Change is the only constant
The world is constantly changing.
For example, even whilst you were just reading the sentence above, you and your body underwent some changes. Don’t believe me? Chances are you took a breath just now without even being aware of it. And now that you read that, you are probably going to pay more attention next time you fill your lungs with air.
And just like that, you also changed how much attention you pay to your own breathing. So go on, take that big breath, feel the oxygen entering your blood stream, exhale that carbon dioxide and then let’s get on point. Things are about to get interesting.
It doesn’t really matter what aspect of the world we observe – our physical bodies, abstract scientific knowledge, the New York Times Best Selling Books list or even simply the people you surround yourself with. With time, all of these will change, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Consider how the roughly 8 billion humans communicate in the 2020s today. Over the last year, TikTok has completely ravaged the global app store to become one of the most popular social media communications company in the world.1 A decade ago, 4G was just being commercially introduced, and 20 years ago touch-screen smartphones didn’t even exist yet. In comparison, 1876, the year when the telephone was invented (patented to be exact) feels like an eternity ago, even though it was the major precursor to how we communicate today.2
I used to spend literally hundreds of hours trying to make sense of all of this. I mean seriously, what the hell, why do all these changes happen and what do they mean? Think about the kind of foods our ancestors ate as hunter gatherers and then imagine explaining to them what a Bounty or Mars bar is today. There are like a thousands of different religions (from the Greek mythology to Christianity and Scientology) we’ve invented, and a million of unconscious chemical reactions happening in our bodies, and probably a billion other things constantly changing in the world.
But trying to make sense of all this change doesn’t make any sense.
Most things just happen, and there is very little you can do about it in the moment, and there is no clear, logical explanation for everything that occurs. And when you start to let that fact sink into your conscious mind, then perhaps you will stumble across the following fundamental truth about our world:
Change is the only constant.
This statement is on one hand pretty benign, but I am willing to bet you can’t disprove it. So what, you might wonder, why should I care? Well, when you find the time to think about it properly, this “truth” can be pretty mind-shattering.
Whilst some changes are good, there are a lot of changes that are bad. Consider for example being in an airplane, safely approaching the airport for landing. You’re super excited about your finally having some holidays, when suddenly a bird strikes one of the plane’s engines. For fuck’s sake… The change in the state of the aircraft’s engine, especially when you’re thousands of meters gliding in the air, is absolutely frightening (and thank goodness that pilot train for this). Bad changes are always bound to happen at some point.
However, in our world today, the speed of all changes is accelerating. The agricultural revolution happened about 12,000 years ago. For the following industrial revolution, you only need to go back 200 years. And then 30 years ago, with the creation of the internet, we entered the digital revolution (aka Information Age). In 10 years, the world will be entirely unrecognisable.
Now, when you combine these two things together, that not all change is good and that change is accelerating, then you finally have an explanation for the shit-show we live in today: bad changes occur quickly and we don’t the time to adapt to them.
For example, climate change is result of using the same fossil fuels from the industrial revolution when we were 1 billion people in the 1800s, and not realising that it’s completely unsustainable for the 8 billion humans we are today, all of whom have increasing living standards. Income inequality is the result of a mass indoctrination through our school system that your purpose in life is to find a job, without realising that most jobs will disappear due to the leveraging power of software and computers, creating an oversupply of cheap labour and pushing incomes down (except for software engineers it seems, but even that is just a question of time).
Any change within an environment requires adaptation. In the past, the pace of change was slower, and hence entire generations had enough time to adapt to such changes, and pass on their learned behaviour through culture and common practice on to their children. The time between the invention of the internal combustion engine by English engineer Samuel Brown in 1823 and the first commercially available automobile in 1908 by the Ford Motor Company gave horse carriage owners sufficient time to realise that it’s about fucking time to jump ship.
Today however, the speed is so quick that within even just a single lifetime, each one of us will have to adapt to the changing world we inhabit. Our education system of learning everything you need to at school (and university) when you’re young and then being able to survive your lifetime with only that knowledge is completely out-dated when so many changes will occur during that same lifetime.
Case in point; computer languages are still not treated as important as foreign languages at school, even though being able to program essentially gives you access to the plethora of computational power that sits within the palm of your hand (your smartphone). Foreign languages may have been important in the 1950s, when job opportunities existed abroad, but today we literally have instantaneous language translators that allow us to communicate with people in different languages.
To survive today, one needs to continually self-educate and adapt to the world we live in. If we don’t change our habits and customs which we inherited yesterday, then our society will become completely incompetent to tackle the challenges of today and the changes of tomorrow. As Einstein said:
“We cannot solve the problems of today with the thinking that created them.”
There are a lot of issues and global challenges we will face this century, and unless we pull together, these challenges are bound to create problems we won’t easily recover from. Some of the largest challenges faced by society include:
- Wealth inequality: an increasing gap between the rich and poor
- Climate change: dramatic and irreversible geo-climatic changes bound to cause deep societal disruptions
- Generalised artificial intelligence: super-intelligent machines which will render humans irrelevant
Granted, there are more challenges than those described above (such as nuclear war, pathogenic pandemics and anti-biotic resistant bacteria, asteroid and volcanic disasters). But what differentiates these three challenges listed above from others is that you, me and literally everyone can, with the proper knowledge and ideas, implement changes in their lives to address them.
Wealth inequality today is primarily caused through a fundamental lack of financial education regarding investing, taxes and budgeting, none of which gets taught at school nor university. Climate change will only be properly tackled if each individual consumer within our economy decides to prioritise the environment over immediate comfort. And the worst-scenarios about generalised artificial intelligence are best addressed if everyone has a rudimentary understanding of programming, computer and data science, democratizing the power of AI in the future.
The problem with the internet today however is that it essentially has given a megaphone to all kinds of idiots that claim to be experts, spreading misinformation and bad options, which subsequently get parroted by a bunch of gullible fools. And that makes learning about these topics rather difficult.
This is where PxStrat comes in. At PxStrat, we are committed to providing research-based and data-driven educational content which you can trust and fact-check yourself. We want to tackle some of the largest issues facing society in the 21st century through high quality content, provide insightful guidance, and thereby nudge the the needle of change towards progress instead of societal decline.
And if enough people nudge the needle together, then maybe, just maybe, the future won’t be that disastrous.