish Sub Aqua Clubwill not have anything to do with it (because severalpeople have died while surfacing after the high pressureof the deep), is currently one of the most rapidlygrowing extreme sports in the world.The researcher of risks and writer Peter Bernsteinbelieves that the previous many years of growth andaffluence have motivated people to push themselvesto extremes. A feeling of safety that cries out forchallenges.50) Eurostat, Demographic Statistics, 1997.51) Peter Piot, Director of UNAIDS, cited in Danish newspaper Politiken November 24, 1999 referring to the 1999 UNAIDS report.52) Acronym for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth.24 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Time Magazine ties this in with the rising trade inhazardous Internet shares and that more people thanever (14.5 % in the US) leave their jobs voluntarily infavour of a career in stocks and shares. One of thedaring entrepreneurs, Mike McCue, who left hismillion-dollar job in Silicon Valley in favour of settingup his own joint-stock company says, “I like to feelself-reliant and independent…” (even after the twoprevious companies McCue set up have folded.)Young people’s use of designer drugs is anotherexample of voluntary high risk being associatedwith winning.In the fall of 1999, Danish television showed aDanish student who had lost all her savings and morebuying Internet shares. On TV, her comment on thematter was that she was surprised that her bank hadlet her do it. She did not think that things could goawry as long as she was just buying shares on theInternet!Attractive risksApparently, people consider it attractive and excitingto run risks as long as these risks are of the right kind.Attractive risks are those that give us butterflies inthe stomach and adrenaline kicks, risks that are connectedwith experiences, courage and the ability tohandle difficult and demanding situations. Unattractiveare the passive, unaware or defenceless risks –those that do not provide the opportunity to win orexpand one’s future scope of action. Those that donot turn one into a hero, such as eating chicken infectedwith salmonella, spoilt vegetables or puttingone’s money in bad stock. 53)The hero here might be the person who doesnot care one bit about salmonella because he wouldrather be spending his savings on climbing equipmentthan on eco-meat.The risk gene strikes backIsraeli scientists think to have found the so-called“risk” or “excitement gene.” 54)The risk gene does not determine behaviour, butit conditions a certain desire for being stimulatedaccording to the authors of Living with Our Genes,Dean H. Hamer and Peter Copeland.John Tooby, head of a centre for evolutionarypsychology, claims that the most adventurous peopleare fittest for survival. So although running risksmay appear foolish in a safe society, risk still triggerssomething we have inherited from our ancestors.On the Discovery Channel on January 23 and 24,2000, an interviewed psychologist gave the obviousexplanation: Provoked risk management is a matterof expanding one’s frame of experience and capacityin order to be better fit for potential future dangers.Two American racing drivers state their personalviews on the reason why risky interests are so attractive:“Our society is so surgically sterile. It is almostlike our socialization just desensitizes us. Every timeI am out doing this I am searching my soul. It is theLewis and Clark [19th century US “explorers”] goneto venture out, to find what your limitations are”…”People are taking risks because every-day risk isminimized and people want to be challenged.”Psychologist Frank Farley thinks that “consciouslytaking risks means overcoming instincts. No otheranimal puts itself at risk for this reason. The humanrace is particularly risk-taking compared to otherspecies.”Completing this list of opposites that supplementthe demand for each other, we round off with a lookat the relationship between fiction and reality onthe following page.Reality has, as mentioned above, become moredifficult to grasp. Ambiguities are debated daily.That which was seen as actual reality at the time– that potatoes are good for you, experts are wise,and that your senses work well as a compass – hasnow entered fiction. At the same time, fiction hasstriven to exceed reality, or to use reality as a devicein fiction…C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S53) “In risk management, it is essential to maximize the areas in which we control the outcome to a certain degree, at the same time aswe minimize the areas in which we have absolutely no control over the outcome and where the connection between cause and effectis hidden to us.” Peter L. Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (New York: Wiley, 1996)54) Source of all quotations and numbers in this section: Time Magazine September 6, 1999 entitled “Life on the Edge – is Everyday Lifetoo Dull?”M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 025


