Oct 082015
 October 8, 2015  Posted by at 11:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,

BIS/OWI Battle of Britain. Children in an English bomb shelter 1940/41

The deeply embedded, genetically determined aversion -or resistance- to change that we are all born with is an important survival tactic. Since change equals potential danger, our aversion to it keeps us out of danger.

We are ‘programmed’ to prefer familiar surroundings, to first look at what we recognize, and to ignore what we do not until we feel comfortable enough about what we do know.

Ironically, though, the aversion to change can also lead us into danger. Because it prevents us from preparing for change, and therefore preparing for danger.

Yes, people can adapt, they have that ability too, but we don’t fully adapt to change until and unless we’re forced to. And while it may not be too late then, it certainly tends to make adaptation much more difficult.

We prefer to focus on those things that stay the same, or seem to stay the same, ignoring those that don’t, even if they change in -comparatively- radical ways, until we no longer can. But by then we have most often missed a significant part of the time and the opportunity to adapt to them. Our resistance to change causes us to miss those changes that happen despite our efforts at keeping things the same.

The deeper problem, as every thinking human can recognize, is that things always change, life changes, the world does. Nothing ever stays the same. Change itself is the only constant. Life equals change. Without change, there would be no life.

And arguably -since time is perhaps not a constant-, changes come even faster today than they have historically, in the perception of our ancestors, both in human designed systems and in natural systems. And the faster the changes come, the more vulnerable our inborn aversion to change makes us. Which in turn reinforces that aversion all the more.

In today’s world, plant and animal species go extinct at a far faster pace than ever in human history. The planet warms, sea levels rise. Pollution of multiple kinds increases at an exponential speed.

Our initial genetic reaction to all of this is to withdraw deeper into the cocoons we’ve built, and ignore, if not deny, that these things are happening. Or we may care up to a point, donate some money or even wave a banner, but always with an eye to returning to the safety of our cocoons.

The way it appears to work is that our aversion to change turns against us because, and when, it is amplified by our propensity to lie to ourselves and to each other.

That’s also the point where we let the sociopaths of the world into the picture, and that’s where we allow them to be our leaders. They thrive on our denial of change, of problems, of dangers. They know to tell us just what we want to hear. Recovery, hope, wealth, clean energy, whatever sells on any given day.

Politicians eagerly use our resistance to change, because they don’t want change either, lest it costs them their positions. The world’s wealthiest, too, seize on to our inbuilt drive to hold on to what’s familiar, and they use it to get even wealthier.

It is nothing new that people’s fears can be used to control them. Fear of the unknown, fear of what’s different, fear of change. But also fear of communists, fear of muslims, fear of people who have different skin colors, customs, rituals and cultures. We possess a myriad of -often dormant- fears, and it is very easy to play into them, and get people to support those who promise to protect them. “Trust me, I’ll keep you comfy, I’ll make sure things stay just the same. And better.”

What is true for changes in climate, pollution, extinction rates, is also true for the economy and our perceived wealth status. We try to ignore the biggest changes, and elect people to represent us who feed into that denial.

Together, politics and big money, through the media they firmly control, today paint a picture of a world in recovery – a beneficial change, a return to what we are comfortable with-, albeit a recovery that requires job cuts and pay cuts and austerity and other miserable measures for ‘normal people’. It’s the price you’ve got to pay for being allowed to stay in your comfort zone.

The reality, however, is that there is no recovery, and there can’t and won’t be until huge amounts of debt have either been repaid or restructured. Meanwhile, the rich and their bankers continue to increase their profits and upscale their lifestyles, as everyone else gets squeezed while dreaming of what they once had, or were once dreaming of.

This way we have entirely missed out on perhaps the biggest change to our economies in human history. That is, our economies, and therefore our societies, no longer run on what we produce, they run on what we borrow. This is not that recent a development, but what is new is that we have reached a stage where the inevitable shadow side of the arrangement is becoming ever more obvious.

The optimum, the sweet spot, for our western economies can be debated, but the range is not that wide: it will be sometime between the late 1960s and the mid-to-late 1970s. That’s when our societies -and their private citizens- would have been at their richest, and it’s all been downhill from there, something that becomes obvious especially when looking at what debt levels have done since.

At first debt went up slowly, but then it started to accelerate faster, in a classical hockey stick model. Around the year 2000, again not a solid date but close, we began to need to issue more debt just to service existing debt. And since then, we’ve dug a much deeper debt hole for ourselves.

Which we will only be able to climb out of after a painful sequence of deleveraging and deflation. It will be so painful that it’s pretty much useless to think about what we’re going to do at the other end of it; the world will have changed so profoundly by then we wouldn’t recognize it anyway. Talk about change.

The process of trying to ignore the changes taking place around us has had many perverse effects, but perhaps none more than our inability to see how a wide range of organizational structures in our world have changed their roles, their goals and their purposes.

NATO has always been presented as beneficial to our safety, as well as that of the entire world. It lost that role a long time ago, but we’re ignorant of that change. The IMF was supposed to instill balance into the global economy, and provide support to weaker nations, but it’s become a tool for the rich to squeeze the poor. The same holds for the World Bank.

