Crucible of Chaos

The world is a dynamic crucible the contents of which are – sometimes quite literally – exploding in the chaos of change. A crucible is a vessel in which elements are fused and transformed under intense heat, with high and focused energy. Millions of years ago this planet was itself a geothermal crucible, as volcanic activity created the physical characteristics we see today – mountain ranges, gold and ore-bearing reefs, diamond pipes, river valleys, agricultural lands. The man-made crucible so central to our global economic development is a reminder in miniature of those cataclysmic events so long ago: searing heat, the bubbling of minerals and molten metals, and the pungency of escaping gases. It is also an apt metaphor for today's human crucible, as the most disparate and often incompatible elements are forced by circumstance into fusion and transformation. A crucible melts down old systems, refines out impurities, forms new alloys, creates new entities, destroys old orders, contains and refocuses energy and sparks thresholds of change. This is a searingly hot and acrid process. One can almost smell burning as one reads of the assassinations in parts of Africa, Asia, or Europe and tries to absorb the virulent rhetoric and the torrents of accusation and counter-accusation. A crucible is not a comfortable place to be.

Into this human crucible are being poured some of the most explosive elements and forces to have plagued the planet itself through history – the ...

Get Beyond Leadership: Balancing Economics, Ethics and Ecology, Revised Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.