Change is not the enemy. Change is reality. So Why Do We Find It So Hard To Embrace Change?
For thousands of years, we survived yesterday. So doing today, what we did yesterday, makes sense. Over time we became genetically conditioned to fear and avoid change. Today, our primitive ego adds another layer to our genetic resistance to change. Our primitive ego avoids change because it undermines and challenges our self-identity. Who we are and what we believe. When our self-identity is threatened by change, we feel internally fragmented. We become anxious.
Fortunately, change is not an enemy. Change is creation. Change is becoming. And in this universe, change is reality. Without change, life would never have evolved on this planet.
Why Do We Find It So Hard To Embrace Change? Change Offers Us Two Choices
Change is difficult for most of us… but change offers us two important choices. When we choose to embrace change, it stretches us. It helps us grow and become the person we were meant to become. When we embrace change, we are willing to open our minds to new wisdom. When we choose to resist or fear change, we tend to solidify our beliefs and reject new information. We close our minds. We refuse to grow and learn. We become ideologically rigid. And that rigidity creates ignorance.
Reality Is Now Offering Our Nation The Opportunity To Choose: Wisdom Or Ignorance
We live in a universe in which things are always changing, evolving, and “becoming”. And in today’s world, the changes are coming faster than we can cope with them. Humanity is struggling to embrace the challenging realities that inevitably come with rapid change. We are experiencing the angst that comes from feeling overwhelmed. Global warming, globalization, growing debt, growing hunger, growing poverty, a declining middle-class… are only a few of the challenges that change is forcing us to cope with and solve.
For many of us, it feels like the world is falling apart. Do we embrace the challenges that come with change, or do we resist change and attempt to avoid them? Do we choose wisdom? Or ignorance?
For example, I believe the GOP and Trump pulled out of the global warming climate accord not to make America great again. They pulled out of the UN Climate Accord because they are playing to the politics of their base: a base that is resisting change. A base that is attempting to “push the river” by resisting reality. A base that is attempting to redefine change as the enemy that needs to be stopped and defeated. They want to go back to the way they think the world was sixty years ago. My fear is that the GOP base is headed for deep disappointment.
Why? Because going back is not an option. Making America great again by going back to the 1950’s is a fantasy. It’s simply not possible. That world no longer exists. We are not living in the world that existed in the 1950’s. The only viable choice we have is that of moving forward and dealing with the challenges that threaten our future. And I believe a growing number of voters on both sides of the aisle are also beginning to agree with that premise.
Our Nation Is Choosing The Wisdom That Comes With Change
There is a growing national consensus that we need to make some important changes. For example, we need to protect our middle-class much better than we’ve been doing for the last twenty to thirty years. We need to end our dependence on carbon-based energy and become more aggressive in our battle against global warming. We need to deal with our dangerous and exponentially growing national debt. A level of debt that is unsustainable. Stated simply, our government needs to stop making promises to the people in our nation… that it can’t afford. We are coming to the realization that we need to end the 4.4 trillion dollar never-ending war we are waging against an ideology… a war we cannot win with bombs. Bombs only create more pain and suffering for the innocent who become “collateral damage”… and in the process only end up creating more terrorists.
It’s time for America of 2017 to acknowledge that we are living in a world that has radically changed in the last sixty years. Global warming is a scientific reality. Wealth inequality is destroying both the middle-class and our democracy. The 1% are buying our elected officials in order to increase their wealth. Our health care system is not ready to deal with 11,000 baby boomers a day entering the system for the next ten to twelve years. Things need to change but going back to the “good old days” of ultra-nationalism is not the answer.
The Solution? We Have To Deal With The Reality Of Globalization And The Clashing Worldviews, Religions And Values That Come With Globalization
The changes I listed above are only a few of the national and global changes that are coming whether or not we are ready for them. We have become an inter-connected, global economic world now. That is a fact that we cannot unwind. We are economically too interdependent and too interconnected. We are not going to have the option of stopping or reversing the globalization of our planet. But we do need to start helping the various diverse global religions and cultures of our planet adapt as they struggle to become part of our evolving global world.
We need to better support the diversity that is present in our planet’s various global cultures as those cultures make the transition from ethnocentric nationalism to world-centric globalism. Adopting the worldviews and perspectives of strangers outside of one’s social group is not something that happens quickly. The transition from tribal nationalism to globalism can not happen overnight. It takes generations. Unfortunately, we are currently forcing this integration far too quickly. Whether we are talking about a family, a community, a congregation, or a nation….it takes a long time for people to shift their values, norms, and identity boundaries. Developing the capacity to absorb and adopt worldviews, values, and perspectives that are alien to their existing culture requires a level of patience that our world is just beginning to understand and accept.
If this integration process is forced on a culture, that culture will experience a crisis. Its cohesion and self-identity will feel fragmented and threatened. It will need time to restore its previous sense of wholeness. In the meantime… it will feel the need to aggressively protect and defend its cultural boundaries and values from external threats. If we force this integration too quickly, we will encourage the birth of the patriots we have always called terrorists. In 1776, our founders were labeled by England as aggressive terrorists.
To state this concept in simple terms, the more a national culture feels valued and respected, the faster this process of integration into the global community will happen. But we will always need to think in generational time frames… not years or decades.
Our current economic globalization has not allowed enough time or support for this cultural absorption process to happen organically… or peacefully.
We are forcing cultures to evolve faster than they can absorb new and often alien worldviews and perspectives. Most of the emerging world today feels both threatened and left out of the benefits of globalization. They experience the western world as a culture with an ideology of greed that has isolated them from the resources of our planet. It’s no wonder, so many of the world’s cultures are angry and fighting back so aggressively. And I would include the threatened middle class in our own nation in that assessment.
We cannot isolate ourselves in a global world. And we cannot isolate others. We need to more equitably share the resources of our planet with the emerging third world nations and begin to more willingly embrace the concepts of mutual benefit and common good for all people. We need to help all of our planet’s diverse global cultures adapt to globalization by providing access to improved education, more equitable economic support, and access to better healthcare. The more they experience the benefits of becoming a part of a global community, the faster they will integrate voluntarily into the global community.
This concept is also true for the middle-class of our own nation. Because of the growing wealth inequality, too many people in our own nation are feeling isolated… unable to enjoy the benefits of globalization. And just like so many of the nation’s and culture’s around the world who are currently unable to enjoy the benefits of globalization… they are angry. When we combine this economic reality of economic isolation with the fact that we are not giving people the time they need to more organically and naturally become part of the growing globalization of our planet, it’s no wonder we are experiencing so much anger and violence around the world… including the growing violence and polarization inside our own country.
Picture how the Western world would react if China was the dominant economic and financial global power attempting to force its culture, its economic system, its language, its religions, and its cultural values on us! It could happen over many generations. But it would never happen overnight! And it would happen only if we felt that our culture was deeply respected and valued. And only if we experienced the economic benefits of becoming a viable part of the Chinese-based global culture.
Change is not the enemy. Change is reality. But healthy change requires human beings have the time needed for them to organically adapt to that change. Change requires that one is fully included, fully valued, and an integral part of the change that is happening.
Having change forced on us too quickly, or simply resisting change in general… are both forms of resisting reality or “pushing the river”. They never yield a good outcome.
And that is the lesson and wisdom that we are currently learning both nationally and globally. Unfortunately, time is not on our side. The changes we are being asked to deal with are coming faster than we can adapt, and they are far too dangerous to ignore. It’s time we began to work together as a global community toward mutual benefit and the common good of all people.