The Nature of Change

I talk about progressive change a lot, yet that idea does not fully capture my ideas about how change occurs.

I like the word progressive because it indicates forward movement. It is also nonpartisan, or at least it can be understood in that way. Yet, progress is linear, logical, and rational. There is a beginning and an end. Yet, change does not always occur in this way. In fact, change is an ongoing, continual process. Every breath is a potential transformation.

When I was an undergrad, my theology professor shared two views of history with us. According to him, a line with a set starting point represented the Western view while a circle represented the Eastern view. Not being satisfied with either, I developed a third idea – a spiral with no beginning and no ending, with cycles that build upon what has occurred in the past.

Social change happens in all three ways, reflecting the multiple understandings that humans have about the nature of history. Social change also occurs in quantum space when openings are created through chaos.

So how does one become an advocate for quantum change, rather than progressive change, without being physically or psychologically violent?

I think this can be achieved by detaching, opening up to possibility, and flowing.

So how does one effectively do this in a politically tenuous environment?

By focusing on our intention, trusting, and being love.

Releasing our unrealistic desire to control everything in the universe leads to an increased sense of self-control.

I think that the concepts of progressive change and quantum change are complementary, perhaps even paradoxical. Activists can simultaneously employ different means toward the same ends either inter- or intra-personally. The important thing is to be aware of what we are doing, our purpose, and to do something to express our deepest values in the social sphere.

My Big Ego

So often, we are told that the ego is bad, that it causes us to act exclusively in self-interest, and that it represents our shadow. Over the summer, I was reading a Ken Wilbur book when I came upon his idea that the ego is good. It is an engine that drives progress.

I tend to agree with both points. I believe that the ego is not inherently good or bad, but that it can be used for either purpose according to the values and motivation of the individual.

I have a HUGE ego. HUGE. I’m not exaggerating. It has sometimes led me to do bad things, like seeking unnecessary attention. But it has also led me to do many good things, such as complete degrees, compete for prestigious positions, and write a lot of personal things – like this post, for instance.

I’m grateful that I have such a big ego. If I didn’t, perhaps the world wouldn’t know what a big heart I have.

Acceptance

Accepting someone for who they are does not take away from who I am. In fact, it makes me more of who I am. In addition, I do not feel that I have the right to tell another human being who they are or ought to be as they do not have the right to impose their beliefs and ways on me.

Unfortunately, we do not always understand or remember that we have the opportunity at every moment to become and be our true, authentic selves. We become lost as our experience leads us down paths that are rigid or gilded. The sunlight above us casts shadows that temporarily eclipse our view. We find ourselves in unknown, undesired places and don’t know how we got there.

In my work in the fields of human services and education, I was often offended by colleagues who attempted to change the values, beliefs, and behaviors of people served.  I think the best way we can support people is to help them reconnect with their true miraculous selves, rather than imposing our limited beliefs on them. Perhaps we can even learn from them.

The Illogical Model

Yesterday I posted a logic model for the progressive macromovement. I truly do see value in using logic models to think through our intentions and goals. Yet, we live in an illogical world where there is constant change and uncertainty. An illogical world calls for an illogical model to complement the standard logic model.

The illogical model suggests that we focus on those areas where we do have control, given that we live in a dynamic and uncertain environment: our values, intentions, and actions. These three areas are interconnected as they influence and/or reinforce each other both intermittently and over time. Our values are the core of who we are and what we believe. These shape our intentions, or our purpose for acting. Our actions are the place where we connect our inner selves with the outer environment, interacting with its intellectual, material, and emotional conditions. Because this environment is fluid and open to interpretation, our interaction with it can lead to both intended and unintended outcomes.

The illogical model forces us to focus our work on the present moment. It does not project what will happen in three, five, or 20 years. It demonstrates that we have the power to change the world by integrating our values, intentions, and actions — right now. By detaching from the outcomes and releasing illusive prediction and control of the environment, we might just realize lovely unimaginable surprises.

Progressive Macromovement Logic Model

A logic model is a visual tool to conceptualize and communicate a program, organization, or initiative from its raw materials to its ultimate ends. I have created a draft of a logic model for the progressive macromovement. Creating this model helped me think through what I see as the ultimate ends of progressive activism and what it will take to get us there. This model is certainly not representative of all people who care about progressive social change; it is heavily biased by my own ideas and values. I would love to see how you envision the progressive macromovement. Please share your logic models with me and other blog readers!