• August 28, 2015

Your Turn: What Will Be the Defining Idea of the Next Decade?

For the 10th-anniversary issue of The Chronicle Review, we asked scholars and illustrators to tell us what would be the defining idea of the next decade, and why. (See those ideas here.) Now we want to hear from our readers. In the comments, tell us why your idea matters for the next 10 years.


1. peacefull - August 30, 2010 at 11:41 am

The advances in neuro-biology and communication technologices will enhance our global connectedness and profoundly impact our individual sense of identity and our thinking about values and ethics and ideas about God. The question of "who are we"? will be less important than "who do we what to become"?

2. mr_tibs - August 30, 2010 at 05:12 pm

How do we eat and breath and drink when there is nothing left?

3. ric822 - September 01, 2010 at 04:11 pm

The embracement of technology

In the next decade, we will see more schools embracing technology offering "online" classes. Many of these classes will be available on demand by utilizing technology.

In fact, I already see a shift. Many traditional (non-online) classes are becoming hybrids by allowing students to turn in work via the internet instead of in class. This will follow its natural progression. Soon the classroom for students and instructors will be virtual and not brick and mortar.

4. teasipper - September 02, 2010 at 02:16 am

The eradication of the gender binary. The questioning of runner Caster Semenya's gender identity (and the terrible treatment she endured) is an example of the issues that are going to be dealt with in the coming decade.

5. dank48 - September 02, 2010 at 08:37 am

What was the Defining Idea of the past decade? Right. There wasn't one; life's too complicated. There will be change, and la plus c'est la meme chose. . . .

Why would anyone think there'll be a Defining Idea of the next ten or twelve or twenty years?

6. rosmerta - September 02, 2010 at 03:30 pm

Good point, dank48. The paucity of posts here seems to point to a lack of definite ideas on the subject - I really believe it's too hard to pin down a single defining idea.

I do see, or perhaps merely hope for, the following (most of which apply to the U.S. only, as my precognitive powers, if any, don't stretch that far):

- A re-embracing of fundamental principles and smaller size in American government;

- Turning to a strengthening private sector for true improvement in job creation; movement against excess taxation and the most burdensome regulations on small businesses;

- Colleges and universities having to rein in the bottom line as students and parents become more and more dissatisfied, unable to keep up with rocketing tuition costs;

- At the same time, the work of colleges and universities becoming more and more vital, as (American) K-12 schools continue to do a generally poor job (for whatever reasons) of educating our increasingly low-attention-span, gadget happy kids; a bachelor's degree becomes, if it isn't already, the de facto high school degree of 30-40 years ago;

- More and more education will be delivered directly to the home;

- The arts take a turn back toward traditional forms (how much more iconoclastic can we get?);

- Computers will become more intuitive, more personalized, smaller, and more powerful, but we still won't have those flying cars and rocket packs I've been waiting for (drat it!).

7. leaann - September 03, 2010 at 10:26 am

Based on the trends I see at my University (as well as several other Universities that I am aware of) I think that ric822 is right on the mark. I know that we have a committee that is working on the University's blueprint and the blueprint calls for the very things that ric822 has outlined.

8. ralandbeck - September 06, 2010 at 09:58 am

What science and religion thought impossible is now circulting on the web. The first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged is now a reality.

A teaching that delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition, that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in experience. For the first time in history, however unexpected, the world must consider the implications of a new claim to revealed truth, a moral tenet not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief! 

It is only a matter of time before enough people test and confirm this new moral imperative before all 'Hell' breaks loose.

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