"Another thing I notice is that time seems to be speeding up. We all have this experience every day. No matter how hard we work or how much success we enjoy, it never seems to be enough. There is always more to do, more pressure, and not enough time. It is as if the earth were spinning more rapidly on its axis. We see similar patterns in the cycles of competition and in the loss of a sense of personal peace. Whether the developments we experience are positive or negative, the dynamic that powers them is steadily getting quicker and more intense.

"From this perspective, I would say that over the next few decades we will get more clear about some things and more confused about others; we will make rapid progress in some fields and stagnate in others. Some nations will rise to the top of the world order and others will sink down; some will compete successfully and others will experience hosts of new problems. In some parts of the world there will be more poverty, disease, and famine, while others will enjoy relative prosperity. In some parts of the globe efforts to establish peace will meet with success, but other regions will be unsettled, with frequent bloodshed. All these cycles may speed up, but in most other respects they will be like the cycles that every civilization has experienced throughout history.

"One difference may be that nowadays we are more closely connected to one another, so that our collective karma is stronger. Media, technology, and economics all support globalization, so we can expect that our own destinies will be bound up with those of the rest of the world. This means more intimacy, but also more vulnerability. A change in one region or area will quickly be reflected in other changes elsewhere.

"Perhaps this new interdependence will help us experience more directly the pain and suffering of others, making it harder to turn away from these uncomfortable realities and teaching us to care for one another. But it may also turn out differently. If we continue to emphasize our own individual desires — if we stay focused on our personal concerns — the resulting limits on our view and knowledge will be that much more likely to have a global impact. When feelings, reactions, and information are all shared in common almost instantly, it is difficult not to react without taking time to reflect. The result may be that whatever unforeseen negative consequences arise will spread quickly through the world, feeding on themselves. In that case, things could get worse more quickly than we expect, spiraling out of control."