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Change

Decision-making is about choosing the best path at a given moment. The word “best” implying that choice is dictated by values, whatever they may be. For many people, the pursuit of newness is seen as a good thing in itself. This newness is embodied in the idea of change. To illustrate the point, think of the ever increasing importance granted to innovation by the European Commission.

“Change” is a word of power. It is like an empty vehicle that is pregnant with meaning. It implies moving from one state of affairs to a new one. On the more optimistic side, it implies our conditions getting better. On the darker side, it implies precipitation and loss of control. Current use of the word necessarily opposes the old and the new. This opposition comes hand in hand with polarisation and passion. There are those who favour change. They call themselves the forces of progress. For many of them, what is new is necessarily good, although not all those who seek change see it as a value in itself, but rather a path dictated by other values (ranging from the commercial to the humanist if not to the spiritual). On the other hand, there are those who cherish tradition and the long-standing ways of doing things. What comes from the past makes sense of their lives. It gives them identity. For many of them, all that is new is a threat. Newness inspires fear and aggression.

Decision-making has to free itself of the idea of change. Not because change is necessarily bad, but because the notion of change has become self-justifying just as tradition is self-justifying for others. Adherence to change and tradition, seen from this perspective, is like a thick mist that rolls over our minds and causes confusion in our decisions.

Alan McCluskey, Saint-Blaise.

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Created: August 22nd, 2004 - Last up-dated: August 22nd, 2004