The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Preventing problems or creating problems

As society changes, the perception of problems changes too.

Ideas, beliefs, and behaviors that were normal in the past, have always been dismissed or transformed.

One thing, most of these ideas have in common, is that there is a time when they were perceived as the right way to do things. It meant, that they could not be questioned and that whenever negative consequences were seen or experienced, these were silenced.

The benefits seemed to outweigh the existing trade-offs. Negative consequences linked to these trade-offs were not discussed. It would have created too much uncertainty with the existing setting.

Change could only slowly emerge with individuals, or early adopters, taking up the cause. They would fight for the rights of those being harmed, they would try to achieve equal rights for those having less than others, and they were dreaming of a better world.  The more people joined their cause, the easier change became.

These were and are important endeavors.

And yet, there is a problem. Lack of justice, bad treatment, as well as less chance belong to a diverse world. Sometimes because of the different perspectives individuals have. Sometimes because of the multitude of values.

When there is a movement to better the world, it comes with a perception of what has to be done and what is right. It has its own dynamic of always finding new problems that have to be addressed.

Achieving success with such movements usually happens through structural change, much less often through individual education. Structural change can have an impact on many, it comes with the hope for scale. Whereas individual change relies on the individual taking up the change. It easily seems to be outside of control.

When the necessary structural changes are achieved, those who achieved them continue the work. But instead of switching the focus from structural to individual change, they persist in the desire to establish new rules, and new processes. They learned to trust structure more than individuals.

That is when individuals find it easy to wait until others changed.


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