Fictitious reality and realistic fictionIn the 90s, more theatre directors have put dwarfs,psychopaths, and criminals on stage in order to addto the authenticity and effect, and to reach those“out there” in the world of reality. In December 1999,the Swedish dramatist and theatre director LarsNorén succeeded in using genuine neo-nazis in hisplay “Sju tre” [Seven three] of which two are reputedto have killed two policemen and committed a robberyduring the night following the last performance.Fiction needs stronger devices in order to “makean impact” and therefore the development of filmswith 3-D effect, Holodecks, interactive films, privatepeople’s private lives in TV programmes, genuinecriminals and immigrants on the theatre stage areareas of growth. The new area of growth in film isthe interactive story in which the role of audiencehas been expanded to role of co-creator. In the future,cinemas will have built-in shaking devices in the seatsand films with 3-D effect giving the viewer thefeeling of actually being Indiana Jones and so on.It is boring to be passive and fun to be active.Today, successful TV-shows mix fiction and reality:Real people being under 24-hour surveillance, realdestinies being exposed to the public in host shows.On the threshold of this millennium, the film industryexpressed a high degree of scepticism aboutthe professional and commercial show culture. InThe Truman Show, it turns out that the main character’sentire universe is a TV show. Harry Truman islocked up, his life is being transmitted on television,and even his intimate relations with girlfriends aresuffused with, almost sustained by, commercials.The plot of The Matrix is a story of machines feedingon human beings – pumping the life out of them,but maintaining the illusion in their brains that theydo have a life, although it is one of standardizedand mass-produced dreams and opinions.In Denmark, two film directors, Lars von Trierand Thomas Vinterberg, made a so-called vow ofchastity and signed their Dogme 95 Manifesto, asort of 10 commandments for more realistic andgenuine (!) films. This action was supposed to fightthe, by now, so very predictable dramaturgy, superficialaction and technological cosmetics. It shouldno longer be possible to hide behind technologicaltricks; now the time had come for the truth to betold. Dogme 95 is a kind of filmic fundamentalism,a back-to-nature movement of innocence, dictatingliberation through renunciation. The asceticism consistedof hand-held cameras, no artificial sound orlighting. The unity of time, place and actions was tobe observed.Lecturer in Film and Media Science at Universityof Copenhagen Peter Schepelern confirms that theabove mentioned films have been extraordinarilypopular. Even if parallels to this kind of metafilmsand films questioning our descriptions of realitycan be found in all film history, 55) there is now oncemore a distinct interest in playing with the reality ofreality.The good part of the oldand the good part of the newA few years back, it was popular to warn companiesagainst being “stuck in the middle.” A company shouldeither be the leading firm in its line of business, orit should have the small company’s high degree offlexibility. Perhaps it will be possible to use the samephrase, but with a different meaning, on the basis ofthis report – many companies now risk to be “stuckin the middle” between high technology and rituals.This is what many companies are experiencingon the stock market at the moment. Successfulcompanies rich in tradition have a low value seen incomparison with newly established dot-com companies,and having a good brand name is apparentlynot enough. There is not enough “future” or “sexappeal” in being a successful company, neither forcustomers, potential workers nor the stock market.On the contrary, the dot-com companies are capableof buying up these huge, successful companiesin the way that AOL bought Time Warner in orderto gain access to contents and customer profiles, orin the way that the Danish search engine Jubii haslaunched plans for buying up discotheques.From their rather privileged point of view, thedot-com companies may have seen that high technologyon the one hand, and rituals and constancyon the other, are not two scenarios, two differenttechnologies or two different segments – they aretwo sides to the same question. In itself, the violentpace of change generated by high technology createsa need for constancy, and roughly