The illusion of control …

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Based on an article by Alex at The Liberated Way

Alex says systems will fail because people try to control them – it depends on what you call ‘control’.  Yes some people do try to control people, processes, communities and society for their own ends, to fulfil their own needs perhaps. But on the whole, yes, humans and animals need to feel a sense of control, not actually necessarily control things.

A dog visiting the vet feels out of control in the unknown, what next, who’s who, but it doesn’t try to control this new environment – only it’s own small environment of the self (barking, nipping, cowering from the unknown and creating it’s own sense of security).

Similarly, I think people do adapt and go with the flow.  Eventually anyway.  People, nor animals and plants, like change.  It’s fear of the unknown, uncertainty if they can and will flourish in new surroundings maybe (transferring a plant to a new pot it temporarily fails until it grounds itself anew), but I like in this the ‘strife, renewal, creation’ idea – loosely like the change-management model of forming, storming, norming and performing which is the flow of change.

The problem with humanity ‘controlling’ their environment, their future, their security is that they don’t (try to) understand it – they just respond to it.

I once was told I ‘couldn’t cope with change’ as if I was a problem-causing, unmanageable person.  In fact, even as I was confused at the time, it stayed with me to work through it should I  decide that it were true – and now I realise that I am not the problem – that I can and have done regularly all my life, adapted to change.  I didn’t like it perhpas, and it made me uncomfortable and felt insecure, and hence caused some stress for me – but in fact, that manager, my manager was the problem because he didn’t help me to manage the changes they were imposing – and that was his job!  They didn’t feel stress or anxiety because they had the sense of control – the knowledge, the structure, the future vision – that helped them adapt and work toward a new environment.   We on the ground didn’t; we couldn’t see the future for us and families (most people still can’t – or won’t), and therefore we felt ‘all at sea’, pushed and pulled every day, every week with no sense of purpose and outcome – and that is something humans (and animals) do not like.

TeacherI was – am – normal; the company/ leadership/management failed me and my colleagues by not helping us to see the future vision, the future security and performance that they had been fed.   They were OK.   If we can see even one option ahead, we can adapt.

If there is blankness, darkness, uncertainty this leaves us insecure – and fighting for survival against odds we have no concept of!

That’s is stress, that leads to depression and that is where employers/carers/authority figures fall down and fail their ‘followers’, their employees, children or partners, the public and society.

So we do like and need control but only a sense of control so we can adapt.  How can anyone or anything adapt to something they have no concept of?  That in itself is impossible.  Living things only adapt to what they can see happening, can see will possibly happen and then work towards it – otherwise, there is chaos and not organised or proactive and creative in any way.  Destructive, stagnant, fearful.    Darwin’s theory of evolution supports the change adaptations there – some animals saw the change – lost food, new climates, and those that be adapted (ate from higher branches, burrowed underground, developed lungs to breathe air).  Those that couldn’t see far enough, or by chance didn’t have the resources of and than average neck struggled and failed.

So if no-one is giving you the sense of direction, future or options –ask for it, search it out, listen and hear, look forward to plan for eventualities if you must, but we will adapt in due course, albeit in discomfort for a short while again!