The Philosophy of Change

Self-Portrait by Baccino Bandinelli

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” (NiccolòMachiavelli, in The Prince, chapter VI)

The cost of changing things is very high. Those who propose themselves to bring about change, that will introduce the world to a new order of things, may count on being picked on, insulted, persecuted, injured and (in extremis) killed.

People do not welcome change for several reasons:
  1.   Fear of leaving the comfort zone. Once a human being gets used to act and react in a certain way, do things his way and be comfortable with his own choices, he will refuse to step out his mental “nest” and adventure himself to new fly-zones.
  2. Fear of uncertainty. Humans love clinging to their certainties however certainty is an illusion. Sure, change bears uncertainty (of which path to follow, of what outcome the new path will produce, of the consequences etc), but under uncertainty we can be certain that energies are in constant motion; whereas under certainty we can rest assure that energies have stagnated and so have we.
  3. Fear of learning new things. Our species believes that once it gets to adulthood it needs not to learn new things for he already possesses all the necessary knowledge (acquired either empirical or academically) – another illusion. We learn from the day we incarnate until the day we disincarnate (and even beyond).
  4.  Power. People who have looked power in the eye and merged with it, find it hard to disengage and let go; therefore any sort of change is viewed as a threat to their position and, as such, they will set in motion several steps to put down those who bring (or promise to bring) about change by all means necessary – “vanity of vanities”.

Yeshua (Jesus) introduced a new form of thinking and doing things: he was persecuted, insulted, spat on, injured and killed.
Galileo Galilei brought about a scientific revolution: he was insulted, persecuted and arrested; his work banned.
Patrice Lumumba had a vision for his newly independent nation (a vision that displeased the West since Lumumba refused to be its puppet): he was deposed, ridiculed, persecuted and executed.
Joana Simeão and Lázaro Kavandame (Mozambique) opposed FRELIMO and tried to challenge its hegemony and one-party rule: they were arrested, ridiculed, tortured and executed.   
Aung San Suu Kyi had a democratic vision for her nation (Burma): she was attacked, imprisoned for years and her words censored.
The examples are endless…

Machiavelli was right in 1505 and he remains so in 2012:

“The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions”

Comments

  1. Let me give you more food for thought.

    “When we try to bring about change in our societies, we are treated first with indifference, then with ridicule, then with abuse and then with oppression. And finally, the greatest challenge is thrown at us: We are treated with respect. This is the most dangerous stage.”

    ~ A. T. Ariyaratne.

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    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      "Let me give you more food for thought."

      Please do...

      «“When we try to bring about change in our societies, we are treated first with indifference, then with ridicule, then with abuse and then with oppression. And finally, the greatest challenge is thrown at us: We are treated with respect. This is the most dangerous stage.” ~ A. T. Ariyaratne.»

      So true. I am a bit like the Russians: I think it is better to be feared than to be respected.
      It is easy to pretend that one respects another (while disguising all sorts of plots and future injuries) but it is not facile to hide fear (or pretend it) making it thus easier to predict the other's next move...
      What are your thoughts on this?

      Rummy, thank you ever so much for this outstanding input: I absolutely adore it :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. I think we, as humans, do not adapt well to change. Even changing around the furniture shakes people up! I think change is adapted to better if it is slow!

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    1. Hi D! :D

      "I think we, as humans, do not adapt well to change. Even changing around the furniture shakes people up! I think change is adapted to better if it is slow!"

      It is not universal; but yes, most humans do not adapt well to change. LOL LOL that is true.
      I personally follow a motto I learned in Business School: "The only way to cope with change is to help creating it!".

      D, fantastic comment for which I thank you so much :D. Always a pleasure, darling.

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. “The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions”

    Obama has for enemies all those who have done well under the old Republican conditions...

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    1. Hahaha true, unfortunately.

      Delete
    2. Hi Anonymous :D!

      "Obama has for enemies all those who have done well under the old Republican conditions..."

      I hear you, mate.

      Anonymous, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. Max, change is difficult cause it forces us to confront ourselves, our fears and mistakes: ouch!
    As for politicians who bring forth change: they will find resistence in those who made wealth (in every way possible) because their business is in dange in more ways than one.
    What can they do then to prevent their death?

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    1. Hi Ana :D!

      "Max, change is difficult cause it forces us to confront ourselves, our fears and mistakes: ouch!"

      Yes, I heard the same from a friend earlier today...

      "As for politicians who bring forth change: they will find resistence in those who made wealth (in every way possible) because their business is in dange in more ways than one.
      What can they do then to prevent their death?"

      That is true. The politicians have to find ways to include those who did well under the old conditions...on one must be alienated. The innovator may have his/her own views but must never be radical or hasty, know what I mean? It is a tricky thing to strategise but it can also be fascinating as well; don't you think so?

      Ana, thank you so much for your super comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. My favorite change quote is

    Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
    ---John Kenneth Galbraith

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    1. Hi Cheerful Monk :D!

