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March 13, 2020 / Congau

No Change Please

Change is bad. Every interruption in our habits makes it more difficult to perform our tasks, and if the entire society changes, there will be stress and mental disturbance everywhere. But even if we acknowledge that as a fact, nothing has been said about the level of disturbance and our capacity to handle it. Change is bad, but no change may be worse.

There are clearly psychological differences between people. Some are more and some are less averse to getting their habits disrupted. Some even enjoy it, but even they will differ in what kind of change they tolerate. They will find certain alterations exiting but others completely pointless.

Given our reluctance to change we must feel there is a point to it to support it. That is, something must actually get better. What therefore determines our approval is what we evaluate as good or bad, better or worse. Now, it may seem obvious that better health care, more effective public transportation and an end to homelessness would count as unambiguous improvements (at least it does to me), but everything comes at a cost. For the inherently conservative mind, no change can justify disruptions in the social organism, except maybe the kind of change that may be necessary to save this very organism.

Whatever is, is good, firstly because the fact that it exists proves that it works, but maybe even more importantly, because it belongs to a tradition. Everything that is not a result of a sudden innovation harks back to the past, and if there has been no change at all, the past is fully alive in the present. The past has some emotional value for most of us, but when this value overrules all possible practical values, we are dealing with a staunch conservative. Nothing much can be argued then; the reply will always be: No change, please!

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