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“Free Lances” of The Future

At the end of another great period of collective effort called The Crusades, the social institutions and cultural forces that had coordinated and contained individual energies collapsed. Whole armies disintegrated into their component individuals and sub-groupings. Knights who had ridden forth under the banner of this leader or that rode back on their own. They were the “free lances” who made the late medieval world such a dangerous yet dynamic place.

It’s no accident that today we’re surrounded once again by free lances. The old rules are gone, and the old rules aren’t clear. Security—so far as there is any—is largely something that we must build for ourselves. Identities are confused and changing. We know that ultimately we are on our own, and so we are ready to learn a new way of doing and being. We know that our organizations were designed to serve the needs of another world, so we busy redesigning them.

But we also need a social order that provides for our new needs and doesn’t try to impose archaic obligations on us. We need new laws. We need new leaders. We need a new social principle, an alternative to both selfishness and selflessness. We need a new sense of the common good to justify the sacrifices we’ll need to make to help those who find the new world the most difficult. To create these things, we must begin by remembering that we are all in this together.

William Bridges, JobShift

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