Unfreeze and Release

One of my favorite social scientists, Kurt Lewin, developed a theory about the process of change. He suggested that change consists of three steps: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing the new social understanding or condition. I think social change work is the process of intentionally and continually unfreezing ideas, assumptions, myths, and practices through inquiry and dialogue and then letting go to see what naturally unfolds. Through this process, we can cooperatively live open-ended lives with no right answers. No dogma, no power struggles, just peace.

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4 thoughts on “Unfreeze and Release

  1. This is true. And it seems so self-evident when put in these eloquent terms. My immediate reaction is “Of course, but why do dogma and power struggles persist so readily?” This brings me back to the fear factor – the fact that many humans would rather surrender their freedom for the perceived security of absolute right and wrong as told to them by a trusted (and unchanging) source, than live with the insecurity and responsibility of thinking for themselves and the risk of “getting it wrong”. And I think people get so invested in and attached to the ideas they’re relying on for their security that they are willing to try to force others to accept their dogma even if it means hurting or killing others.

    Essentially, your post eloquently lays out the reason I am a Progressive rather than a conservative.

  2. As Rachel Naomi Remen said, “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are alive and those who are afraid.” There is the frozen world, which is so easily exploited by purveyors of comfort, conformity and compliance, and then there are the rest of us, who still have some measure of fluidity, who can embrace change and eventually become something new and hopefully better suited to the present reality, as opposed to the one that existed at the freezing point.

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