Sometimes I like change . . . sometimes I really don’t. I’ve learned that it is imperative to find out just what another person is talking about when speaking of change, because the very idea of change can change. God declares the he never has and never will change (Malachi 3:6) but, other than that, change is here to stay . . . unless something changes:
Action and reaction, ebb and flow,and trial and error: at the very core of existence one finds change. Nothing remains the same. Life flows like a rhythm, from overconfidence, fear, out of fear, clearer vision and fresh hope, and out of hope, progress.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am glad that life has indulged me the flexibility of change. I glance back over my shoulder and am chagrined at what I once thought were grounds for an argument. But, fortunately, I have been allowed the cultural elbowroom to massage my prerogatives. I have to smile at myself when I think of the frustrating early years when I was addicted to the illusionary dream of personal wealth accumulation. Then, for a short period of time there was a restyling regeneration where I was determined to dowell so that I could do good. But, oh, what a fulfilling change it was when it finally dawned on me that the doing good and being good were really the important changes needed. That was when I decided to give the best of my life for the rest of my life helping other people be better off . . . for a change.
There were three subtle nuances of the change concept that helped me through metamorphosis and affected my personal life, business life, and humanitarian efforts. I will share those with you:
· Mutation: There are certain aspects of the change phenomenon that have a tendency to pull you off track and neutralize you. Elements that are merged with those of relative similarity can result in an identity or brand that is dissimilar and dysfunctional. If you cross a nice horse with a nice donkey the best you can expect is a nice, but sterile, mule. In the early years of Project C.U.R.E. there were pressures for us to merge our efforts with other well-intentioned organizations. But, the organizational chromosomes would have failed to carry the correct message for a proper future, and our best efforts would have ended up dysfunctional and disappointing. It is imperative during the change process to always keep our mission clear and not allow institutionalization to sterilize our efforts and set us in pursuit of preservation rather than progress.
· Permutation: At our home in the mountains of Colorado, Anna Marie and I enjoy working in our flower gardens. Fresh-cut flowers in our home are a welcomed delight. But, occasionally, Anna Marie will choose to rearrange the same flowers in the same vase into an even more pleasing bouquet. The net result of the change is very positive. The arrangement of the elements is altered, but the identity and function is left intact and enhanced. The positive results of the leveraged buyouts and corporate takeovers of the past couple decades rearranged the corporate structures, and today the organizations are many times leaner and meaner in function, and perhaps would not have still been in existence otherwise.
· Vicissitude: This nuance of the change concept implies a change great enough to constitute a reversal in function or identity of what had been in the past. It can be observed in a personal life as a gestalt, or in a person’s spiritual life as a conversion.But this type of change can also come as a dramatic, positive, or negative alteration on the installment basis. Over a period of time and through an observable sequence this transposition can ultimately result in a complete reversal of function or identity: Sir Alex Fraser Tytler articulates this concept as follows:
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage;from courage to liberty;from liberty to abundance;from abundance to selfishness;from selfishness to complacency;from complacency to apathy;from apathy to dependence;from dependence back again to bondage.
As a cultural economist, I rather like the cyclical presentation of both despair and hope in the same concept of change. Never does the pathway get so dark but what light and hope can be perceived and expected in the future. For example, our country and our civilization may be going through the vicissitudes of reformation today, and the change may be neither comfortable nor to our liking. But, over a period of time, the dramatic sequence will bring about courage, liberty, and abundance once again in the future.
I think change is here to stay . . . unless something changes.