Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We're The Problem With Change (or our infatuation with armageddon)

I don't know if you've heard but scientist recently began the largest scientific experiment in history. It is known as the Large Hadron Collider and cost them 5.8 billion dollars, what does it do, breakup atoms. Now this may sound like a safe enough experiment and you could compare the results to that of a nuclear power plant, but the LHC (as it was so affectionately nick-named) was a very controversial build. You see the possible side effect of turning this machine on was that the world as we know it would get sucked into a black hole and we would cease to exist.
Imagine waking up, getting ready for work, and in the middle of your morning coffee you find yourself being sucked into a vortex that originated in Meyrin, Switzerland. Now this isn't the first scare of that scale, there is Y2K as well and the upcoming 2012 fiasco in which the Mayan calender predicts the end of an age or, to half of the YouTube populous, the end of the world. Humans have been fascinated with the idea of Armageddon for ages and will continue to explore the idea up until the day the sun explodes or Christ comes back (choose your own ending, I choose Christ.)
So where am I going with this rant? I find it very interesting that our instincts give us this innate interest in the end of the world and at the same time a biological fear of change. If you look at the emotional responses to change you will see that people are terrified of it. Why is it that we would rather think about being sucked into a vortex than watching our friends leave for college? Why would we rather watch computers take over the world as opposed to having to get a new work schedule?
In my opinion there is something about growth that frightens us. There is a pain in growth, a certain amount of lose, and at the same time we seem to forget that their is a large amount of GROWTH in growth. The fact is we are entertained by the idea of a premature end to life (stunting of growth) and afraid of the catalyst to growth (change.) Next time, before you turn on the TV and hear about death, decay, and war, sit down and assess your own reaction to the growth you experienced. Find out if you embrassed change and I can assure you that the 15 minutes of self inspection will be much more challenging than the 30 minutes of evening news.

The picture is of the LHC in Meyrin, Switzerland.