It is not very often that the world witnesses the turning of the calendar from one millennium to another. In fact, it only occurs about once every 1,000 years.
The evolution from one millennium to the next can be viewed as insignificant simply because it does not require any human action. It will inevitably happen even if we try our best to prevent it.
Yet, it also stands as a milestone. If nothing else, it is a demarcation of our civilization, signifying our ability to exist for a sustained period of time without all killing each other. If for no other reason than that, reaching the year 2000 was a huge accomplishment.
Now that the corks which were popped have long since been landfilled, we said "Happy New Year" to whatever loved one or stranger was standing next to us back then, and we "partied like it's 1999", it is time to view this event constructively, since we are still in the earliest years of this new millennium.
Ideas / Solutions
We can use this milestone as an opportunity, especially for youth, to reflect on past accomplishments, recognize where we are today in the broader context of social evolution, and chart future paths.
A national committee, sponsored by Congress or the President, should organize a nationwide, or even international, essay contest. It should encourage participation from youths ranging from our very youngest through those of college-age, since they have a greater stake, at least in the next century to come, than today's adults. There could still be another division of the essay contest that is open for adult participation.
The essay contest could be entitled "The Third Thousand" and welcome entrants to write on such themes as:
- the complexion of the future,
- future innovations and lifestyles,
- the future of the world community,
- the meaning of entering a new millennium,
- the progression of social values,
- advances in metaphysical and spiritual understandings,
- conceivable future solutions to present dilemmas, or
- just about anything else that relates to the event.
It would be guaranteed to provide innumerable fascinating impressions, views, prognostications, and ideas. A vast array of youth could be expected to give the subject a lot of serious thought. The essays could serve as a testament to where we have arrived as a species, and could very possibly contain countless visions of the future which spur positive action and thought in the years that follow. Some of the visions could develop into blueprints for action.
The contest could be self-financing. Volumes of the entries could be published. Enough copies could be expected to sell that a major publisher might be more than willing to sponsor the contest and pay honoraria to each of the writers whose essays are included in the publication. If the contest were conducted internationally rather than just within the US, there could be an interest in publishing the results in numerous languages and marketing it worldwide.
The competition could develop into a milestone itself, which might remain as a time capsule giving testament to the era, for use by future historians and anthropologists. It could open minds as to the visions of the future from different cultures, and help chart a course for the decades that follow. The end result would be a serious and thoughtful way to celebrate this new millennium which remains in its infancy. It is a natural moment for perspective.
Reflecting on the status of the world at the onset of the year 1000 compared to the onset of the year 2000 should be, in itself, enough motivation to initiate this essay contest. The prospect of the next thousand years would provide ample fodder for thought to drive many to put quill to parchment, or keypad to hard drive, and record their impressions.