No matter how much we accept the constant nature of change or subconsciously adapt to it, we still structure our lives around faint delusions of stability. Up until recent times, the modern individual’s ultimate endeavour has been the ownership of property. A house stands as the definitive symbol of success and the by-product of a capitalist economy. We buy cars in much the same manner, and, but to a lesser degree of importance, we buy products in general. The purchase of a once revolutionary product, the answering machine, is almost unheard of today. The voicemail service is free so why buy the product? A house can be leased more easily than it can be bought, as can a car, and the utilisation of the service without owning the product, means the burden of ownership in times of low market interest is no longer yours to shoulder. Ownership of product serves to illustrate one of the ways in which we structure our lives in the hopes of maintaining some permanence – a structure that is currently under construction.
It is evident that change continuously and relentlessly disrupts our structured lives built on these optimistic illusions of stability. So if we know this, denial of the obvious cannot be the only factor that holds us back from reconfiguring the way in which we live. There are many reasons why humans are resistant to change and they differ from situation to situation and setting to setting, but there is one all-encompassing and pervasive reason why a symbiotic relationship between us and the phenomenon of change does not exist – a lack of knowledge of what change really is.
Why does society and human behaviour manifest in the way it does? Why have charities become such a massive movement, where a few centuries ago, selfishness and individual gain predominated in the human consciousness? Why do people expend their energy, knowledge and time to submit articles to Wikipedia, for the world to access for free, and for no compensation? Why do some bands provide their music as free downloads off their websites? There is a very visible phenomenon occurring around us, fuelled by the access provided by technological change, and driven by a people with more time to make sense of the world and find meaning, the collective consciousness is being born. We are finding ourselves to be part of a system that is not made up merely of smaller, independent and unrelated societies, but rather an ecosystem wherein all human activity and experience is interconnected, interdependent and interactive. What tops it all is that information has become an integrated commodity where access to once secret inventions, stories and beliefs are now scattered onto a tapestry of technological devices giving society at large increasing access to it.
As we move into the future how should we envisage ourselves in the context of this change, as part of a larger living, changing and evolving organism that is human society, and how do we make sense of the future, based on these current happenings? I find that the approaches of the past are far too hierarchical and organized, social based innovation is emergent and socially embedded.