How come the dictionary keeps getting larger? Of course, the answer is because there are new words. What causes new words? Experiences that cannot be properly described by existing ones; new words are thus needed, a new distinction thatneeds to be expressed. The words “tomgirl”, “selfie” and “E-shop” have recently been added.
Words are probably the first co-operative tool of humans. Words are an attempt to convey an experience. For example, if Joe ate some red berries last night and was found dead the next morning, it would be helpful if this information (experience) could be conveyed to others. Words seem to have been created in order to do this. See” Dr. Hyder Zahed’s blog on this.
Words create distinctions. There must be at least two to create a distinction. Without twoness there can be no distinction. Buckminster Fuller elegantly stated this by saying, “Unity is plural and a minimum of two.”
How does this apply to learning? In order to study anything, one needs to first create a distinction. Take the word “change”. To study change one must create at least twoness. By dividing change into two one can start the learning process.
There are two types of change. Each can be further subdivided to make additional distinctions. One type of change is cyclical. It will return. Interest rates are a classical type of cyclical change. The rate increases and eventually decreases. Another example of cycle change is fashion. Ties get wider and in time get narrower. Hemlines change in a similar manner.
The key variable in cyclical change is the pace (speed) of the increase or decrease. A contrarian goes against the cycle.
What a successful contrarian never does is go against the other type of change: structural.
When was the last time you rode a horse to run an errand? For most it was a long time ago (if ever). Why? The horse has been replaced by a structural change, the motor vehicle. You may still love horses, yet they have been permanently replaced as the primary mode of transportation by motor vehicles.
A structural change doesn’t care if you like it. To optimally succeed you have to embrace a structural change. What happened to the manual typewriter? It got replaced by an electric one, which in turn got replaced by the computer.
Thus, when a change happens, asking yourself, “Is this change structural or cycle?” can very helpful. Based on your answer to this question your strategy will be very different.
Getting out ahead of a structural change makes you an early adapter. This provides one with tremendous advantages. Was the Internet a structural or cyclical change. Most will agree it was structural. Getting on the Internet early was a very wise thing to do. See Grace Reader’s Article on this.
Sometimes the answer to the “structural or cyclical” question is not clear. When it isn’t, then asking yourself, “Will this ever go back to the way it was?” Stem cells are here. Will we go back to pre-stem cell age. The high probability: we will not. Then the best strategy is to embrace the change and take a leadership position.
Your leadership, especially in the early stage, can make a difference. What about bit-coin? Will it ever go back? I have friends who bought bit-coin at $50. Today’s price was in the thousands.
My friends were early investors in this structural change. Katherine Rich has a simple guide on how to embrace change.
One of the true geniuses of the 20th century, Buckminster Fuller, had a deeper take on twoness. On August 22, 1981, he wrote this poem:
Environment to each must BE
All there is, that isn’t ME
Universe in turn must BE
All there is that isn’t me and ME
Since I only see inside of ME
What brain imagines outside of ME
It seems to be, you may be ME
If that is so there’s only WE
The Heraclitus (approximately 500 BC) said it best. “Change is the only constant.” Framing the constant change around you frame your life experiences. When you allow every change to be working “for you” rather than “against you”, your life adventure becomes far more enjoyable.
I am a comprehensivist:
“What can I do for you?”
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