We are now faced with a choice: return to old patterns or take a leap into a radical and uncertain future.

By Bruce Mau

2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of what I think of as the last great revolution—the chaos of 1968, when the Vietnam War began to turn, student protests erupted, and the Prague Spring came to a crushing end. Today, North America is facing not one but two revolutions: a revolution of possibility and a revolution of negation.

This may not feel like a particularly revolutionary time. But, if we look closely, we can see current economic, social, and political forces pulling us in two directions. One direction will accelerate us forward, the other backwards. We will decide our fate by the revolution we embrace.

The revolution of possibility is driven by education, science, innovation, and design. It is a cluster of scientific and technological revolutions, all feeding one another. It is about access to wealth, health, and personal freedom.

The revolution of negation is driven by superstition and fear. It is a different sort of cluster—of ignorance, despair, greed, racism, and hatred. It is about shutting other people out and protecting only ourselves. In one version of events, we act collectively; in the other, we hoard our wealth and act alone.