What’s Changing About Change?

By Laureen Golden

Happy Tuesday! (I didn’t post on Memorial Day to support our pausing to honor those who have given their lives in service to others)Our Learning JourneyWhere are we on our learning journey together? We’ve stepped off the main trail ~ Golden Nuggets as morsels of wisdom for your soul ~ to explore the context we are navigating.

Why this detour? Wisdom has always mattered, but I don’t think we can successfully navigate our new world without it. The current context is why I believe modern and ancient wisdom traditions (what my colleagues and I refer to as “Transformative Social Systems”) matter now more than ever.

Last week we delved into the question, “What Time is It in the World?” In a nutshell, it’s a time of transition ~ a moment without precedent. The magnitude of change we’re contending with can best be understood in terms of “epoch“. 

This week we’ll be exploring, “What’s Changing About Change.”

Change! It’s a buzzword! Why all the hubbub? Change itself is not new. It’s been a part of life that’s captivated the attention of philosophers and thinkers throughout history. However, in today’s globally interconnected world, the nature of change itself (including its speed, scale and impact) seems to be changing

Let’s explore some of the most salient features about change. First, it is important to distinguish between external and internal change. Today we’ll dip into external change.

External Change: The Change in Change

By external change, I mean what is happening around us, particularly the changes humans have set in motion in our environment.

Here’s what is most important to understand about external change: There has been a shift in pattern. External change is now accelerating at a different rate than in the past.

It’s so important for us to wrap our heads around this, so here it is again:

External change is now accelerating at a different rate than in the past!

The “back-of-the-napkin” sketch below is an attempt to illustrate the acceleration of change throughout human history. In the past, external change followed a LINEAR pattern (1,2,3,4,5,6…). However, recently the acceleration of change has shifted into a DOUBLING pattern (1,2,4,8,16,32…). This doubling pattern is also referred to as “EXPONENTIAL.”

Tomorrow we’ll explore more about, “The Shift from Linear to Exponential.” All we need to remember from today is: external change is changing.

[Note: A quick acknowledgement that last Friday I said we’d pick up with the topic, The Need to Adapt, this week. I chose to postpone this topic until next week in order to share a bit more information on change.]