On Change, and Why We Hate It


Source of image, HERE)

For some time now, I have engaged in a virtual peripatetic dialogue with a young friend, at the request of his father. Although over 40 years separate us, our dialogue makes both of us discover things about ourselves and about life that we di not know much before. And, many times, good questions prove to be more important that answers, be those good ones.

Our dialogue today is about change and why we tend to refuse it, if not hate it, even when we know is absolutely necessary and unavoidable.

* * *

Q – Why is change so difficult? Change, in itself, is good and beneficial in the sense that it allows us to progress and surmount naturally lazy tendencies, leading to the attainment of a broader mindset and generally greater understanding of this thing we call “life”. So, if we know that change is progress, why is it so hard sometimes? I know that there is also a human, emotional element, and, on the topic, Gibran says that sorrow is like a canyon into which joy pours in, so, logically, the deeper the canyon, the more water it can hold. Knowing this, and knowing that joy and sorrow go together and are part of life, why does this concept of change still frighten and sometimes sadden us so?

A – Humans are essentially conservative, complacent beings. This may be, at the psychological level, another implication of the law of entropy.

Change is painful, and that is, probably, another reason we run away from change. Nobody likes pain. Yet, without pain there is no growth nor maturity.

Many works of art came as a result of painful experiences of the artists. The same with great works of philosophers and theologians, and even more so with the works and lives of mystics.

Running away from change, which is the same with running away from pain, is a sign of mediocrity. Many say that ‘ignorance is bliss’. AS for me, I much more prefer lucidity, even at the price of unhappiness. After all, I strongly doubt that the goal of life is happiness. This sounds to me utterly selfish. I believe the purpose of life is toe become what we are meant to be, even at the price of pain. And painful it is to ‘fight the shadow’, to discover your true self, by denying your socially constructed false self. That, I think, is worth living for. At any price.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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