Suzanne Bossert

Embracing Chaos

I’ve been studying transformation in institutions, especially Protestant churches, since 2008. Even then, there were already indications that technology and new cultural shifts we beginning to stress the status quo across multiple sectors,...

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I’ve been studying transformation in institutions, especially Protestant churches, since 2008. Even then, there were already indications that technology and new cultural shifts we beginning to stress the status quo across multiple sectors, but my instinct was that change was both needed and desirable in American religious communities. Twelve years down the road, with the pandemic as an accelerant, the chaos our world is experiencing is beyond what anyone imagined. Yet resistance to creative solutions, even with urgent and clear imperatives to shift and reinvent, remains strong. It accounts for an opposite reaction, manifest in the rise of nationalism and fundamentalism in various forms. Why?  A recent article by Matt Ritchtel in Entrepreneur magazine discusses the roots of this predicament. Research suggests that people often claim to love inspirational new ideas while unconsciously finding novelty “disgusting.” Not difficult, but ….repulsive.  

Ritchtel: “People say they like creativity, but they also like stability. So when things feel unstable or uncertain, they are more likely to reject creativity because it suggests even greater chaos. Creativity is disruptive. Creativity means changing how we relate to the world, how we go through our day-to-day lives . . . what we eat, listen to, watch, how we interact with one another. Creativity changes long-accepted behaviors and basic social contracts. It can be wrenching. While this seems obvious upon reflection, it’s not what we tell ourselves. ‘Saying you don’t want creativity is like saying you don’t like hope,’ one researcher observed.”

It would be hard to understate the significance of this finding in a modern world marked by instability. The rise of authoritarian governments and leaders in some countries might also be characterized as a reaction to such immense and fast-moving change. The advancements and innovations that people say they crave (and many people authentically do) can run headlong into competing desires for stability.

Ritchtel again: “New ideas pose the threat of extinction. This is not metaphorical. It’s drawn from the biological: new forms of life and new ideas are almost always destined to fail. When viruses or bacteria mutate by accident, and when new combinations of cells emerge inside our bodies, these cells almost always die because they don’t fit as well into the environment as the forms of life that came before. This is true of many ideas.”

Understanding our hidden biases towards disruptive innovation will go a long way in helping our world discover and live into more healthy, joyful and sustainable ways of being 

(https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/426792?ref=biztoc.com&curator=biztoc.com&utm_source=biztoc.com&utm_medium=web)

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