speaking it is possibleto say that the most lucrative market in thefuture might be delivering constancy with helpfrom high technology – it is hardly coincidental thatBill Gates, who has been accused of everything butbeing stupid, has bought the digital rights to manyworks of art.55) The Italian neo-realists originally came up with the idea of amateur actors, real locations, and down-to-earth dramaturgy taking its startingpoint in the banalities of everyday life. The American series “The Twilight Zone” from the 60s also toyed with reality becoming fictionand vice versa. In The French Lieutenant’s Woman, two levels of reality are entwined, and even Buster Keaton made a movie in whichhe, as the director, suddenly sets off a dream. Woody Allen does the same in The Red Rose of Cairo. When colour films were introducedin the 1960s, they did not make black and white films extinct. These soon received the status of being particularly serious or more realistic– even if reality is in colour! The production of Titanic cost more than all Danish social agencies spend in an entire year. Sylvester Stallonewas paid US$ 60 million to play Rambo, cf. the cost of approx. DKK 6 million for each Dogme film.26 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Annexe 1:Invented TraditionsIn the 1960s, a discussion began in Germany aboutfalse versus true traditions. This was occasioned bythe reinstatement of certain traditions that had beendormant. It gave offence that people selected partsof traditions, i.e. took what they could use and letthe rest be.In Denmark, we have lately seen an import oftraditions, primarily from the US, such as Valentine’sDay and Halloween. The latter was actually a Danishholiday in Catholic times but was later abolished.But today’s Danish celebration of Halloween isadopted from the US, and the, primarily commercial,forces behind the reinstatement of this holiday havealso imported its primary prop, the pumpkin, fromthe US. Valentine’s day has become quite a successin Denmark in the course of only a few years.Traditions arise when there is a needfor them and die when there is notThe modern Scottish kilt is a relatively recent inventionalthough in people’s minds it has been synonymouswith every Highlander’s national identitysince the beginning of time. In fact, the kilt was firstre-introduced in 1725 by an English industrialist,Thomas Rawlinson at his factory in Invergarry, andwas not accepted by the Scottish as a symbol ofidentity until the English prohibited traditional Highlandcustoms following the Scottish rebellion againstthe British supremacy in 1746. A tradition, a mythand a symbol were given life by being counterpartsto something the Scottish wanted to reject. 56)Most popular sports have emerged as new secularand national religions coming from the workingclass that has been constantly growing since the1870s after urbanization, democratization and traditionalsocial affiliations disappeared. The commercialmechanisms interested in sales, advertising and beingexposed at national races and matches hit the markand impelled a new cohesive force.When Atatürk wanted to modernize the Turks,one of his first strokes of genius was to prohibit thefez, the symbol of the religious, traditional Turkey,and recommend wearing Western hats and clothcaps which were identification accessories for theengineering role-model, the modern Western world.When the French republic was founded in 1789,the revolutionaries immediately introduced nationalsolidarity and identity by instituting new customs:La Marseillaise became the French national anthem,57)the republican diagram, the French tricolour washeld by a major at weddings, and monuments ofMarianne and the bearded French man were erectedeverywhere. And Bastille Day was made a nationalholiday in 1880 when the third republic was founded.Similarly, Independence Day, July 4, and ThanksgivingDay in November, which is of Anglo-Saxon protestantorigin, became national holidays in the US and servedto unite a population of great diversity, of which themajor part in 1860 were born in different countriesand were to be assimilated as Americans. From 1880onwards, it became customary to pledge allegianceto the American flag at the beginning of the schoolday in all of the country’s schools.C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E SThe socialist labour movement was very consciousabout its myth, its symbols and ritual props. The redflag, the red paper rose, May Day, the banners,inspiring and entertaining oratories, and the clothcaps of the middle class.56) Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)57) La Marseillaise has been the French national anthem since 1795. Sung for the first time at a celebration in Marseille and made popularin Paris by a group of revolutionaries from Marseille.M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 027


