My research in complex systems showed me that linear cause-and-effect relationships are likely not true and that the world functions a lot more chaotically.
I think theories of change make more sense when they begin with the action, the outcome that we want to see. And along the way of trying, particular challenges will come up. Naturally. And once they do, I can find ways to respond to these challenges. It is a very different approach from trying to lay all the groundwork so the anticipated change might eventually happen.
For example, inner turmoil and resistance come up during my current fast. I am trying to convince myself that it is ok to end the fast. I anticipated many of these challenges, yet they feel worse than expected. I read all about it, but it’s very different from what I expected. When I want to do a fast, I can do all the psychological groundwork to prepare me for the fast, yet the only way I can do the fast is to do the fast. Then, when psychological challenges come up, I deal with them.
It’s the same for systematic change. When we want to stop consuming so much stuff, we don’t first stop capitalism, stop companies brainwashing us into buying their sh*t, and then stop consuming. Instead, we stop consuming, and challenges will come up, so we deal with them.
I am not saying that it can’t be helpful to anticipate some of those challenges or that we shouldn’t invest in preparing ourselves psychologically. I am saying that if we work on steps A, B, C, D before we work on the results, we might never get there.
I found common theories of change to be a trap. A distraction. A way to avoid doing the actual work while doing something else in the name of the work that needs to be done.