- Education and Science
Change is inevitable
Afraid of change
It seems that humans are afraid of change. Even though the success of our species is defined by the fact that we are change agents. Because everywhere we come we change our surroundings and influence how nature works and worked. Something simple as gardening shows how we are constantly changing our surroundings and changing the way nature works. We even have come so far that we have become a force of nature and have influenced the way the climate creates weather. Our cities create their own weather patterns and our industry and use of carbon based fuels have influenced the climate. We are a force of change. But still we tell ourselves that we do not change and are even afraid of change. We are like a river that tells itself it does not run down to the sea because it is afraid of running through its banks down to the sea. But not because you say you do not like change you do not change.
Change is a strange thing
It is normal
We use the word change to address anything that is different from what it first was. So when someone, without our permission, paints a wall red that first was white we ask:
Who changed the color of that wall?
If we take a new job at the other side of the country, we say we changed jobs. If we choose a different brand of cereal to eat for breakfast we change brands. If we get fired from a job and find a new job in another cite, we changed cities. If we meet a friend after years of not seeing him or her we often say:
So change seems to be our daily bread. But those are not the only ways we change. Change is an inevitability even if we could tell ourselves that change does not happen.
The first change we can not prevent is the way our body uses food to change itself. It uses food to change itself from no more than a single cell, created by the merging of a spermatozoid and an egg cell to a fully grown human. And after our body has become fully grown it uses food to change completely over the course of seven years. After seven years all cells in our body have changed completely, with exception of many neurons in our brain.
The second change we cannot prevent is how our brain changes everyday because of all we learn and experience. What is even worse even if one day we think we did not learn anything so nothing changed that day our brain changes, because it stores the thought that nothing changed by adding connections between neurons. So change is the normal action for our brain.
The third change we cannot prevent is our own death, which is the biggest change off all for every human being.
But change does not only happen on a micro level or a personal level. Change also happens on an environmental level. Today's weather may look the same like yesterday, but it is not the same. The temperature may be a few milligrades different from what it was yesterday and the wind may be a little faster and the moisture content of the air could be a little lower. Today the sun will come up a little earlier and go down a little later and burn a little stronger, just because today the earth came a little closer to the summer solstice and tipped the north pole a little more towards the sun. But that is not all the earth together with the whole solar system moved around the center of the milky way with a speed of 220 kps (138 mps). So in one day the solar system travelled almost 12 million miles. In the same day the milky way of which the solar system is a part speeds with 370 mps through the universe and travels almost 32 million miles. So in one day we humans have travelled almost 44 million miles through the universe. If that is not a change what is.
But that is not all. Our planet is in a constant state of change, not only the changed caused by the seasons or erosion. But also change due to the drifting of the plates that form the earths crust. This drift is probably caused by the tidal forces of sun and moon, the magma on which the earths mantle floats, the fact that 70% of earth is covered with water and the rotation of the earth. This drifting of plates causes the distance between the North-American plate and the European plate to grow wider by 3/1000 of an inch every day.
So there are changes on the level of the universe, the solar system, the earth and our personal and microbiological level. But still I have not mentioned all changes that are possible. For example I have not mentioned the changing of the president of the United States every four or eight years. Which causes changes in the government policies. I have not mentioned changes caused by crises like the bursting of the dot.com bubble or the financial crisis of 2008. I also have not mentioned the changes in the economy caused by decisions of captains of industry to produce products in low cost countries. And I have not mentioned changes caused by inventions like electricity or fire or the wheel or the discovery how to create pure metals in furnaces. I have not mentioned the change we made from hunter/gatherers to farmers and from farmers to city dwellers. I have not mentioned the change from learning from experience to organised learning in schools and through vocational education and training.
So change is the most normal aspect of life and living on earth and in the universe. But still we dare to say that everything stays the same. Even though every day we are confronted with change.
Are you afraid of change - Or do you think change is overrated.
Give me your opinion about fear of change or change as the status quo of life.
Is change something to be afraid of.
Nothing changes - Yet nothing stays the same
The biggest reason we say that nothing changes has nothing to do with the fact that most changes are invisible to us. For example we can only see the travel of the milkyway if we take a telescope and look out into the universe. We only see the travel of the plates in the earths crust we live on if we put a satellite into a geostationary orbit and bounce lasers of the satellite and calculate the change in reflection time.
The biggest reason we say that nothing changes is first of all because change is normal for us. Change is like breathing to us. It is so normal to us that we are no longer aware of it. As the saying goes, we are unable to see the forest for the trees. In the case of change, we no longer see change because of change. So it also is not our fear of change, that makes us want to say that nothing changes. As change is the status quo of our universe, which off course is a contradictio in terminis, how can change be a standard state of anything.
The second reason we say nothing changes is because we have this incredible ability to see the smallest of difference in a large heap of sameness. Look at how we are able to see the difference between two faces of our family members and instantly recognize them. And compare this with our inability to see the difference between faces of races we have never seen before. Which we express by exclaiming:
They all look the same.
But put us a year between people of that race who's faces we do not recognize, and after that year we can recognize the people we have befriended, with the same ease with which we recognize members of our familiy.
So we are not afraid of change. Our problem with change is that it is so normal to us that our brain filters it out of our consciousness. Leaving us with this image of reality that looks like nothing changes. Which results in our conscious belief that everything stays the same and getting startled if that which seems to be unchanged changes. So what we are afraid of is not change, but we are afraid of getting startled by something that is different from what we expect it to be. Which for a species that once was prey is a good thing. Because being startled by change is the best way of staying alive for a prey species.
Change - What a nonsense
Nothing changes, all you have to do to see that is to look around.
What do you think of change?
Change on Amazon - What can we find?
Change is broadly discussed, even though we seem to be afraid of it.
Change is the status quo
For living beings
Change is the most normal thing in our world. So our brain filters change, that is the same everyday, out of our conscious. This combined with our ability to see the smallest difference between two on the first glance seemingly identical objects, makes us terrific change observers. But this does not make us afraid of change. Because what we really fear is being victim of the change we see in this large sea of change we do not see.
The changing white wall
The pictures used in this lens were made during a single year, between september 2011 and september 2012.
White wall 2011-2012 by Normyo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Do you have some changes I did not mention, and which you think are important.