      "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ---John Kenneth Galbraith"

      You know? Very good quote indeed.

      CM, thank you so much for sharing your favourite change quote with us :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  6. I don't know if this is so true... of course, there are some elements of fearing change in the human mind. But we also welcome it as fresh and exciting quite often. There's some of both, and a lot of the time accepting the change prevails. Don't forget about the innovators throughout history who went on to become wildly successful.

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    1. Hi Vid :D!

      "I don't know if this is so true... of course, there are some elements of fearing change in the human mind. But we also welcome it as fresh and exciting quite often."

      You are right, it is not universally true. Many people do welcome change as fresh and exciting, but most do not. Like Delirious said even changing the furniture around can be daunting...

      "There's some of both, and a lot of the time accepting the change prevails. Don't forget about the innovators throughout history who went on to become wildly successful."

      It would be convenient dooe them to accept it eventually, but the truth is that they don't always and then end up doing therapy for a long long time (as many do).
      I do not forget but they have gone through some sort of resistence first...even Freud.

      Vid, fabulous comment for which I thank you ever so much :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  7. Hi Max,

    Happy Tuesday my friend.

    We humans are all creatures of habit and change initially is fraught with fear, but being the incredible beings that we are, we change regardless from a push inside or outside. If we are not changing, we are not living. Every part of us is in motion whether we realize it or not. Even if we stumble, we are moving forward. Unlike anything else, change is something we CAN take with us.

    “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide

    Max you've done it again. Your thought process is incredible!

    Change is Good Cheers!

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    1. Hi Lady A :D!

      "Happy Tuesday my friend."

      Happy Thursday :D! I apologise for the tardy response: I have been doing some research...

      "If we are not changing, we are not living."

      Isn't that a fact?

      "Every part of us is in motion whether we realize it or not. Even if we stumble, we are moving forward. Unlike anything else, change is something we CAN take with us."

      Indeed, we already had this conversation. But somehow it is difficult for people to have conscience of that constant motion (and all they had to do is to look at their body and how it changes constantly...accepting this fact should help them embrace change more easily).

      «“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide»

      Wonderful quote, darling! Thanks for sharing it with us :D.

      "Max you've done it again. Your thought process is incredible!"

      Thank you *bowing*.

      Lady A, thank you so much for your outstanding comment and kindness :D.

      Pro-Change Cheers

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  8. Hey Max! Change is not easy for all of us for the reasons that you've pointed out. Alexys is right as well because consciously or unconsciously, we change and adapt to it.

    Great post once again!

    I'm doing great, I hope you are, too. :)

    Kisses and hugs.

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    1. Hi Liza :D!

      "Alexys is right as well because consciously or unconsciously, we change and adapt to it."

      Absolutely.

      "Great post once again!"

      Thank you so much *bowing*.

      "I'm doing great, I hope you are, too. :)"

      That is a blessing :D. Yes, I am doing wonderfully, thank you :).

      Liza, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us :D. Loved having you here.

      Hugs and cheers

      Delete
  9. Bonsoir...
    L'homme à changé, depuis des millénaires il s'est adapté, petit à petit, pour ne pas dire lentement.
    Mais il a prouvé qu'il peut changer tout en gardant sa peur au ventre. Comme la nature il n'aime pas le vide, alors il garde ce qu'il connait, parce que pour lui, changer, c'est se remettre à... d'ou la force de la foi. Peu importe son nom, avoir la foi peut transporter des montagnes.

    Il est préférable de comprendre et de vouloir évoluer, avant que les évènements ne nous y obligent. Cela peut s'apprendre à l'école, entre autre, et s'appelle ouverture d'esprit.

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    1. Salut Sérénité :D!

      "L'homme à changé, depuis des millénaires il s'est adapté, petit à petit, pour ne pas dire lentement."

      C'est aussi vrai...

      "Peu importe son nom, avoir la foi peut transporter des montagnes."

      Je suis d'accord, mais ceux qui ont perdue la foi (ou l'ont jamais connu) ne croient pas que elle puisse transporter des montagnes; parce qu'ils peuvent pas croire une chose que pour eux n'existe pas, n'est-ce pas?

      "Il est préférable de comprendre et de vouloir évoluer, avant que les évènements ne nous y obligent. Cela peut s'apprendre à l'école, entre autre, et s'appelle ouverture d'esprit."

      Et nous avons bien besoin d'ouverture d'esprit pour assimiler bien tout ce qu'on apprends à l'école (et nous savons bien que cela n'arrive pas toujours).

      Sérénité, merci infiniment pour avoir partagé ta sagesse :D.

      Je t'embrasse

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  10. Can't agree more with your thoughts...change is painful but eminent. Over the centuries change is the only thing that has remained constant. Indeed the human mind is nurtured or crafted in a way so as to resist change but sooner than the later it accepts it, until it becomes some kind of a mass hysteria. But one thing I have noticed is Change is never gradual but it suddenly comes like a storm, which has to happen within a deadline and that may be one of the reasons, people get jolted and the mind perturbed. The satan is the master of the mind and so if the demon is not taken care of in the early stages, it just grows in size, although ultimately it has to accept the reality.

