We are caught in a paradigm of "thingness". We are used to thinking about ourselves, our families, our teams, and our companies as "beings", or things. Change is something that "happens to the thing". A person leaves the team, another joins, we may change the name or task of the team ... but the "thingness" of the team remains. But is this really so?
Very few things in life are fixed:
The share price is in-formation. Strategies are in-formation. The same team can never meet twice. The same client can't walk into your store twice. The people returning to the office now in 2022 are not the same people they were in 2020.
In their essay, A manifesto for a processual philosophy of biology, Daniel Nicholson and John Dupré write: "What we identify as things are no more than transient patterns of stability in surrounding flux, temporary eddies in the continuous flow of process." So a more accurate description for us, and the social groups we belong to is that we are flows, always in-formation. Like the clouds in the quote above, we, our families, our teams, our companies are flowing through time ... more becoming than being.
Every ending is a beginning, and every beginning an ending. We never start from a clean slate, there are “leftovers” or histories of previous experiences and relationships. Human beings are complex, we all have a past, we are all part of unfolding stories. That is our beauty and opportunity, but also our challenge. We can only truly have empathy and connect with others if we understand that we are all in-formation, and often also in trans-formation.
This post is dedicated to Thích Nhất Hạnh. Still in-formation.