#Change11 change and resistance to change

Change is everywhere. No thing is unchanged. Mountains disappear, Glacials come and go.  Change in the human world  will be resisted by:

  • Law and rules, institutions (sometimes the rules have to be changed to make change possible).
  • Physical things (change sometimes needs change of environment, or of conditions).
  • Economy (change must be rewarding).

Resistance to change is influenced by:

  • Preferences, ethical, esthetical and emotional preferences.
  • Avoiding or being attracted by uncertainty and unpredictability and newness.

Speed of change depends on these aspects.

Learning is change, change of habits of thinking or acting. Change is breaking habits.

Is curiosity a feature of people who are attracted to uncertainty?
Is learning together a safer way to change and learn? Does socially connected learning avoid the emotionally evoked resistance to change?
What do people prefer change or continuity?
What is the appeal of conservatism and the Romantic longing for the past?
(Image: waterfal on Raasay, Scotland)

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10 thoughts on “#Change11 change and resistance to change

  1. I know very few people who like change to for the sake of change – most don’t want change in the areas where they need stability, but embrace it in areas where they need variety. The resistance isn’t just a preference – it’s internal to a person’s needs.

    I teach my students that 19th century conservatism was founded on the premise that stability was more important than either liberty (what liberals valued) or equality (what radicals valued). To apply this here, conservatism emerges when people value stabillity, and thus (usually) continuity.

    Curiosity may be an element of either approach – conservatives are sometimes merely protectionists or reactionaries, but sometimes they are rationally examining the options for change out of curiosity or interest, then rejecting the options that threaten their world view, their job, their perceptions, or (most importantly) their values.

    Learning does indeed involve change, but it may not be change as in changing your mind, or changing your actions. That change may be internal, in learning about things and examining ones own conceptions. It may or may not lead to external changes. It may, indeed, justify keeping those elements that are valued most.

  2. Curiosity is definitely a major factor, possibly related to why the Church considered curiositas not a virtue but a sin, and a serious one being at the root of others. Some are more comfortable with, less resistant to change than other. Early experience, positive and negative, seems a likely factor.

  3. By the nature of how we perceive the flow of time change appears to look forward which in English suggests a second meaning: to progress. If we free change from directionality it’s possible to see it as a continuous state of being–to learn, to forget, to not now know; all involve difference from current, previous or future states of being and I think count as change.

    Because the past has happened we assume it to be a witnessed event and more reliable than the future. By its simply having occurred it might even escape analysis. There is comfort in the past being finished and decided while the future may be uncertain.

    More practically, I find people who dislike change to be less confident of themselves. They may be very loud in their opinions of how the world works but I think feel vulnerable to being destabilized by change. Questioning can be a sign of weakness or lack of maturity. Alternately, some have simply worked out a personal peace within themselves that allows a level of sustainability that could be shattered to no purpose by insisting that stability isn’t a perfectly rational goal.

    There is nothing wrong with resisting change if the proposed difference violates your values. But what if the resistance is only to project an image of decisiveness? And… People in power violate the concept of change on occasion by forcing it on others. We have posters around campus that say “embrace change” that really mean “if what you are doing is different than what we told you to do–stop doing it.”

    Saw a cartoon of a dentist reassuring his patient: “You will experience a short period of intense pain followed by a prolonged period of personal growth.”

  4. Good point Vanessa. Early experience with curiosity being tolerated makes for comfort in being unsure. I know people who see it as their duty to inform their children on every rule for living they can think of. It’s fine when it involves not running across the street but gets out of hand when it involves every possible bad outcome the imagination can devise. Oddly, people who are less tolerant of an imaginative account of reality seem more susceptible to BS.

  5. Thanks for your answer, and of reminding me of this opinion of the Church. Still some sayings and folk stories exist that condemn curiosity. But I cannot find something on curiosity being a sin. Do you know a citation or a website or whatever about curiosity as a sin?
    I found this Greogorius I (pope) said: Grave namque curiositatis est vitium. Curiosity is a vice. [Bös, Gunther: Curiositas die Rezeption eines antiken Begriffes durch christliche Autoren bis Thomas von Aquin Paderborn ]

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