Change Is Uncomfortable

Change is uncomfortable, and that’s a fact. We can learn to live with it and be more stimulated than resistant to it. But it is always uncomfortable.

I was really thinking of this in the context of sending a greeting card. The fact that you can hold a greeting card adds stability in an unstable world. The person who sends it and the person who receives it can hold in their hands. Touch is the closest of the senses to counteract our innermost feeling that change is uncomfortable.

And a person can spark fond memories long after the moment, the occasion, the event has passed. Digital messages get buried and forgotten, a card is permanent if you choose it to be.

So that’s what I was thinking about, and about the past.


Have you ever asked yourself what it was like when people lived in villages and grew up together in one community?

In that environment people could get as close to others in the community as with their own family. Maybe people thought of everyone as a big extended family.

They would notice strangers immediately. And be suspicious of them because they threatened the balance of things.

In the days when communities were close knit and stable for generations, how did individuals view themselves?

We cannot know for sure, but within living memory we have seen how individual expression has ballooned, And everything is getting faster and faster.

Change Or No Change

There was a time when change was not expected: Now we expect change.

Change and varieties of expression are part of us now.

All these varieties of expression fill a need and a desire or they wouldn’t have taken off like they have. Steve Jobs of Apple recognised that he couldn’t manufacture interest out of nothing. When interviewed about the direction of Apple products, he said he was ‘waiting for the next big thing.’

Who would have predicted that the subject matter of the camera on a smartphone would be the person themself taking a selfie?

So what is it like to be an individual now? With so many billions of people on the planet, it is easy to say that many people are redundant, irrelevant. They are not needed to keep the species going or to develop new ideas or methods or technologies.

They are needed to buy things.

It may be a blip in the passage of time, but things seem to be getting harder to buy. Money is tight. And ‘things’ are having a hard time appealing to us, where once they were soooo appealing.

The word on the street is that things are getting worse generally. People see that money is getting tighter and the planet is going down the drain. Or at least things are not getting better for them and for most people even if a few are raking it in.

It is getting tougher for people to find meaning in their lives. And change is uncomfortable.

How do people find meaning in their lives when they feel irrelevant?

Or to put it the other way around, what is the origin of the need to feel relevant, meaningful, and significant?

Meaning In Response To Life

In Man’s Search For Meaning, the psychologist Viktor Frankl says that the meaning of life is in how a person responds to life as it comes to meet them.

That may be so. But in a crowded world the bottom can get knocked out of a person’s will to act responsibly. They might feel that it simply doesn’t matter how they react to life, the whole structure is an irrelevant sideshow.

It gets worse. How does a person even know which of their responses are truly theirs? We are all influenced by our environment, and what is to say that the environment is working for us and not against us?

Frankl also said that meaning – as in ‘this means something to me’ must be found and cannot be given (much less imposed) from outside.

But against this is the fear of losing one’s way – of being swept up in a convincing story and then being attached to a cause where attachment fills a need greater than an examination of the truth.

Eric Hoffer writes about this eloquently in The True Believer.

Has it always been the same, at least since man lost the comfort of the group he grew up with?

Man Alone

One thing is certain is that when man lacks the support of the family, the community, the village – he is on his own. He wanted freedom and now he has it. Now he is free to do what? He is free to fail, and without a safety net.

We have to live with uncertainty, and in its nature uncertainty is uncomfortable. We overcome it by not dwelling on the self and its needs, but on what is outside, asking to fulfill the better part of ourselves.

All of that points to one of two possibilities.

One is that while we are living in uncertainty, certainty can be achieved. Not today, but tomorrow.

The other is that uncertainty is the true state – and that is the certainty. No arguments can never be won because all arguments are founded on uncertainty. Better to let it go and just get on with each other.

Of course, there will be people who want to destroy, but most people are not like that. Change is uncomfortable but we have hope for the future.

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