Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wings of change

Wings of change, Garden Pond, Amherst, NH, August 2006, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/500 sec @ f5.0, ISO 64, with flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

I have often lamented the indecision of bureaucrats and bosses. Their seeming inability to agree on anything earthshattering or to take principled positions that would benefit more than their constituents or employees. Their seeming inability to create or legislate a new paradigm. I’ve even said to myself — if we could elect or select our best and our brightest, perhaps then we would see governments and organizations create systems that truly benefit the whole, and not continue self-serving interests.

But I just had an aha moment, I think. Something else is needed to make an organization, a social structure, or a being of any kind to evolve to a new level. We’ve recognized by now that this does not happen with discrete random mutations. (Darwin was brilliant, but his theory was not complete.) A dragonfly wing or a human eye did not emerge though the hundreds of random mutations that would be required for such a quantum level change. Something — scientists do not understand what at present — causes this quantum change to manifest — to emerge from where there was nothing before it. After that, our good friend natural selection can take over and decide if that quantum change really benefited the being or not, in its current environment.

Chaos, Store front sign, Tokyo, Japan, January 2007, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/60 sec @ f3.0, ISO 54, with flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

And perhaps one contributing factor to that emergent development (ignoring for the now the underlying mechanism) is crisis. Or its more scientific brother, chaos. Perhaps it is inherently natural and a part of life itself, that such revolutionary changes can only come in times of crisis. Otherwise, there is no systemic force motivating dramatic enough change.

So now you see me smiling. Not because I want crises to occur — they can produce very painful circumstances — but if you can recognize crises or chaos as a natural and necessary part of the evolutionary process, then you realize they are not only not a bad thing — they are an essential thing of forward progress. And then, when the next crisis occurs, while you deal with the inevitable consequences and the aftermath, perhaps you can still smile at the recognition that you are standing in the midst of life transforming itself.

In the Midst of Transformation, Garden Pond, Amherst, NH, August 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/370 sec @ f5.0, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

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