The US was born as a union of free states, but it’s rapidly becoming a force of suppression for both its own citizens and just about all other nations on the planet. The EU was meant to unite European countries in a manner that should prevent yet more wars, but it‘s become an authoritarian bureaucracy that divides and will, if it is not stopped, provoke fighting among nations once our economic facades start to crumble for real.

We used think of our media as independent organizations whose goal it was to provide us with objective information on local as well as world affairs. Today, there is very little left in the media that could be labeled objective even with the best of intentions.

There are many more examples of things that have changed profoundly, and where we entirely missed out on the changes. And as we may start to realize the reason why we didn’t see the changes as they happened, i.e. we are genetically pre-disposed not to notice them, we may also come to perceive the role these changes are set to play in our future lives, and the dangers they pose to those lives.

It’s a remarkable PR and spin achievement that we have been led to -still- believe our societies need megabanks to survive, and it’s just as remarkable that trade deals like NAFTA, TPP and TTiP are sold to us as beneficial to our lives, even as they are concocted in the most flagrant anti-democratic way imaginable. “Trust us”.

Alas, the moment we finally wake up to what these deals represent, we won’t own a single square inch of our own world anymore. The very people who claim to bring freedom to the rest of the world are very busy taking our freedom away at home.

The relentless invasions by US/UK/NATO military of a dozen or so Muslim nations, all of which resulted in utter political chaos in formerly largely peaceful societies, in bloodshed among their citizens and even sometimes in the murder of doctors and nurses, all these things find widespread support among western populations thinking “we” are still on the right side of the equation, or even that God is still on our side.

Even if the murder of civilian populations has long been constituted as a war crime, and even if we all intuitively understand that those who volunteer to work in the world’s most volatile regions in order to help ordinary people in mortal danger, like the doctors and nurses in Medecins sans Frontiers’ numerous locations around the world, are arguably the best among us, they get bombed and shot at, and their lifeless remains discarded as collateral damage, and we pretend that somehow that’s alright.

Russia has been carefully positioned by our governments and media as the new/old baddest enemy we have, but Stalin is long gone and our representatives are unable to provide us with any evidence of the evil deeds Moscow is alleged to be guilty of this time around.

Today, with the Russian army stepping in where the west, at least if we may believe its stated goals, has failed -Syria-, NATO cries wolf as loud as it can. And we believe it, because we believe it’s protecting us from evil. That it may well be the agent of evil itself is a matter that cannot be discussed, and isn’t.

The persistent claim emanating from Washington that America spreads freedom and democracy around the world has been exposed as ludicrous numerous times and in many parts of the world, but not in the US itself, and that’s what counts; most.

It’s easier for us to ignore the changes that the behemoth political, economical and military structures in our own societies have undergone, and that’s who they like it. At a certain scale, an organizational structure gets too large too wrap a human mind around, nobody oversees what happens and why, and the organizations therefore attract the wrong people as leaders, the sociopathic types who thrive in exactly such situations.

But sociopaths know exactly which buttons to push, or they wouldn’t rise to their positions. And one of those buttons is your aversion to change, and all the fears change can give way to. Through the same methods you are being sold detergent, you are relentlessly pushed to trust a political system and its representatives that once may -may- have acted in your best interest but no longer do.

In the same vein, economic growth may once have been a valid goal to strive for, but today has not only become impossible because of the aforementioned debt levels, it must also be seriously questioned in view of massive pollution, mass extinctions and changing climates.

The notion that we we can grow our way out of the mess that our previous growth spurt has gotten us into, rests at best on very flimsy foundations. To shake off this all-encompassing growth ideal, however, we would need to radically change our ‘model’ of the world.

Unfortunately, we are pre-disposed not to like change, let alone the radical kind.

The combination of our pre-disposition against change and the accelerating rate of change we ourselves have induced, means we are entering what may be seen as the ‘dark side’ of that disposition.

And while we can try and ignore that dark side for a little bit longer, the days of our ignorance are numbered. Our blinders are about to be ripped off our faces, in a violent fashion. We’re not going to like it.

Home Forums How Our Aversion To Change Leads Us Into Danger

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    BIS/OWI Battle of Britain. Children in an English bomb shelter 1940/41 The deeply embedded, genetically determined aversion -or resistance- to change
    [See the full post at: How Our Aversion To Change Leads Us Into Danger]

    phil harris

    I remember that picture (Children in Kent, England 1940). It was the year before I was born and was in a book of pictures my older brother had in 1946. The book was a constant in my early childhood. Brother was 9 years older than me and about the age of the older children in the slit trench when this was going on, As a family we saw quite a bit of action, some of which is still fresh in my memory.

    The children were watching the overhead battles as hurricanes and spitfires took on the Luftwaffe which was trying to destroy the airfields south of London.

    Bombing of any form tends to evoke strong emotions in me, probably more so as I get older.



    That sheltering trench can double as a grave.
    … which I suppose is the whole point of the article …

    Thanks, Ilargi.


    Excellent. Truly.

    This seems more like Nicole, writing- yes? no? Either way – First Rate.

