“Insanity is the greatest gift of humanity, for insanity talks to the mind of the delusion.“ – Lionel Suggs

Before flying back/traveling back to Norway for the holiday season, my car broke down on the Autobahn, and I was forced to call for roadside assistance. In Germany, it’s a company called ADAC or what we also refer to as “the yellow angels.“ But thanks to LTE, I spent my time waiting for the tow-car while listening to another mindblowing talk by Ray Kurzweill who is considered one of the great thinkers of our time. The topic he spoke on is “Our Path to Singularity.“ He predicts that in the near future we will reach hybrid thinking and then eventually reach (technological) singularity (also known as post-humanism) in which artificial intelligence will exceed human capacity. Thus, we will no longer have control over technology.

I, then, jumped to a recent keynote on the “Elvis of Economy“ from another dynamic speaker,Thomas Piketty, the bestselling author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The concepts and ideas he presented were so intriguing that even after the tow-car finally arrived, I continued to reflect on the thoughts of Ray Kurzweil and Thomas Piketty. One particular question that stuck in my mind was “Where are we really heading?“ Will it be loonytown or a world where we save ducks stuck in Ice-Water?

We live in a world with insane amounts of information (we are now talking Zetabytes instead of Gigabytes – 10 followed by 20 zeros). Are we going insane? Will technology eventually take complete control of us humble human beings, or will we continue our path of a “concious revolution?” More specifically, will we find ways to take control of technology and have the machine serve us and not vice-versa?

Is the family as we know it today dying out? Are we moving to temporary monogamies in which we’re only intensively with one partner for three or four years before moving on? Are we always going to consume more than we need? Will we always seek personal gratification rather than thinking about the greater good? Do we really need those twenty designer shirts at a low price, or can we settle for less?

This so-called perfect world is not something we should strive for. More so, I believe we should strive for a more equal world. But, what is equality really? Even though we have halved the global poverty rates over the past 20 years we see that today, according to report by Oxfam  (January 2014) we have seen a steady increase in almost all countries for the richtest 1% since 1980 leading to where we are today with the 85 wealthiest individuals in the world having a combined wealth equal to that of the bottom 50% of the world’s population, or about 3.5 billion people and there are little sings of this slowing down.

However, we should not be quick to blame capitalism. I agree with the thought leader Thomas Picketty who states that the problem is not capitalism, it’s the distribution of wealth. Because economies are not growing enough to redistribute the wealth, it’s the few wealthy individuals who are becoming more wealthy without working for it. Thus, Thomas Picketty’s biggest argument is that, unless capitalism is reformed, the very democratic order will be threatened.

While it’s true that much media attention has recently been devoted to commitments made by a number of a billionaires to share and give back a significant portion of their wealth, much more needs to be done. In my opinion, in addition to focusing on implementing strategies for growing the economy – because that will benefit everyone in society not just the super rich – education and social responsibility programs should also be given high priority in 2015.

In 2015, more importantly, we need to work on rebuilding trust. When you really think about it, the Financial Crisis was more of a crisis of trust than an economic crisis. Globally, in more business relationships, there needs to be more honesty and transparency. Unfortunately, we have begun to use technology to invade the privacy of others which further minimizes trust. This is so pervasive that cameras reflecting sound waves out of empty bags of potato chips enable individuals to see what people are talking about behind glass doors. All of this just adds up to less and less trust among individuals and societies.



The loss of trust negatively impacts our relationships on all levels. Even more, the quality of our leadership is dwindling. There is a spiritual reference in leadership as it relates to energy that we are struggling to maintain. We, subsequently, are headed towards more insanity instead of greater humanity.

Looking more closely at the definition of “insanity,” and taking “sane” from insanity, the word “sane” derives from the Latin adjective sanus meaning “healthy” (Wikipedia). Thus, the phrase “mens sana in corpore sano” is often translated to mean a “healthy mind in a healthy body.” So, having a “healthy mind in a healthy body” means you walk the walk and not only talk the talk.

A great analogy of the true meaning of humanity can be found in Confucius‘ Theory. He states, “If you want to make a stand, help others make a stand.” Also, through my own experiences, I have personally identified three strengths associated with emodying the spirit and behavioral actions of humanity: love, kindness, and social intelligence.  When there is greater humanity, there is greater love and kindness towards one another.

The challenge obviously lies on the individual level. Only there can we make a difference. At the same time, from a leadership perspective, mentors and leaders must offer guidance to the masses. I challenge you to let the next time you advance up the ladder on the costs of someone else, and not your own achievements, be the one time you ask yourself – is this fair?

Strive to move from a homogenous state to a heterogenous state. Strive to take greater responsibility for the social impact and social consequences of technological developments. Understand that technology in and of itself is never bad, it always comes down to how we use it. Because technology has already gained such momentum that it will continue to rapidly evolve without much intervention from us, it is now time for us to shift our focus back on humanistic and humanitarian values. We need to reshift our focus on regaining our humanity, on strengthening our social connections, and improving how we co-exist and live together while having technology at our fingertips.

So, in 2015, let’s commit to postponing insanity. Let’s try to make this the year of greater equality, greater fairness and greater trust instead of handing our lives and our values over to technology.

Happy 2015!