I had a friend once tell me that he thought you just needed to accept the way things are. To acquiesce. Knuckle under. Give in. Give up.
Those weren’t the exact words he used, but that was the bottom line of what he was saying. After the conversation was over I felt profound sadness for him.
My friend is stuck in what Brian McLaren calls “stability.” This describes a stage of life when everything is fine and current theories explain everything adequately.
I would go so far as to say that some people, such as my friend, may not permit themselves to ask questions that might personally disturb that stability. Such thinking is dangerous and could cause doubt about their perceived “stability.”
McLaren says that the process of moving from stability to change is painful and typically follows five phases. Here they are:
1. Stability, when life is fine. A lot like Dorothy living happily in Kansas before the tornado.
2. Discontinuity, when the old system seems to be working less well. Conflicts are a good indication that something isn’t right.
3. Disembedding, when one begins to think that the current system is unsupportable and disconnection begins to occur.
4. Transition, when we haven’t fully entered the new system of thinking.
5. Reformation, when we fully decided to make a go of in the new world we have entered.
I think that it is far easier to accept the status quo. It doesn’t require a lot of thought and certainly not much energy. However, accepting the status quo prevents exploration into surprising, exciting, and fulfilling territory. Which makes the status quo more like an anesthetic than the Energizer Bunny.