© 2010 John Casimir O'Keefe

The Conceptual Age

What is “the Conceptual Age?”  Daniel Pink, in his book, A Whole New Mind; Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future, shares the following ages,[1] the Agriculture Age (farmers), the Industrial Age (factory workers), the Information Age (knowledge workers) and the conceptual Age (creators and empathizers).  My friend Doug Pagitt calls the Conceptual Age, the Inventive Age.  Now, in my conversations with Doug I think we are talking about the same things, we are just using different terms.  I like the idea of a Conceptual Age far more then I like the idea of an Inventive Age – and here is why.

The idea of an “Inventive Age” seems too industrial for me.  In 1839 (smack in the middle of the Industrial Age) Edgar Allen Poe coined the term “Inventive Age” in a short story entitled, “The Man That Was Used Up.”[2] The term was used to describe the Industrial Age, so for me the connection is that the Inventive Age is just another way of saying the Industrial Age.

Generally speaking, Pink’s break down of the “ages” can hold true for the church.  The idea that Pink brings out is that they represent shifts in communal thinking and a shift in the collective thought process of the people.

The Conceptual Age brings about our right brain dominance and pushes back the left brain dominance of the Industrial Age. It is an age where we find and define comfort in our spiritual walk – an age where spirit, creativity and empathy become forces that move us in our faith journey.  An age where we find our place with the divine and we embrace the mysteries of our faith journey.  The Conceptual Age can be seen as an age where our desire to connect to others becomes central to our faith journey and community over individualism invites us to be part of the story of the divine.  It is an age where creativity rules.

The Conceptual Age brings with it some very cool ideas – ideas like being Open, where we share our lives in connection with others and the divine and we accept people regardless of their past.  It is an age where we Dance to the rhythms and tempo of the community and we embrace the music.  We do not require people to follow the dance of others, but we invite them to dance the dance the divine shares with them.  It is an age where we Create and we invite others to be creative.  We embrace that reality that we are made in the image of God and God creates, so we create.  We learn to Listen.  We focus on what others are saying and we actually hear what they are saying and what they share has meaning to us.  We Play, we enjoy the live we have and the blessings God has given to us and we become childlike in our faith and connections.  We see “maturity” as developing a childlike faith and love for others.  In the Conceptual Age we know the Story.  We know our story and how the divine speaks in our story.  We listen to the stories of others and we invite their story to intertwine with our story and in turn, our story will intertwine with their story.  By doing this we bring about the story of the collective with the divine.

[1] Pink, Daniel H.  A Whole New Mind; Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future. Riverhead Books, New York.  2005.  Page 49.

[2] Sometimes it appears with the subtitled “A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign,”


  1. Posted 2010/07/12 at 7:13 pm | #

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  2. Posted 2010/07/27 at 10:56 pm | #

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  3. Posted 2010/07/31 at 9:41 pm | #

    Great, I never knew this, thanks.

  4. Posted 2010/08/20 at 2:33 pm | #

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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