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    1. Hi Kalyan :D!

      "(...) change is painful but eminent. Over the centuries change is the only thing that has remained constant."

      Absolutely.

      "Indeed the human mind is nurtured or crafted in a way so as to resist change but sooner than the later it accepts it, until it becomes some kind of a mass hysteria."

      You have noticed it as well, huh?

      "But one thing I have noticed is Change is never gradual but it suddenly comes like a storm, which has to happen within a deadline and that may be one of the reasons, people get jolted and the mind perturbed. The satan is the master of the mind and so if the demon is not taken care of in the early stages, it just grows in size, although ultimately it has to accept the reality."

      Yes, I have realised that as well. It is like humans do not appreciate gradual change...they like to be pushed violently towards it. Again, most humans are prone to extremes...

      Kalyan, outstanding comment for which I thank you so much :D.

      Cheers

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  11. Max:

    A thought provoking post. Change. Even Einstein said the only constant is change. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you get the meaning. Change is responsible for everything we are, what we do, and all that we experience, either internally or in our external environment. So far, so good.

    However, we have to be cautious because not all change is good. For instance, the atom bomb is an instrument of change, but, with all due respect to Albert Einstein, I certainly wouldn't consider the A-bomb a good thing. Julius Caesar dissolved the power of the Roman Senate for his own benefit and Roma was forever changed. Was that a good thing? I don't think so. There are modern day demigods who would like to have followed in Caesars footsteps. They tell us that we are in a depressingly sad state and only they have the power and the wisdom to bring about change to be fair, to be a member of a collective good, to live a fruitful life under their benevolent umbrella. Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are all prime examples of change. They professed to lead us out of our miserable existence into the guiding light of Utopia. It all sounds too much like the Communist Manifesto to me.

    So I guess what this discussion boils down to is that there are two sides to change - the Yin and Yang, so to speak. It's fifty fifty, like the toss of coin. One side Utopia. The other side a living hell. So yes, change could be good, provided you are on the right side of the coin toss. But if you should find yourself in the presence of a strong, charismatic leader, someone who professes to know what's right for you, someone who says he or she can bring about the needed change that will make your life more pleasant, more productive, and the big one, more fair, and they want you to blindly give yourself over to their ideology, before giving in, I say you had better ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky?

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    1. Hi Swu :D!

      "A thought provoking post."

      *Bowing*...thank you.

      "Change. Even Einstein said the only constant is change. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you get the meaning. Change is responsible for everything we are, what we do, and all that we experience, either internally or in our external environment. So far, so good."

      True.

      "However, we have to be cautious because not all change is good"

      Ah, I disagree: the process of change may not be good but in the end it will be right, because it obeys the rule that "everything happens for a reason". We may not perceive or feel it as being good, but the final result is what we needed or deserved - how about that one :)?

      "For instance, the atom bomb is an instrument of change, but, with all due respect to Albert Einstein, I certainly wouldn't consider the A-bomb a good thing"

      I agree; but its existence made the world do whatever it can not to make use of nukes in an irresponsible way, right? Meaning that a good change was produced after all.

      "Julius Caesar dissolved the power of the Roman Senate for his own benefit and Roma was forever changed. Was that a good thing? I don't think so."

      It was, in the end.

      "Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are all prime examples of change. They professed to lead us out of our miserable existence into the guiding light of Utopia. It all sounds too much like the Communist Manifesto to me."

      But because they existed (and exist, in the case of Ahmadinejad) a good change was produced (and will be). Their existence changed political strategies, views and behaviours; it changed our perception of good and evil; it made us review a lot of positions and make us confront our own bias side all the time...like I said, evil can be produced in order to bring the good change that is the right one.

      "So I guess what this discussion boils down to is that there are two sides to change - the Yin and Yang, so to speak"

      I could argue that two sides of change keep the world balanced.

      "One side Utopia. The other side a living hell."

      Ah, but Utopia is not the opposite of hell; sometimes it can be the same as hell.

      "But if you should find yourself in the presence of a strong, charismatic leader, someone who professes to know what's right for you, someone who says he or she can bring about the needed change that will make your life more pleasant, more productive, and the big one, more fair, and they want you to blindly give yourself over to their ideology, before giving in, I say you had better ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky?"

      LOL LOL message received. Nevertheless, you assume that the electorate today is the same as 20 years ago, when it is not. Today, people are more informed and have access to more information than ever before in Human History; so I doubt it that when they choose a leader they do it based on charisma and glamour only. At least in the West.
      As for the rest, all politicians profess to know what is right for people and that change will be generated etc etc...it's part of the process.

      Swu, exceptional comment for which I thank you ever so much :D. You were missed.

      Cheers

      Delete

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