Annexe 2:“Risk Society”The research of German sociologist Ulrich Beckfocuses primarily on the problems of modern-daysociety. In 1986, he was the first to introduce theconcept of “risk society” in his book Risk Society:Towards a New Modernity. 58) Here he argues thatthe Western world is headed for a new kind ofmodernity in which the welfare state will distributerisks rather than riches. His thesis is that our fightfor daily bread has disappeared in favour of a conflictover how to avoid certain hazardous futurescenarios. Beck primarily focuses on ecological risks(his book was published shortly after the accidentat Chernobyl) but he also examines other kinds ofrisks found in this new modernity.The new modernity is characterized by havingbecome reflexive. When it was formerly orientedtowards making use of nature (the industrial revolution),it is today primarily occupied with dealing withthe problems caused by these technological andeconomic developments. As a result, according toBeck, modernity itself has caused the risks of ourtime.Thus Beck repudiates the idea of developmentautomatically resulting in progress. Instead, he pointsout that in the wake of development follows difficulty.The more social and industrial developments wecreate, the more difficult it becomes for the individualhuman being to understand and orient himselfin a still more complex world. Knowledge and sciencehave constituent roles in the risk society becausethe risks we are subjected to are often invisible orincomprehensible for the man in the street. Thiscould be, for instance, toxic foodstuffs and environmentalpollution which only expert knowledge andspecial theories, measuring instruments andtechniques can uncover.Beck is aware that risks in themselves are nothingnew. The new in this is, he claims, that risks are createdby society and therefore they are no longer justsomething that nature subjects us to at random, suchas earthquakes or strokes of lightning. When, for instance,the Rhine overflows, it is not just a consequenceof heavy rain, it is also because streams in thearea have been straightened out and the wetlandsthat were formerly capable of retaining large amountsof water have been drained, and perhaps even coveredover with asphalt, causing the water to drain fasterand thus flood the river all at once.While the word risk formerly had a ring of courageand adventure, today, it makes us think of self-destruction.The risks of our times pose a global threat accordingto Beck, and they are the consequence ofthe exponentially growing productive forces in themodernization process. Modernization has becomeits own enemy.According to Beck there is a connection betweenthe production of risks and decision-making. Thereason for this is that the socially created naturaldisasters are dependent on the decisions we make.This means that we make greater demands on ourdecision-makers’ knowledge and know-how than everbefore. Thus politics achieve new content and newmeaning – it becomes more technocratic as wellas geared towards avoiding problems, but it alsobecomes more exposed to spontaneously arisingrumours. Therefore Beck thinks than one consequenceof the risk society is that good argumentswill determine success, cf. the section on illusionpreparedness.58) Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (translated from the German by Mark Ritter) (1986; London: Sage, 1992)28 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


Annexe 3:Judgement StalledGlobal trade is increasing significantly which meansthat it is impossible to keep track of the origin of thethings we surround ourselves with, or the food weeat. Many foodstuffs cross five or six borders beforethey reach the consumer.Discussions of salmonella DT 104, taste, ecologyand animal welfare have in the course of the past fiveto ten years become daily fare at the dinner table.We may taste and smell as much as we please, butwhether the level of pesticides is above the normalvalue, or there are heavy metals in the potatoes orgenetically engineered soy beans in the sauce arematters that are hard for us to say.Buying tomatoes in the supermarket is an exampleof the problems our judgement is faced with. The reddest,largest tomatoes with the best keeping qualitiesare perhaps those we put ourselves most at risk byeating. (The Danish Food and Drug Administrationclaims that as a general rule the more food is processedand the longer its shelf-life is, the more additivesit contains). Radiation, crop sprays and geneticengineering. The consumers must either ignore theambiguous expert statements or the