10.4.18

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“Someone manufactured you.”
–MIKE, “Twin Peaks”

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Wikileaks was founded on this day in 2006, but I’m going to zip over six years later to flashpoint year 2012.

A trinity of “troublemakers” in 2012 dominated media attention: whistleblower/leakers Chelsea (at the time, Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange. Along with movements like Occupy Wall Street and groups such as Pussy Riot, the whiff of anarchy was in the air…and the governments of the United States and Russia were not amused.

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Meanwhile, DC Comics offered a comic book with the unwieldy title of The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1, featuring “The Trinity Of Sin”: the characters Pandora (yep, loosely based on the Greek goddess), the Phantom Stranger, and The Question (who is, of course, the “inspiration” for The Watchmen’s vigilante Rorschach).

The three are brought in front of the Council Of Eternity and judged as “the greatest transgressors mankind has ever known”—the possessors of secrets to the universe that they seemed to “leak” out to the wider world.

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Pandora, in particular, is accused of opening up a forbidden box and letting out “monsters” to the world…the way that Manning, Snowden, and Assange used the Internet to make State secrets public.

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It was a bit of a halcyon time in 2012…you could, if you were so inclined, get really caught up in the sense of adventure and rebellion. As would be the case with everything else that year, the shadow of the so-called “Mayan Apocalypse” in December loomed over all.

Maybe, spearheaded by these three brave souls, it would be the start of a whole new age; an unprecedented time of justice, disclosure, and liberty.

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Or maybe not.

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Also on this day in 1928 was born futurist Alvin Toffler, who penned the highly influential books Future Shock (1970) and The Third Wave (1980).

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Toffler described three types of societies, or waves, in human history; each wave pushing the previous one aside:

First Wave: Agrarian societies, replacing the hunter-gatherers.

Second Wave: The Industrial Revolution, “based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction.”

Third Wave: A post-industrial society, a.k.a “The Information Age.” The one, of course, we are living in now:

“…this book flows from the assumption that we are in the final generation of an old civilization and the first generation of a new one, and that much of our personal confusion, anguish, and disorientation can be traced directly to the conflict within us, and within our political institutions, between the dying Second Wave civilization and the emergent Third Wave civilization that is thundering in to take its place.”

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It’s my personal belief that we are exiting this Third Wave.

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Have a good Thursday.