Don't Shoot the Messenger
Why are those who drive for better outcomes usually unable to enjoy it?
I’m deeply interested in the people behind change. What drives them? What are they willing to sacrifice? There’s a meme featuring an image of a bullet with the words, “the CIA Award for Excellence in Journalism.”
Whether it’s in organizations, social systems, or in your kitchen people don’t like things changing. Changes can threaten us, whether it’s with losing our jobs, not achieving our goals, or just having to learn new things when we seriously don’t care. People who carry or communicate that change, seem to inevitably embody that threat, and thus receive the pushback and repercussions of those fighting it.
George Bradt even talks about having a “fall guy,” like an external consultant, to take the blame when a change initiative in a company is rolled out because “most change agents don’t survive their own change.”
Often the most fervent defenders of the status quo are those who stand to lose the most from it changing. Consider the oil company that would lose a lot of revenue if energy systems shifted strongly to renewables. This societal turnover, of disruption and power, seems to be a strong driver of activism, where those most disenfranchised by the current dynamic are most incentivized to seek a new dynamic. This ties into a thought I’ve been having of looking at social systems and collective decision-making through the lens of game theory and behavioural science.
Is it possible to have a world of only haves? Obviously today’s inequality is unacceptable but is it possible for society to reach an ‘equilibrium’ point where there aren’t any have-nots? It’s an academic question in a world grappling with preventable species loss and starvation but it points us towards what’s next. Is striving to be at the top inevitable to human nature or, as theorists like Ken Wilber suggest, is humanity on the cusp of a collective leap in consciousness towards new value systems and behavioural drivers?