Re: Resistance to change LO1332

Michael McMaster (
Sun, 21 May 1995 07:30:08 +0000

Replying to LO1318 --

Phillips comments bring together something that I've been working on
but not connected to the "resistance to change" conversation before.

Building from what Tobin said earlier:
> "Using that lens, the problem of explaining "resistance" isn't the issue
> as much as understanding how identity is created and maintained in the
> face of the continuing challenge to change. (snip some good stuff)

Phillip says:
> But it is also true that when we 'learn' something we change in ourselves
> and in our behaviour

Learning changes "something in ourselves" but not necessarily our
behaviour. What determines whether or not our behaviour changes
depends on the circumstances, on what opportunities for action the
external world offers and on what our internal world suggests "of its
own". Whether or not a behaviour change occurs - even in the
circumstances that might "call for" it - is related to this question
of identity and changing "something in ourselves".

I would say that learning is an _integration_ of new material with
existing material. That is, we don't "learn" anything that is
unconnected and unrelated to the existing body of knowledge (or the
existing patterns like standing waves) that we already are.

Phillip goes on to say:
> And to change always involves abandoning some
> cherished part of our existing identity.

This, I think, is not the case. I would venture that we _never_
abandon any part of our identity. Our whole history is embodied in
our current standing wave (being). Even that which is apparently
lost - in action, in memory, in specifics - is still a part of the
current structure that is me.

The question of identity - and resistance to change - is that we have
mis-identified the nature of our own being (identity) and we attempt
to cling to something that is a part of us. That is, we attempt to
cling to what is already part of us and will never let us go. This
action of forcing what already is, binds us in ways that inhibit the
open integration processes of learning.

Michael McMaster