The intolerable span

If something is lacking in an organization, the deficit rarely persists from simple unavailability of whatever is missing. More often the deficit is actively maintained, either from a direct allergy or an indirect displacement.


People and organizations selectively include and exclude people, ideas, practices — this is how they preserve themselves as the being they are.

When something is introduced that cannot be simply subsumed or appended to what already is there — if a new entity requires deep change of political structure, of conceptual framing, of habits — the organization will repel that thing as a threat to its existence.

This is why organizational change is so hard. Organizations want to persist — to survive and grow and thrive in its own way, just like every individual biological organism wants to survive and grow and thrive.

And this is also how it is with individual souls. A soul knows in a wordlessly certain way that deep change is death. A soul can detect even the faintest trace of deep change in an idea.


A soul can find many ways to excuse itself. We lead very busy lives. The more important I am, the busier I am, and the more brusque I am permitted to be. The important man is allowed more and more to fend off anything new. This is why the weak get smarter and the powerful become more… conservative.


Of course, deep change is also ground-clearing for rebirth, but it is impossible to believe in such things: only faith suffices.


If you think you know something that another person needs to know, please understand: there is probably a good reason this person does not yet know.

If you think you have a talent or skill some other organization needs but does not have, please understand: there is probably a good reason this organization does not have this capability.

And if you have discovered a disruptive insight, do not be fooled into believing that people will be grateful for it. Do not be fooled into thinking that it is mere aversion to risk that makes people resist. Do not be fooled by any functionalist explanation: the aversion is instinctive fear of death: dread.


A bit from the book I am writing, The Ten-Thousand Everythings:

We resist deep change, not because we love the old or hate the new, but because of the intolerable span of dread that separates the old from the new.


Do you know it when you are confronting the dread of a truly new thing?

Do you know your way across the intolerable span?

Can you want to cross it?