Lewis Jaffe, 75, president and founder of 21st Century Networking, a nonprofit organization, and its offshoot, the Intergenerational Institute, both based in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
"We are living at a unique moment in history: Seldom has a society changed so thoroughly, so rapidly. The big challenge for everyone — but especially for older generations — is to accept, rather than resist, the pace of change. Only by embracing change can we mold it in a way that benefits all of us.
"There is a disconnect between people of different generations. They look at the same events, but they see different things. For us to move forward together, generations must find common ground."
"Internet time requires us to take a leap of faith into new ways of working and communicating. Young people have no problem leaping into the unknown. But many older people are bewildered by the shift to Internet time. The changes that they're living through now are obliterating all of the boundaries — time, space, geography — to which they've grown accustomed.
"In an age of sweeping transformation, young people can use new vision and new ideas to help older citizens adjust to change. At the same time, older generations can supply young people with wisdom, experience, and the ability to put change into context."
Futurology Decoder Key
"In healthy communities of the future, the old spirit of competition — rugged individualism — will give way to the power of collaboration. This transformation is already happening in business, now that teams and virtual alliances have become the way to get things done. Society is too complex for individuals to go it alone anymore. As the generations establish common ground, they will learn to appreciate one another for their disparate talents."
Contact Lewis Jaffe by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A version of this article appeared in the June 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.