January 2005 - Forecast for the Year
Themes and Trends for 2005
2005 is a year of moving forward in the United States at least. We've been mired in election politics for the past year and many people are simply tired of it all and want to pay more attention to their own lives and individual priorities. In 2005, we can move forward knowing that we have a new President elected, whether we agree with that choice or not.
A sidebar discussion on Democracy at work:
In 2004, our forecast talked about truth and Truth. In 2005, we will continue to see people's viewpoints slanted by their version of the truth (their own personal truth), which could well be different from THE TRUTH (the ultimate Truth). As human beings, we are often not able to see the Truth because we have so many of our own biases, beliefs, viewpoints and prejudices (called "filters") that skew our perception of reality.
In 2005, we expect to see more people taking a practical/pragmatic view. That means, observing what is happening, trying to understand what is right for them, taking action and moving forward based on that personal understanding of reality.
Part of that practical/pragmatic view is accepting what is. Some people will greatly resist accepting what is because it does not fit with their personal world view. People may agonize over changing their beliefs, a very rigorous personal growth process, and find — based on new information — that they define a new reality for themselves. Or, they may completely resist and carry heavy grudges or anger over what they see as an unfair world.
We expect this aspect to help perpetuate the continued polarization that we have seen in recent years. It has certainly shown up around the elections in this country, as well as in the perception of the United States by other countries of the world. Our discussion of the Washington state governor's election earlier is an example this polarization between 2 differing viewpoints.
What makes this time so interesting and exciting to be part of, is that as a country, the US is exploring and revisiting many of our most closely held values.
This phase of our history could be considered similar to the battle teenagers have with their parents as they seek to find their own way in the world. The US is a fairly young country and in many ways, less mature that some other countries of the world, especially many European countries. Since so many of the original founders of the US came from Europe, we could say that Europe represents our parent in many ways.
Many countries that the US sees as immature, such as those in the Middle East, will continue to feel like the younger children in the family — fighting among themselves and feeling greatly outraged at what they perceive to be unfair treatment by their older siblings.
We also expect in 2005 to see more people paying attention to what is right for them, noticing their own perception of reality, noticing how they feel about local, national and international events. They will then take action and more ahead based on their individual decisions about what is real for them.
We expect that individual choices will be greatly tempered by spiritual beliefs, whether or not people consider themselves religious. This is a continuing trend that has been going on for several years.
Please note this does not mean that everyone will agree with each other. In fact, we expect that people's individual realities and perceptions will clash greatly with the realities and perceptions of many others.
The next decade will see this drama played out until we come to a different and more mature way of defining who we are as a country. If we look at dysfunctional family dynamics, it all looks very much like a family battling over their various needs in immature ways. After all, we are all part of the family of the Earth.
Business growth and economic expansion this year may be slower than some would like. It will be somewhat steady although still not stable for everyone.
There are too many still undiscovered unhealthy corporations that will find their inner core is rotten. Those will present opportunities for very public scandals and great opportunities to learn what is real, what should be done and how to make things better for the long term.
The travel industry definitely made a comeback in 2004. The end-of-year travel season is predicted to be back to the year 2000 levels, a good economic situation for an industry that has struggled mightily for several years.
Technology continues its growth and expansion this year as new ways of communicating come to market. The stress of dealing with spam, adware and spyware is forcing Microsoft as well as many other companies to deal with an almost out-of-control situation that could jeopardize this entire industry. Security issues with Microsoft products continue to dominate the technology news as they scramble to retain their customer base.
Cell phone and other wireless gadgets continue to improve and get smaller. The market of potential new cell phone customers is almost saturated and manufacturers are seeking new avenues to make money. We hope the US cell phone industries will eventually make their services as good as they are in Europe, where you can get a signal far out in the country. As long as cell phone and wireless coverage service is only clear along major corridors and in major cities, people will refuse to invest in it. We believe that quality does matter and when manufacturers offer true quality and universally wide coverage, the market is ready to buy.
People continue to demand truth in advertising consumers expect realistic product descriptions and warranties.
As in previous years, privacy and individual rights continue to be a subject of great interest by the public, forcing governments to try to deal with growing identify theft and misuse of personal, private information. The European community has been much farther ahead of the US in this regard. We still expect to see more serious consideration in the US for adopting the European guidelines for data privacy and protection, over the strident protests of US companies who have greatly abused the information available to them.
The way people related to debt and their personal finances is changing. JP Van Hulle called the 20th century, the "century of debt." She calls the 21st century, the "century of choice." In the past 100 years, we took debt to the highest possible limits and learned all about its positive and negative aspects. In this century, we have the opportunity to make a personal choice about what debts we want to incur and what debts we want to avoid. We no longer need to have a "tit for tat." Many people are choosing to cut up their credit cards, which means the credit card companies are trying harder and harder to woo us back into their influence. Notice how many people you interact with have changed their attitude toward debt in the past few years.
In health care, people are taking more responsibility for their own health. Alternative health practices and practitioners are becoming more mainstream. More people are choosing not to take drugs just because everyone else is doing it. Even many seemingly "safe" drugs have come under increased scrutiny this year. We expect to see more of this trend over the next few years. When people feel responsible for their health and well-being, they are more likely to take care of their bodies and their environment. Notice how many people you interact with have changed their attitude toward their own health care in the past few years. This has lead to the raging popularity of the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet and similar programs that help us maintain healthy nutrition. We are seeing schools paying more attention to the lunch menus, offering more healthy well-balanced choices and becoming concerned about growing obesity problems.
Overall, be believe 2005 will feel like things are moving forward. People will feel a sense of accomplishment in their personal lives even if they don't see much hope for their country or the world at large.
We wish you joy, prosperity, good health, good friends and good times in 2005.
ps: As we finish this newsletter, we hope everyone will join us in acknowledging the terrible disaster of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Asia last week. Please say a prayer or do whatever feels right to you for all of those who have passed on or offer help in some way to the families who remain and everyone who is trying to help. In hard times like this, we can deeply feel the connectedness of all the people of the family of the Earth.
This forecast represents our views and opinions. Please, don't just take our word (or anyone else's) for what will or will not happen. Use whatever methods work for you in planning for the future. Wise people will use all the forecasts they can find, then see what feels right for them rather than letting any one dictate their activities.
No guarantees about the future are implied or given - use our views as you would anyone's opinions.
Last year's forecast: January, 2004
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