Social Change and Our Part in It

Major social change takes decades, generations or centuries to complete. It results from millions of interactions between people, institutions and their social environments. There are two things we can take from that:
1. The role of the individual is minuscule. Any action we take as individuals, as groups; any small action by government will have almost no effect. So, let’s not bother.
2. If social change consists of millions of conversations and actions, nothing will change unless that process plays out. You may, as an individual, play a tiny part in social change but, if many people share your values, you are part of a wider movement that may initiate long term change.
I say this because it is annoying on twitter to hear constantly from people that something won’t work. People will still behave in the same way, only somewhere else. You don’t change someone’s mind overnight. No, of course not – but you can change minds over generations. You can look back at iconic, inspirational figures and see that they were part of something important. You can see if your actions grab attention, inspire others and set something in motion. The chances are that your actions will have a tiny effect if viewed in isolation, but a massive effect if viewed alongside the actions of those you inspired and those who share your project.
If change results from a million social exchanges, be the first to initiate that exchange. Inspire others to do the same. Learn from each other and support each other, then look back in 50 years (not 5 minutes) and see if you made a difference.

1 Comment

Filed under Social change, UK politics and policy

One response to “Social Change and Our Part in It

  1. I largely agree with the thrust of this piece. Not looking to start an argument at all, but should say that in whatever forum it is, spaces should be created to be inclusive of all. I think part of the issue some have is that social change movements sometimes lock groups of society out.

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