    Best target audience, high school and college students. They are reading more- and really searching for anything that helps them understand. How do we get it to them?


    Greenpa, no that’s me, Nicole was doing a talk at a Baptist conference in Perth. As for your -other- question, how to get it to students, turn it into an app or a video game?


    Ilargi – outstanding! Not sure I’ve seen you write like this before. I’m NOT suggesting you abandon your regular style; just that this is an excellent addition to your armament. 🙂

    Your suggestion for a video game is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT on target. Yes, it should be done- excellently – and a top composer should be commissioned to create music especially for it- art, likewise…

    A huge number of todays “greenies” got their bent by watching “Captain Planet” as kids- they’ve told me so. As lame and juvenile as it was- they loved it and it stuck.

    You could make “changing” your avatars one of the big goals-

    What fun it would be to make that happen!

    Component #1; a leader for it who demands excellence in everything; and who will stick through it. And a next cadre who demand the leader demands it.


    not exactly the first time I wrote about the human kind and its psyche, not much of an addition, more a continuation


    I agree – beautifully written – kudos.

    But the ugly truth is that this is not new – the lies and PR have been the American way from the start where we invaded native land with weapons and germs exterminating most inhabitants. Then later with a huge slave population that was mostly grown here after the English abolished their part in slave trade. After the civil war those who were freed became share crop slaves or went north to slave in factories. (See “The Half has Never Been Told”)

    Also our US foreign policy cut its teeth on “helping” South American countries get civilized. Even the ever expanding “go west young man” mentality is part of the imperative of a growing GDP. I wish this was exceptional behavior for humans, but I think its been there through history.

    The Greeks had sold so many family members into slavery that Athens finally elected Solon to deal with it, which he did with bringing back the sold slaves and canceling debts. The records are scant after his term of office, but he did leave town for Egypt for 10 years.

    Look at the Romans – when they could not conquer and enslave, they finally (took 300 years) sank into probably a more sustainable Feudal culture. I wonder if we should re-examine our prejudice against the feudal style of having a strong warlord to protect a small territory.

    But your call to wake up and look at the change coming is great. I only hope we can mitigate the coming climate chaos a bit by getting off our addiction to oil and cars and the system that promotes the endless growth cancer model.


    🙂 I know you’ve dealt with the topic before, but what hit me this morning – maybe due to what I had for breakfast – was the simple lucid dispassionate flow. You usually write with great passion; which is great for us here – but which can also make some new readers wary.

    Regardless. I liked it.


    None of the regulars here are going to disagree with a word of this inspired and accurate essay. But really, folks, we have already been pretty much slow-cooked to death and the few of us who survive will lead much more basic lives.. if they can.. in the “new” environments in which they are situated. I still think it would be “fun” to watch a mass global debt default, a “jubilee declared from below” on the way out.


    Anyone thinking RU’s involvement in Syria was timed for maximum aggravation of the refugee crisis? I can’t think of a better way to stick it to the fools in the EU for the sanctions. They are sinking their ship from both coasts as fast as possible…I hope they are just as entertained watching us Yanks grow donkey ears…


    Thanks, Roel – your heart shines through. It is very encouraging to see more written about the source of the problem. Sociopaths/Psychopaths. The litany, mentioned above, of failed states and empires makes the problem very apparent. Countries, like smaller organizations and families, are all vulnerable. Psychopaths insinuate themselves into things and invert the original purpose of the thing. The change can be so subtle that few notice that the original claims to legitimacy have been hollowed out and the organization is now functioning as the obverse of it’s stated intention or purpose. Like your observation that NATO is now the problem and not the answer. Think of all the established religions you know about and how they have perverted their claim to divinity. These beings have always been with us but we used to be better able to recognize them and call them out.
    And the worst part of dealing with them – they do not give up and go away. Those who are born with this condition, are very capable of turning normal people into psychopathic thinking/mimicking beings. See “Without Conscience” by Robert Hare or “Political Ponerology” by Andrew Lobacziewski. Poneros means ‘evil’. Psychological evil. We ignore this reality at our own peril.
    So thank you again for talking about the hidden danger that no one recognizes.


    Danger in sameness, danger in change, life is exciting, ain’t it?


    Excellent, thought-provoking essay. And you’re so right, no one likes change, until we are usually forced to, and then have to deal what comes. Which brings the abrupt resignation of Speaker Boehner. Why now? Does he know something that we don’t? And McCarthy abruptly removes himself from the Speaker race. Why? Is the House that much in chaos? Or something they know is going to change so quickly, that no one wants to accept the honor of Speaker of the House?


    The key to this is that those of us who have tried through various means to “raise awareness” and to lead change and do all the other things that might have led out of the mess are genuinely wasting their time. We have been dealing with something written into the DNA of life, all life.

    There will be no awakening, no “realisation”, no switch to concerted, let alone collective action to deal with the predicament; none.

    Some of us who have tried to get ahead of the curve will have found a safer place to experiment with live on the planet afterwards and some of those will find that way. Everyone else gets to fail at different speeds and in different ways but, whatever their condition, they will have no descendants. Perhaps in that way the gene for resistance to change will be extinguished from the human species.

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