Sunday, August 26, 2007

Resistance to Change

People tend to identify strongly with their societies, I suspect because they offer a degree of security and predictability greater than that afforded by Nature. This may explain the apparent resistance that many people have to either significant changes in their societies or interaction with different societies; they feel threatened, which results in stress.

There are three alternative responses to threats: escape, accommodation, or confrontation. Which alternative is chosen depends on the practicality of each reaction and the dominant personality of the group. Strong threats will tend to negate accommodation as an option, especially if the time available for reaction is too short. A group led by people with neurotic and individualistic dispositions will tend to favor confrontation, especially if they are also incurious.

Societal changes and interactions with other societies that can result in such changes may, over time, be responded to by accommodation if the changes are eventually perceived as beneficial to the groups involved. Escape or isolation may be practical if there are sufficiently isolated geographic (spatial) options so that the society, and those who would change it, cannot interact. Confrontation can be physical (through use of force) or diplomatic (convincing people to not change the society).

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