Someone posted a thread here before asking "why don't we change?" I actually thought it was a good question but it was mostly an argument stating "people are evil and will never change." From this perspective there is no reason for there to be non-profits, NGOs, mental health clinics, social workers, activists. It's a gloomy perspective. If I were better educated about philosophy I'd know what to call this -- nihilism? I don't know. But breaking the question down into these questions seems like it could facilitate better discussion on what I think is a pretty interesting subject: 1. Can people/society change? 2. If so, what should change? 3. How does change occur? *** We can break it down further into the free will vs determinism question. We can get into our own moral/value systems. The should part is where we might differ. Each of us might have a different theory of change based on not only our morals/values but how we ourselves have changed as individuals, or we might have knowledge about history that offer examples. When I talk about change I mean good change by the way. Can people go from stupid to smarter, sad to happier, mean to nicer, oppressed to more free. When we talk about "social change" we don't look at making people slaves (technically a "social change") as an example. *** My take: I do think people and societies can change. I have changed as a person immensely over the years due to lots of life experiences and therapy. My friend changed in part because of his experience in jail. Both of us had one thing in common though: we wanted to change very much, so we put in a lot of personal effort. What should change, to me, is people's willingness to change. This requires vulnerability, an openness to new experiences, and a desire to take personal risks. It also requires admitting you're sometimes wrong and being humble. In the past I have done a fair amount of activist work and in those times I assumed people and society could change. My basic premise is that there should be less suffering, and so once a cause of suffering can be identified (ie, an unjust law), it should be challenged though effective social organizing. This gets pretty complicated though. Sometimes I contradict my own beliefs though and think people can't change. There does seem to be something universal about people wanting to assert power and authority over others against their will. People get comfortable and lazy and allow for widespread ecosystem destruction because they have no firsthand relationship with that destruction, and even after learning about it they behave exactly the same. In some cases I think that crisis is what causes the best change. A bunch of people getting sick from something will cause them to get angry and ban the toxic chemical. A repressive government will enact a policy (ie, apartheid) that causes such a widespread crisis that they and the world fight back and bring about justice. A large part of this question may have to do with power, what it is, how it works... but maybe that's another thread.