by Thomas Sisk, One Planet MBA 2017 Candidate
“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” (Isaac Asimov)
This quote by Asimov instinctively feels correct and true, but what does it mean? Nature and history are about evolution, and evolution is about change. If we use the broad definition of entropy as a measure to gauge the process of degradation, we can observe our planet’s entropy is increasing. When a child is born, we automatically embrace, encourage and accept change in our children and our parental duty is to guide this change. So why do we, as adults, stagnate, fight change and strive for stability and security, essentially an inert state of being, and deny the disarray and damage we cause in the process?
Is it not our duty to teach our children the value of continuous change, encourage them to learn, analyze and promote change and critical thought?
By rejecting change and chasing stability we are stagnating and losing our critical ability to make the right decisions. A river that doesn’t flow will evaporate and disappear forever.
In our society, evolution and development have a positive connotation, we laud and encourage growth, consumption and wealth, oblivious and in denial of the real cost. But what about change that causes deterioration, regression and sets a path for ultimate destruction? Is it not our moral imperative to mitigate against this possible and seemingly inevitable scenario and carve a new path leading us away from this abyss? Maybe the time has come to arm our future generation with a toolkit that will enable our species to survive and grow in harmony.
In order to achieve that goal, we have to start taking sensible decisions, analyzing the world today with a vision for the future. We will need a new breed of leaders to pioneer, develop and implement strategies to map out this new path.
Critical thought is the first step towards this type of leadership, because leaders will inevitably be confronted with decisions and only knowledge will determine whether a decision is sensible, just and responsible. We are obligated to learn from the past, apply to the present and anticipate the future in our decision making process. The ultimate goal is to safeguard our place in the universe and the hint seems to be in the word itself. Universe is derived from the Latin word ‘universum’, meaning, ‘whole’, ‘collective’ and literally ‘combined or turned into one’. Something that turns into one implies change, a metamorphoses, not a passive state, but an active motion.
Where better to learn the skills how to navigate this change than in an environment where critical thought, research and sharing are promoted, a community of teachers and scholars, a “universitas magistrorum et scholarium’, a university. The exact reason why education is essential to the survival of human kind is because at these scholarly institutions we can acquire a set of tools to navigate and implement change for the better. Our academic program is set up to make us think, it is there to teach us how to be those leaders in the future, ready to make sensible decisions and ultimately we will be the guides on this new path. A university education is only the first step in this process and we are here to learn how to expand our thinking and acquire sustainable decision making skills. If we can achieve this goal today, we will be the leaders of tomorrow, drawing up a new roadmap for a better future.
Thomas Sisk – MBA candidate 2017