Stasis and Flux

Objektion
3 min readAug 16, 2021
Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

One of the most lasting and momentous achievements of the modern era was the creation of a world which was no longer in flux. We could wake up and everything would be exactly as we left it: the sun would rise, we would go to work, we would have enough food, go shopping, go to see friends, take transport… and everything would be the same, without major disruption.

What we were trying to do was to shield ourselves from the changeability that being earthly creatures brings. This world in constant flux, with uncertainties and changes, causes anxiety, worry, and fear, and means that we might not be able to meet our basic needs from one day to the next. The moderns had reason to build up this kind of world — they wanted to ensure that the needs of the human populations were met comfortably, and thus enable a kind of thriving which humanity had never seen before (and perhaps will not see again).

What they built, however, was an artificial world, a lie which we told ourselves each morning when we got out of bed. The world will stay the same. I don’t have to worry about basic needs, resources, nature and the environment, because these are outside, and I am inside the human system, sheltered from the storm. And slowly, this artifice, taking the form of an idea which we keep in our heads, spread throughout our populations, and throughout the world.

Then, we came to (re-)learn that in fact, our world is not as stable and secure as we thought it would be. We have floods, earthquakes, storms, pandemics — competing natural forces in our environment, from which no amount of human protection can save us. We learned that actually, this stable world is not the case for any other organism on the planet, and each organism builds defenses against predators and invasions, yet remains ready and aware that one day, adaption might be needed.

Every organism, that is, except the human being. What we are seeing at this point in time is the call from scientists, intellectuals, researchers, artists, and philosophers, who all point to the flux in the world. The world of today will not be the world of tomorrow, they tell us. Yet, we stick to something, we hold on to something, a certain idea of security and stability and stasis, which we cannot seem to get rid of. This idea is not just present in our minds, it is also reflected in our systems and our constructions. Each day we make a new resolution to stop consuming plastic, only to find that everything we want is covered in plastic. We engage despite our new values, and then enter into an illusion — that the world is the way it is, and there’s nothing we can do to change it. People are the way they are, and there’s nothing we can do to convince them otherwise.

It seems however necessary to change (?!) our love of stasis. Can we change? My question is this: How can we overcome the need to protect ourselves from change, and learn to live with, and in, a changeable world? How do we accept flux, both in our natural world as a principle of life of earth, and in our social world as a principle of humanity?

Let me know your thoughts below: it is a question that we all have a place in answering, and that we can all participate in.

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Objektion

I work with imagination and creativity, with organisations who want to create meaningful change. The world needs more thinkers, I aim to be one of them.