Glorious Incremental Evolution

By Samir Shukla

Evolution is such a magically slow and incremental thing. Human lifetimes are too short to notice this magic. In order to alleviate this unfathomable unknown, we have created mystical gods and goddesses, prophets, swamis and messiahs, and myriad creation myths.

We live in an age where incremental evolution, or slow changes made by or imposed upon humans in social, political, and historical realms, seem like anathema. Everyone has an opinion or solution that will solve problems instantly. Everyone wants everything instantly. Put a “Stop Racism" bumper sticker on your car and presto racism is gone. Build a wall on the border and illegal migration will go away.

The reality is that social change is very slow, it is generational. Revolutions generally burn out in wisps of choking smoke. There's no pixie dust to wipe out racism, inequality, sexism…poof a pinch of the magic stuff and it's gone. It doesn't work that way. It takes a community of humans and change agents making sacrifices to infuse justice into the systems. It is slow, but effective.

Youngsters looking for revolution are a feisty bunch. But real change occurs slowly, incrementally. Human behavior doesn't swing on a dime. Deeply held beliefs, perceptions, and prejudices are not easily changed. But they can be softened a bit via soft power and subtle persuasion. Not by telling them to do something, but by showing them something positive. Creating options and choices are the way to sway others. Don't try to change someone, engage someone. Engagement creates a positivity swap, if you will, which even in small doses pulls people forward.

Revolution lies in the wings of a butterfly, not in the fires of torches or metals of bullets. Everyone complains about the divisiveness that is plaguing the country and the world. We must step back and assess what has worked, what needs to be reworked, and work on needed changes. That's always been the way forward.

The rapid march of technology will render vast amounts of current jobs and occupations unnecessary. Automation will reign. Artificial Intelligence will reign. We will need fewer humans to run the planet precisely when the human population keeps expanding. It will mean realigning our aspirations, needs and economic systems. What matters is what we do to ameliorate the inevitable forces and work out solutions.

Remove an essential brick from a rickety wall and the whole thing tumbles down. Learn how to make bricks and you build foundations.

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Samir Shukla is the editor of Saathee magazine. Contact - Samir@saathee.com