evidence oftheir own senses.There is not even clarity in the areas where researchprojects have been carried out over severalyears. Experts continue to discover more, or emphasizemore sides to this, thus shifting the focus: Evenafter many years’ growth in ecological productionand trade, we should think that ecology would bebetter for the environment and for human beingswho could stop eating fertilizers and crop sprays.But oh no. This is far from the truth. As recent asFebruary 1, 2000, research professor at the DanishRoyal Veterinary and Agricultural University pointedto the fact that ecologically grown plants are morestressed than sprayed ones, and that stressed (!)plants secrete secondary carcinogens and that therecould be no doubt that a great deal of the occurrencesof cancer in the population is caused by thesesecondary carcinogens.So what is one to believe in these matters ofhealth and optimum methods of cultivation?And concerning environmentally-safe materials:A so-called “environmentally-safe” toxin, glyphosate,which is supposed to break down before seepinginto our ground water reserves was during 1999found in several ground water wells. 59)A career for rumoursIn January 2000, a story about the farmers and wadingbirds indigenous to the marshland of Southern Jutlandmade the Danish news. The birds are disappearingfrom the area and Danish environmental organizationswant the Danish state to take charge of thearea because they think that intensive farming hascaused the birds to disappear. The farmers claim thatthe government officials are at fault. The NationalForest and Nature Agency, Denmark, acknowledgesthat farmers have taken good care of the marshlandfor 500 years, but that they are now ruining it withintensive farming. The farmers hold the oppositeview and claim to be experienced and have an interestin looking after the marshland including the birds,and that the problems are therefore caused by theheavy-handed attempts of the state to “re-establish”the area, which have resulted in a drainage of thefields.The Danish Agricultural Advisory Centre foundthat the environmental organizations and the authoritieshad too little documentation for their strategy(getting the birds back by removing the farmers’cattle). And now the case is up in the Parliamentwaiting for the politicians to make a decision!Former principal of the Danish Forestry CollegeErik Oksbjerg takes this further and claims thatcaring for nature has gone too far, politically andfinancially. His opinion about a limitation of fertilizersis that “far more nitrogen should be used in thefields in order to establish a topsoil capable of withstandingthe percolation of rainwater. Instead welisten to Dutch and American fanatics …The DanishSociety for the Conservation of Nature and theMinistry of Environment and Energy thrive and growon pending disasters…sensational untruths.” 60) Inconnection with these views, Erik Oksbjerg’s positionin the debate of the endangered biodiversity andwhat to do about it is “that as soon as the tiniestthing is missing, be it a plant or an insect, all environmentalorganizations go on red alert…”C O P E N H A G E N I N S T I T U T E F O R F U T U R E S S T U D I E S59) Article entitled “Miljøsikker gift i vandet” [Environmentally-Safe Toxin Found in Drinking Water] in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende,January 11, 2000.60) Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, September 28, 1999.M E M B E R S R E P O R T 1 / 2 0 0 029


Appendix with diagramsMil43413937353331292725Number of passengers USA-Europe, 1992-1999This diagram shows passenger traffic between the US and Europe. The annual growth rate is in per cent and shows that from 1992 to 1993 the number of passengers went up by 5,2 %.It is possible to deduct two things from this diagram:1) It is very clear that the number of passengers is increasing (28-42 mil)2) The annual growth rate is also increasing, i.e. the development is accelerating.Source: International Aviation DevelopmentsAnnual growth rate5,2% 5,0% 5,6% 7,0% 9,4% 9,9%1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998Diagram 2GNP per capita in US$ Year 0 – 199525000The World20000The Western World15000The Rest of the World10000500000 500 1000 1500 2000Diagram 3Source: Angus Maddison: “Monitoring the World Economy,” 1995, and Marc Faber: “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report,” 1999Mil.DKK25000GNP per capita in 1990 US$Denmark France the US India Japan200001500010000500001820 1870 1900 1913 1950 1973 1992Source: The OECD, Monitoring the World Economy, 1820-1992Diagram 4: Economic Growth30 R E A C T I O N S T O T H E P A C E O F C H A N G E


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