The 2nd Renaissance and the Decentralized Revolution are here.
The 1st Renaissance creeped into reality as an inter-disciplinary re-awakening of creativity and production.
More than just the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) disciplines were involved, for a non-religious spiritual expressiveness along with a re-imagining of civics and economics also characterized the pioneers who paved the way toward a cultural renewal. Religion, politics, and finance were not first tier change-agents, but rather resulting shifts caused by the well-rounded innovation that affected all aspects of everyday life.
Those who teach on the 1st Renaissance often list these tale-tale signs: the rebirth of Naturalism, perspective and depth in art, the integration of non-religious themes, privately owned and usually commissioned art, advancements in new technologies such as printing and gunpowder, and the shift in balance of power among Europe’s ruling elite (byjus.com).
The Industrial Revolution followed and “transformed economies that had been based on agriculture and handicrafts into economies based on large-scale industry, mechanized manufacturing, and the factory system” (Britannica).
Isn’t this same type of thing happening right now?
I would suggest a 2nd Renaissance has already begun.
The blending of science, tech, engineering, art, math, civics, and finance are all occurring across the landscape of web3 innovations like Crypto, NFTs, DAOs, the Metaverse, Play-to-Earn Gaming, and DeFi. More and more over the next few years, we will see physical living blurred with digital living, and all of it will be characterized by artistic expression combined with technological innovation demonstrated in everyday uses that alter the very way we live, work, rest, and play.
It’s already happening. Most evident is the demonstration of it in the rise of blockchain technology.
NFTs are much more than digital art, but their artistry nonetheless will be remembered and displayed as cultural icons when historians recount this 2nd Renaissance. The identity and purpose being rebirthed in this moment is most appropriately expressed in the art of NFT and Metaverse communities.
Right now, digital ownership of art as permanent visuals is happening because of the blockchain. In the 1st Renaissance, art was commissioned for the purpose of permanent visuals highlighting the identities of various families who could afford to have them made. And the technological tools being developed right now are much akin to the more rudimentary yet no-less revolutionary tech tools developed in the Industrial Revolution.
The political landscape will be slow to adjust, but adjust it will. What has been known as geographical borders with native communities will within the next decade transform into Metaverse borders with diverse, integrated communities from all over the physical world. The governance structures will be challenged and forced to adapt, as will the infrastructure and security mechanisms those governments have controlled.
The “church” will also be slow, as usual, to recognize. Similar to what happened before, spiritual themes weaved all throughout creativity and innovation right now will at some point inspire religious engagement that will radically challenge what institutional religion has become. It is most likely that another “95 Theses” will be virtually nailed to the door of church buildings everywhere. Hopefully the result will be better for those who nail them than it was for Luther and his contemporaries.
The Decentralized Revolution that is happening actually makes a lot of sense. Economies are no longer based on physical work in one centralized physical location. So, why wouldn’t the currencies, the tools needed, and the methods of manufacturing be revolutionized to include a more digital, virtual, and decentralized way of life?
“So what,” you might say. Well, what matters now is a very simple question:
How will you participate?
Our answers will vary, from “I won’t” all the way to “I will be remembered as the innovator who invented or created such-and-such.”
Make no mistake, though, the 2nd Renaissance and Decentralized Revolution are here.
My hope is that we will lean in together in life-giving ways and create a more beautiful humanity together.