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Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion is that an object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest. Newton wasn’t only a mathematician and physicist, but also a natural philosopher, and to this day his first law still applies, not only to objects, but also to society and humans. Humans have an innate tendency to resist immediate and radical change. If they are used to doing things in one fashion, they will be extremely hesitant, and perhaps even resistant to changing their ways.
This can perhaps be attributed to the fear of the unknown, or the fear of instability once a profound change has been executed. People often have no guarantee of the outcome that diversification will bring, which deters them from innovation. Perhaps, it is also because individuals do not understand the need for progress. Often, groups will revolt when change is imposed upon them, especially if an individual believes that the current way of things works well. In this issue’s report on the isolated community that was found to be annually stoning one of their members for years, this is exactly what has happened. The current political situation in the United States, for example, embodies this perfectly. One of the clearly defined reasons that voters lean towards Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump is that Clinton represents the “safer” option. Leadership is about leading, but it is also about inciting differences in a society. Clinton, whose policies are most in line with Obama’s, has more experience with politics and international affairs, than her opponent, Trump, and so it is no wonder that electors flock towards her.
In it’s essence, the human urge to stick to the status quo is not a bad thing. It can help humans avoid conflict and take the safer way out of a political situation. Other times, radical change can in itself be negative, as proven many times throughout history. But the major problem with this natural human tendency to resist transitioning, is that it can only inhibit public development. The human urge to withstand change can only impede social progress, while keeping communities in what some may call a “primitive” state. Of course, the human race has seen great progress, especially in social affairs. The abolishment of slavery, women’s suffrage and human rights legislation have all proven to be drastic changes that all began new eras for human society. But these changes did not happen immediately. Leaders and lobbyist must advocate advancement gradually if they wish to make any impact on society. Many channels of communication should be used in order to promote innovation, not impede it. The freedom of thought and expression needs to be defended if we want any social advancement is to be made in this day and age.
If you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out of the pot. But if you place the frog in a pot of room temperature water, and slowly turn up the heat until it reaches the boiling point, the frog will remain in the pot until it eventually dies. Change can happen, but only if it is effected slowly and in steps. The adoption of new ideas and techniques does not occur naturally but results from hard work, trial and error.
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