H.L. Mencken -1880 – 1956-

In a recent conversation with the smartest person I know, she suggested that society might have a certain threshold for the tolerable rate of change, past which people begin to shut down and push back on progress. As Bob Dylan put it, “people have a hard time accepting anything that overwhelms them.” Perhaps it is that if we dismantle our crutches too quickly and attempt to leap forward, we end up falling backward — crutches though they may be, the limiting beliefs that exist in any given society at any given time exist for a reason, as a comfort and a hedge against the overwhelming uncertainty of progress and possibility. When a society has shed its crutches of inequality in a relatively short period — from finally recognizing the dignity of all love with marriage equality to finally taking stock of a generations-old wound with Black Lives Matter — vast swaths of the population are perhaps bound to find the rate of change intolerable, bound to find themselves tossed into a brave new world that feels incomprehensible and uncertain, and to react by facing backward rather than forward. Link

Scroll to Top