Change Comes to Us Whether We Like It or Not

Ok, so twice now, in the past week, I have been branded as a shockingly backward Luddite. Do you know about the Luddites? No doubt you’ve heard of them, but do you know what happened? The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labor saving devices; weavers burned mills and pieces of factory machinery introduced during the Industrial Revolution. After a variety of such protests, the British Government decided to suppress the Movement by conducting a mass trial—really, a demonstration intended to deter others from continuing their protest activities. By meting out harsh consequences, including, in many cases, execution, the trials quickly ended the movement. I’ll bet.

Fast forward 200 years, and my lack of fully embracing certain career-oriented, social media tools has inspired friends to compare my dearth of tech skills to not knowing how to use the telephone. In addition, I received a lecture on the verboten quality of referring to a case law updating technique called “shepardizing,” unless as a joke because it’s so outmoded. Uh oh. It appears that, despite the best efforts of the British Government, the Luddite spirit is alive and well in me. Hmm. Does any of this ring a bell for you?

I fully admit to being resistant to allowing the information overload that is the Internet to infiltrate my life more than it already has, but as I type this, I recall a scene in a play where a woman was bemoaning the switch over to electricity from hurricane glass encased candles. So, there you have it: this is my dilemma.

Of course there are a whole lot of folks out there who loathe change—of any sort. But, as I’ve had the opportunity to learn on repeated occasions, it doesn’t matter what we want. Change comes to us whether we like it or not. It’s a little bit like resisting the tide: you aren’t going to win this one and opposition is futile. So, how do we assess what constitutes “necessary change” versus change that, really, has little import in our lives? This question extends far beyond embracing technology to things such as shifting the way we relate to our children as they grow, or acknowledging that, perhaps, holding firm to the idea that our siblings continue to think like eleven year olds may not be the most successful strategy. People, relationships, technology, traditions all of these vastly different parts of our lives are subject to transformation—we have no choice in the matter, and a refusal to go along with this, a refusal to bend (versus break) won’t stop the change from happening. It only leaves us behind. While this is a truth that everyone must confront, Re-booters have a leg up on this because we know better. Bitter medicine, yes, but we’re way better off if we take it.

My resistance to some of these technologies, primarily, comes from the fact that I get overwhelmed by too much information. To have a deluge of unsolicited updates coming at me feels like an assault; plus, much of it is garbage that does nothing to enhance my understanding of the world. I’d just as soon not expose myself to these elements. But, I recognize that many people don’t think this way—they love receiving the updates. For instance, a friend and I are exact opposites: they will look at every single ad in the newspaper just because they’re interested. I don’t even see the ads since I already know I’m not in the market to buy.

We each are so, so different when it comes to processing information, and the amount of information that crosses our radar screens is exponentially larger now than it was, even, say, ten years ago. It staggers me how much life, how much business, and how much networking and social connection has changed as a result of the Internet. So, what does this have to do with re-booting and those of us still clinging to our Luddite-like tendencies? It means we have to let go. We don’t get to do it all the way we are accustomed. We’ve got to suck it up and learn to embrace this modern life. I mean, who wants to be that old lady, sitting in her darkened parlor, complete with creepy shadows and flickering candles?

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