Emotions and Change

Posted: 2012/12/17 in Change

Four days after yet another massacre of schoolchildren, this time in Newtown, Connecticut, it feels like “this time is different.” I hope that’s true. But I’ve seen this pattern before. For about six weeks after September 11, 2001, I lived in a different country. The desires and pressures of everyday life had been put in perspective. People were more polite on the roads and more careful in their speech. But it wore off, and we got back to “normal.”

When we draw our power to change from emotion alone, it can’t be any other way.

Cause-and-effect emotions have a half-life. If the change takes longer to become permanent than the emotion lasts, we revert to the status quo ante—“the way things were before.” In order for change to stick, enough of us must choose to cash in our emotions for love, and with it a more lasting power and changed priorities.

Before Newtown, there was an established set of people and perspectives around the subject of school shootings. If that set of people and perspectives is not significantly different three months from now, we will probably continue to get the same results we’ve been getting.

Maybe some of the existing activists will, in their emotion, embrace new perspectives.

Maybe some new people, with new perspectives, will become part of the activist mix.

Or maybe the emotions will run their course and things will get back to…Normal.

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