March 01, 2012

Change is [the] Impossible

Seth Godin posted this insightful (as always) sentence on his blog earlier in the week:

"The definition of a revolution: it destroys the perfect and enables the impossible."

I've been rolling this over in my mind during the last few days and weighing the implications of it as it relates to my life, ministry, work, etc.   I think Seth has caught a partial truth, but that is a better way.

Here is some additional framing he adds to his post ...

"The music business was perfect. Radio, record chains, Rolling Stone magazine, the senior prom, limited access to recording studios, the replaceable nature of the LP, the baby boomers ...  it all added up to a business that seemed perfect, one that could run for ever and ever. 
"The digital revolution destroyed this perfect business while enabling the seemingly impossible: easy access to the market by new musicians, a cosmic jukebox of just about every song ever recorded, music as a social connector ... 

Revolutions are 'unexpected, expected' events.  By this I mean that no one can really tell when they will begin or who/what will be involve as key catalysts or who will lead the charge or the names of the unpredictable heroes, but people can tell that things are beginning to shake.

Revolutions are a shock when they finally occur and the masses are always caught off guard.  However, few would be surprised by them, because everyone knows deep down (at least when they sit back and consider the context they emerge from) that something is not as it should be and that change is coming.

But there, in that last sentence, is the sad truth ... we too often ignore the 'deep down' because it complicates life for us too much.  We don't want to create the space to reflect on what is broken because to give thought to the idea that something is other than perfect (or perhaps better labeled 'safe') is to move to a place of anxiety and, eventually, a paralyzing state of "I don't know what can be done to fix it ... it's impossible".

"If you are in love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen."

But what if that anxious, paralyzing place of "that's impossible to change" could be overcome?  That is the hope and dream of revolution.  But revolution is usually violent and aggressive ... a last ditch effort to fight against the status quo for something better.

The peaceful revolution?  Now that is a hope and dream that is even better!  All it takes is for those who love to stay in the safety of 'it's perfect' to start to go to that 'deep down' place and call out the creatives and the innovators and the out-of-the-box types to do what they are wired to do.

Then comes the dreamt-of-change that everyone is expecting and anticipating.  And there is no surprises at the sudden violence of change, but rather a relief in "the better" replacing "the perfect".

No comments: