Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Change - Inevitable, Essential, Drivable

I have been planning to do this for some time but never got around to doing it. Now that I am down sick, I think I have just the right kind of peace and quiet time to sit and write down the full set of hypotheses behind Zyxware. This is going to be the first of a few articles through which I am going to explain the grand hypotheses and this one is going to cover the first axiom - Inevitability, Essentiality and Drivability of Change.

If you have noticed the mission statement of Zyxware, it says - "Be the change you wish to see in the world". A statement often quoted as Gandhiji's but originally exhorted by Budha. The central aspect of this statement is the change that we wish to see and then the exhortation to try to act to bring about the change through ourselves. Now what is this change?

The world we see around us is a very complex state machine. You can imagine it as a huge machine where an uncountable number of processes are in motion and an uncountable number of agents in action. Naturally there are some aspects about the way some of these processes and agents work that are good and some that are bad. There are some aspects that cause harm to the people involved while there are others that actually help people. There are some aspects that make life convenient for people while there are others that make life less convenient. Overall if you look like this you can see that there are different aspects of the world that are positive and negative from the perspective of humanity at large.

Now the world is not a static system. It keeps on changing. These changes can again be categorized as either positive or negative based on their direction. Positive changes make things better while negative ones makes them worser. We are more concerned about these changes because this is where we have some control and where we have some choice. The state the world is in is already past and, we can't change that; but the state the world is going to be in is to a certain extent controllable and within our sphere of choice.

Irrespective of whether we control these changes or whether we choose these changes they happen. That is because of the uncountable forces acting to drive these changes more or less randomly in the complex state machine that the world is. Randomly because the concepts of good and bad as applicable to us humans does not really have to bias the occurrence of a change as long as humans don't interfere with the change. From another perspective we can see that the changes are inevitable because the world is not a steady state system in equilibrium and the forces of entropy alone can continuously drive these changes.

Again the changes that are being discussed here does not really mean changes that are driven independent of the people involved. On the contrary most of the changes that we are concerned with are driven by people, mostly unknowingly or mostly passive, though there are others that are driven knowingly and actively.

We are not living the best lives that we can live in this world because of the problems and the negative aspects that we have talked about before. This means that it can be better, which would again mean that there can be changes that can make our lives better. Given a choice people would opt for a better life than a worser life. So that means that people want their lives to become better which would imply that they would want changes that would make their lives better which would again mean that these positive changes are essential. A corollary would be that people would not want the negative changes to happen.

Not all changes are within our control although there would be quite a large number that are within our control. Changes resulting from human decisions are almost always within human control. These changes that are the results of human decisions can be controlled by changing the decisions that leads to these changes. There are also another category of changes that are merely solutions to problems that can be deduced from the problems themselves. Getting these solutions or changes done would in such cases be just a matter of the people responsible deducing these solutions and then implementing them. Such changes are fully under our control and are completely driven by our initiatives.

Now if such changes are within human control then why are people not driving positive changes. There is no real answer to this but a simple explanation would be that you have to spend effort and resources to bring about these changes and that generally people would not want to spend effort and resources for such causes where the returns on investment is far higher for the society than for the individuals who put in the efforts.

The explanation about classification of aspects of the world and changes in these as simple positive or negative is too simplistic because it does not always have to be like that. A single change could have both positive as well as negative implications. The simplistic view is taken to give an idea about the differences between different aspects of the world and the changes that occur in these aspects. Additionally the simplistic classification as positive and negative also makes easier the explanation about the requirement to selectively drive positive changes and prevent negative changes.


  1. The world is continuously undergoing changes. There are positive and negative changes
  2. Changes are inevitable and they occur irrespective of whether we make them happen or not
  3. People want positive changes and hence these changes are essential
  4. People have the power to make certain changes happen and prevent certain others. Changes are drivable through human action